This means that the Republican Party is now dominated by ideas and individuals who consider it acceptable to reject the legitimacy of democratic elections when they deliver a loss, and to encourage, affirm, and spread outright lies in order to gain and hold political power. That makes the Republican Party a great danger to liberal democratic government in the United States.

But what can be done about it? How can we defend liberal democratic institutions and norms from those organizing against it? What weapons can liberalism deploy in its own defense?

The answer, unfortunately, is “not many.”

Liberalism is uniquely vulnerable to internal enemies because it is a form of government defined by its openness, its tolerance for dissent, its respect for and encouragement of pluralism. But this system can only sustain itself if everyone who enjoys these liberal freedoms remains committed to them as a principle that applies equally to all. Once some reject that principle of equality — holding, for example, that elections are only valid if they deliver victories to one of the country’s two parties — a fundamental problem arises.