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美国式民主可能正在消亡

American Democracy May Be Dying
美国式民主可能正在消亡

If you aren’t terrified both by Covid-19 and by its economic consequences, you haven’t been paying attention.

如果对Covid-19,你既不感到恐惧,也不担心它对经济产生的后果,你大概是没怎么留意这事。

Even though social distancing may be slowing the disease’s spread, tens of thousands more Americans will surely die in the months ahead. And the economic lockdown necessary to achieve social distancing — as I’ve been saying, the economy is in the equivalent of a medically induced coma — has led to almost 17 million new claims for unemployment insurance over the past three weeks, again almost surely an understatement of true job losses.

尽管保持社交距离可能会减慢疾病的传播速度,但在未来几个月内,肯定还会有成千上万美国人死亡。而为了实现社交间距而实施的经济封锁——正如我一直在讲的那样,现在的经济相当于处在药物诱发的昏迷之中——在过去的三周,已导致新增将近1700万宗失业保险理赔,这个数字几乎肯定也没有充分反映真实失业情况。

Yet the scariest news of the past week didn’t involve either epidemiology or economics; it was the travesty of an election in Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court required that in-person voting proceed despite the health risks and the fact that many who requested absentee ballots never got them.

然而,过去一周最恐怖的新闻既不涉及流行病学,也不涉及经济学,而是威斯康辛州的选举怪闻:尽管存在健康风险,而且许多要求不在场投票的人始终没得到选票,但最高法院仍要求现场投票继续进行。
 

威斯康辛州的共和党领导人星期二给公民一个选择:要么放弃投票,要么冒着损害自己和邻居健康的风险去投票。

Why was this so scary? Because it shows that America as we know it may not survive much longer. The pandemic will eventually end; the economy will eventually recover. But democracy, once lost, may never come back. And we’re much closer to losing our democracy than many people realize.

这件事为什么吓人?因为它表明我们所知道的美国可能气数将尽。疫情最终将结束;经济最终将复苏。但民主一旦失去,就再也不会回来。而且,许多人没有意识到,我们离失去民主比想象中的还要更近。

To see how a modern democracy can die, look at events in Europe, especially Hungary, over the past decade.

要了解现代民主制度将如何消亡,看看过去十年来的欧洲发生的事件,特别是匈牙利。

What happened in Hungary, beginning in 2011, was that Fidesz, the nation’s white nationalist ruling party, took advantage of its position to rig the electoral system, effectively making its rule permanent. Then it further consolidated its control, using political power to reward friendly businesses while punishing critics, and moved to suppress independent news media.

从2011年起,匈牙利的白人民族主义执政党青民盟(Fidesz)利用了自己的地位来操纵选举制度,使其统治实质上永久化。然后,它进一步巩固了控制权,利用政治权力奖励支持它的企业,并惩罚批评者,采取行动镇压独立的新闻媒体。

Until recently, it seemed as if Viktor Orban, Hungary’s de facto dictator, might stop with soft authoritarianism, presiding over a regime that preserved some of the outward forms of democracy, neutralizing and punishing opposition without actually making criticism illegal. But now his government has used the coronavirus as an excuse to abandon even the pretense of constitutional government, giving Orban the power to rule by decree.

直到前不久,匈牙利事实上的独裁者维克托·欧尔班(Viktor Orban)似乎只是可能止步于软性威权主义,掌管着一个保留一些表面民主形式的政权,虽然压制和惩罚反对派,却也没有真的把批评判为非法。但现在,他的政府以冠状病毒为借口,甚至放弃了立宪政府的伪装,赋予欧尔班通过法令进行统治的权力。

If you say that something similar can’t happen here, you’re hopelessly naïve. In fact, it’s already happening here, especially at the state level. Wisconsin, in particular, is well on its way toward becoming Hungary on Lake Michigan, as Republicans seek a permanent lock on power.

如果你说类似的事情不会在这里发生,那就太天真了。事实上,已经发生了,尤其是在州一级。特别是威斯康辛州,随着共和党人寻求对权力的永久控制,它正朝着密歇根湖上的匈牙利这个方向稳步前进。

The story so far: Back in 2018, Wisconsin’s electorate voted strongly for Democratic control. Voters chose a Democratic governor, and gave 53 percent of their support to Democratic candidates for the State Assembly. But the state is so heavily gerrymandered that despite this popular-vote majority, Democrats got only 36 percent of the Assembly’s seats.

到目前为止的情况是:2018年,威斯康辛州选民投票结果强烈支持民主党控制。选民们选择了一位民主党州长,并将53%的选票投给了参加州议会选举的民主党候选人。但是,这个州的选区划分严重不公,尽管民主党获得了普选的多数选票,但他们在州议会中只获得36%的席位。

And far from trying to reach some accommodation with the governor-elect, Republicans moved to effectively emasculate him, drastically reducing the powers of his office.

共和党人非但没有试图与候任州长达成和解,反而采取行动,有效地削弱了他的权力,大幅削弱了他的职权。

Then came Tuesday’s election. In normal times most attention would have been focused on the Democratic primary — although that became a moot point when Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign. But a seat on the State Supreme Court was also at stake.

接下来是周二的选举。在正常时期,大多数注意力会集中在民主党初选上——尽管在伯尼·桑德斯(Bernie Sanders)暂停竞选活动后,这成了一个有争议的问题。但这也关系到一个州最高法院的席位。

Yet Wisconsin, like most of the country, is under a stay-at-home order. So why did Republican legislators, eventually backed by the Republican appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court, insist on holding an election as if the situation were normal?

然而,威斯康辛州和全国大部分地区一样受到禁足令限制。那么,为什么共和党议员却坚持一切如常地进行选举呢?(他们最终得到了联邦最高法院的共和党大法官们的支持。)

The answer is that the state shutdown had a much more severe impact on voting in Democratic-leaning urban areas, where a great majority of polling places were closed, than in rural or suburban areas. So the state G.O.P. was nakedly exploiting a pandemic to disenfranchise those likely to vote against it.

答案是,与农村或郊区相比,对于倾向民主党的城市地区来说,该州对投票的影响要严重得多,城市地区的绝大多数投票站都关闭了。因此,共和党赤裸裸地利用流行病,剥夺可能投反对票者的选举权。

What we saw in Wisconsin, in short, was a state party doing whatever it takes to cling to power even if a majority of voters want it out — and a partisan bloc on the Supreme Court backing its efforts. Donald Trump, as usual, said the quiet part out loud: If we expand early voting and voting by mail, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

简而言之,我们在威斯康辛州看到的是一个州的政党不惜一切代价保住权力,即使大多数选民希望它下台——这也得到了最高法院的一个党派集团的支持。唐纳德·特朗普一如既往地大声说出了潜台词:如果我们扩大提前投票和邮寄投票,“这个国家就不会再有共和党人当选了。”

Does anyone seriously doubt that something similar could happen, very soon, at a national level?

真有人还在怀疑,类似的事情会很快在全国范围内发生吗?

This November, it’s all too possible that Trump will eke out an Electoral College win thanks to widespread voter suppression. If he does — or even if he wins cleanly — everything we’ve seen suggests that he will use a second term to punish everyone he sees as a domestic enemy, and that his party will back him all the way. That is, America will do a full Hungary.

今年11月,特朗普极有可能因为广泛的选民受阻而以微弱优势赢得选举人团胜利。如果真是如此——或者即使他干净利落地赢了——我们所看到的一切都表明,他将利用第二个任期惩罚所有被他视为国内敌人的人,而且他的政党将一路支持他。也就是说,美国将会把匈牙利的事完整地重来一遍。

What if Trump loses? You know what he’ll do: He’ll claim that Joe Biden’s victory was based on voter fraud, that millions of illegal immigrants cast ballots or something like that. Would the Republican Party, and perhaps more important, Fox News, support his refusal to accept reality? What do you think?

如果特朗普输了怎么办?你知道他会怎么做:他会宣称乔·拜登(Joe Biden)的胜利是基于选民造假,数百万非法移民投票或者诸如此类的事情。共和党,或许更重要的是福克斯新闻,会对他的拒绝接受现实表示支持吗?你觉得会怎样?

So that’s why what just happened in Wisconsin scares me more than either disease or depression. For it shows that one of our two major parties simply doesn’t believe in democracy. Authoritarian rule may be just around the corner.

正因如此,刚刚发生在威斯康星州的事情比疾病或经济萧条更让我害怕。因为这表明我们的两个主要政党之一根本不相信民主。专制统治可能就在眼前。
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