Opinion | The Uncomfortable Truths That Could Yet Defeat Fascism

In the longer contest to tell the better story about America and draw people into that story, there is a great worry among organizers that the left is badly falling short.

Mr. Giridharadas is the author, most recently, of “The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy.”

Polls swing this way and that way, but the larger story they tell is unmistakable. With the midterm elections, Americans are being offered a clear choice between continued and expanded liberal democracy, on the one hand, and fascism, on the other. And it’s more or less a dead heat.

It is time to speak an uncomfortable truth: The pro-democracy side is at risk not just because of potential electoral rigging, voter suppression and other forms of unfair play by the right, as real as those things are. In America (as in various other countries), the pro-democracy cause — a coalition of progressives, liberals, moderates, even decent Republicans who still believe in free elections and facts — is struggling to win the battle for hearts and minds.

The pro-democracy side can still very much prevail. But it needs to go beyond its present modus operandi, a mix of fatalism and despair and living in perpetual reaction to the right and policy wonkiness and praying for indictments. It needs to build a new and improved movement — feisty, galvanizing, magnanimous, rooted and expansionary — that can outcompete the fascists and seize the age.

I believe pro-democracy forces can do this because I spent the past few years [ . . . ]

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