Schwab: Grab a No. 2 pencil for your Democracy 101 final exam

Links to answers are provided, but for your benefit, do your own work. Tests are graded on a curve.

By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist

Pop quiz. No time limit. Links to answers attached to each question. For purposes of self-assessment, don’t look before answering.

Fair warning to Trumpic and/or Foxified Republicans: Have adult beverages handy, for you risk the shock of factuality by following the links. If none other, at least follow the first one. Please. And may enlightenment shine upon you and bring you peace.

1. Intentionally creating distrust in elections by repeatedly lying about non-existent fraud, then forcing laws to “restore trust,” is an unprecedented, existentially dangerous attack on democracy. From within. Discuss. (

2. Define Critical Race Theory. Explain its origins. Indicate where it’s being taught and where it’s not. Write a paragraph to refute its central tenet. ( (

3. What is the 1619 Project? Explain its origins. Indicate where it’s being taught and where it’s not. Write a paragraph to refute its central tenet. ( (

4. Define communism. Give examples of where, in its pure form, it’s ever been implemented in a country. Have any countries referred to themselves as communist when, in fact, by strict definition, they weren’t? Do any official policies of the Democratic Party fit the definition? Which ones? Be specific. (

5. Define pure socialism. Have any countries referred to themselves as socialist when, in fact, by strict definition, they weren’t? Do any policies of the Democratic Party fit the definition? Which ones? Be specific. (

6. Define democratic socialism. (You may refer to it as social democracy.) Give examples of countries whose governance currently fits the definition. Is there a spectrum? If so, does the United States belong somewhere along it? Compare happiness indexes and poverty levels. (

7. In social democracies, government programs that provide education, health and economic security for citizens, especially the workforce, enhance and strengthen capitalism. Refute. (

8. True or false: In a fairly-constituted democratic republic, the minority of voters should have a voice but the majority should prevail. Defend your answer. (

9. Does gerrymandering, which allows a party to control state legislatures while receiving fewer votes than the opposition, lead to fair public policy? Is it consistent with the fundamentals of our democracy? Why or why not? (

10. If an insurrection occurs in a democracy, successful or not, the intent of which is to overthrow a constitutionally certified, multiply recounted and adjudicated election, and which results in deaths and destruction within the nation’s hallowed Capitol and which overtly threatens the lives of legislators of both parties, should the roots and carrying out of that insurrection be investigated? Why or why not? (

11. If one party blocks a bipartisan investigatory commission, the composition of which included all the demands of that party and mirrors the framework of the 9/11 commission, is it fair to conclude they wish to hide self-incriminating facts from the American people? (

12. If the Senate leader of that party demands his colleagues block it “as a personal favor,” what’s the “personal” part? What constituents does he fear? Do they reflect the opinion of most Americans regarding an investigation? Show your work. (

13. Discuss: The filibuster leads to bipartisanship. Give examples from recent years. If 60 percent to 70 percent of Americans favor certain legislation, should 40 percent of senators, representing 40 million fewer voters than senators of the other party, be able to block it? Why or why not? Does our Constitution mention filibuster? Does it square with original intent? (

14. What is original intent? Would the founders agree that the mass murders occurring almost daily in the country they created are simply “the price of freedom”? In writing the Second Amendment, should they have specified, unambiguously, what they meant by a “well-regulated militia,” and what they intended as its purpose? Was slavery involved in any way? Support your answer. ( (

15. The First Amendment was written when news spread on horseback. Would the founders have anticipated media sources with instant and worldwide reach, using lies and dishonest editing as a business plan? If not, are there arguments for updating the amendment? (

16. Trump hired “only the best people,” and none were corrupt. Defend. (

17. Reports say Trump believes he’ll be reinstated as “president” by August. Explain: (

18. MAGA Republicans prefer selecting leaders by coup or overturning elections. Refute. (

Extra credit: Who’s tougher, rugby players like your columnist once was, or soccer players? Provide examples. (

Email Sid Schwab at

Editor’s note: In order to bring Herald readers a new opinion feature on Saturdays, Herald columnist Sid Schwab’s commentaries will now run each Friday in print and online.

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