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2 Added response to comments.
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Join a political party and become an activist for it.

Being an activist gives you much more of a say in party policy and behaviour than J. Random Citizen because:

  1. You get to vote on internal party decisions, and since most people are not activists this gives you a disproportionate level of influence.

  2. The party needs activists and doesn't want to make them feel like their opinions don't matter. So your opinions carry more weight with party management than those of J. Random Citizen.

  3. If you feel the party is doing the wrong thing then you can put your case to your fellow activists, who are presumably there because they care as well.

  4. If you feel the opposition party is doing the wrong thing then you can present your views to voters when canvassing.

If you do this effectively enough then you may be able to level up and run for office yourself, which gives you even more influence over the democratic process.

Edit: Response to comments

The question was about how to defend democracy. If that is what you want to do then a good place to do it is from inside a political party. If the party starts moving in an anti-democratic direction, for example by gerrymandering or pushing for voter suppression tactics, then you can argue against that. Of course "join a political party" is a good answer to any question that starts "How do I influence the government to ...", but that doesn't make it any less correct in this case.

Join a political party and become an activist for it.

Being an activist gives you much more of a say in party policy and behaviour than J. Random Citizen because:

  1. You get to vote on internal party decisions, and since most people are not activists this gives you a disproportionate level of influence.

  2. The party needs activists and doesn't want to make them feel like their opinions don't matter. So your opinions carry more weight with party management than those of J. Random Citizen.

  3. If you feel the party is doing the wrong thing then you can put your case to your fellow activists, who are presumably there because they care as well.

  4. If you feel the opposition party is doing the wrong thing then you can present your views to voters when canvassing.

If you do this effectively enough then you may be able to level up and run for office yourself, which gives you even more influence over the democratic process.

Join a political party and become an activist for it.

Being an activist gives you much more of a say in party policy and behaviour than J. Random Citizen because:

  1. You get to vote on internal party decisions, and since most people are not activists this gives you a disproportionate level of influence.

  2. The party needs activists and doesn't want to make them feel like their opinions don't matter. So your opinions carry more weight with party management than those of J. Random Citizen.

  3. If you feel the party is doing the wrong thing then you can put your case to your fellow activists, who are presumably there because they care as well.

  4. If you feel the opposition party is doing the wrong thing then you can present your views to voters when canvassing.

If you do this effectively enough then you may be able to level up and run for office yourself, which gives you even more influence over the democratic process.

Edit: Response to comments

The question was about how to defend democracy. If that is what you want to do then a good place to do it is from inside a political party. If the party starts moving in an anti-democratic direction, for example by gerrymandering or pushing for voter suppression tactics, then you can argue against that. Of course "join a political party" is a good answer to any question that starts "How do I influence the government to ...", but that doesn't make it any less correct in this case.

1
source | link

Join a political party and become an activist for it.

Being an activist gives you much more of a say in party policy and behaviour than J. Random Citizen because:

  1. You get to vote on internal party decisions, and since most people are not activists this gives you a disproportionate level of influence.

  2. The party needs activists and doesn't want to make them feel like their opinions don't matter. So your opinions carry more weight with party management than those of J. Random Citizen.

  3. If you feel the party is doing the wrong thing then you can put your case to your fellow activists, who are presumably there because they care as well.

  4. If you feel the opposition party is doing the wrong thing then you can present your views to voters when canvassing.

If you do this effectively enough then you may be able to level up and run for office yourself, which gives you even more influence over the democratic process.