Why conservatives are so weird about being a “republic”

Kelly Scaletta
4 min readOct 17, 2020

There’s a segment of conservatives who like to make the argument: “We’re a republic, not a democracy?”

This is, of course, absurd. Let’s look at the meaning of the two words from Websters:

  • Democracy: A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
  • Republic: A government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law.

So they both are a form of government where the power resides the in people (or citizens) who vote. In a democracy, that may or may not be through representatives, but in a republic it must be through representatives.

Ergo, a republic is a democracy. In fact, it’s impossible to be a republic without being a democracy. By definition, every single republic is a democracy. To say, “We’re a republic, not a democracy” is like saying, “It’s spaghetti, not pasta.”

Now you can be a democracy without being a republic. You can be what’s called a direct or true democracy, where people vote directly on the issues. No country is really a true direct…



Kelly Scaletta

I write for several outlets as an NBA analyst, including Bleacher Report, FanRag, Dime, BBallBreadown and RealBallInsiders. My political views are my own.