Friday, December 16, 2016

Why Trump Is A Threat To Democracy

Democracy is a rare thing in most of the world.  It requires a system of informal norms to persist.  Without appropriate informal norms which govern political behavior a democracy can be subverted. America has had a strong democracy despite authoritarian inclinations in its electorate.  Donald Trump is a threat to our democracy for two major reasons.  In the first place, he has all of the earmarks of an authoritarian personality.  They were put on full display during and after the election campaign.  In the second place, the informal rules that regulate the interactions between our two political parties have been weakening.  Democracy only works when both parties acknowledge the legitimacy of the other political party.  The political dysfunction that has been evident to many observers over the last few years suggests that this is no longer true.  Donald Trump raised questions about both of our political parties during the primary campaign.  He claimed that he would drain the swamp in Washington when he became our president.  He ran against the "establishment" of the Republican Party during his primary campaign as well as the legitimacy of our president and his opponent in the general election.  There is a yellow light flashing a warning in our political system.  It should concern all of us who cherish a working democracy.  It could easily turn into a red light under Donald Trump once he assumes control of our government.  The Republican "establishment" has been pushed aside as Donald Trump consolidates his control over the Party during his transition.  He will turn his attention to eliminating his opposition from the Democratic Party and from the traditional media once he gains more control over our system of governance.  It would be a serious mistake to underestimate the intentions of Donald Trump under the conditions that prevail today.

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