Sunday, September 24, 2017

How Trump May Help To Strengthen Our Democracy

The Donald has certainly made an effort to weaken democracy in the US.  His attacks on democratic institutions and our political norms have been somewhat effective.  He has normalized many things that we had considered inappropriate in the past.  This article argues that this has backfired.  Trump's violations of norms has created a powerful incentive to renormalize many of our values.

Trump's efforts to destroy our free press may have strengthened it.  The press had been guilty for many years of false equivalence.  There were always two sides to every story and the press avoided taking one side over the other.  Our major institutions have responded to Trump's rants about the "fake media" by taking sides against his him and his policies.  Subscriptions to the NYT and the Washington Post have risen dramatically in response to Trump's efforts.  Efforts are also underway to make it harder for the social media to spread false information.  Many one issue organizations have also banded together to fight a common enemy.  Trump's attacked many of them to stir his populist base.  They are stronger than ever by joining forces against Trumpism.  The woman's march against Trumpism inspired other groups to march against their common enemy.  Scientists, who are typically apolitical, have marched against the "alternative facts" that are a critical part of Trumpism.  Counter protests against white supremacists and neo-Nazi's forced many Americans into the streets to rally against them.

Trump's efforts to repeal Obamacare have also worked against him and Republicans who supported him.  The Tea Partiers have been unable to come up with a plan to replace the bill that they have been taught to despise.  In many ways they have shown that they lack the ability to govern.  They have been given a chance to govern with control of Congress and the White House, but they have no ideas that they can sell to most Americans.  They can't even agree within their own party.  Hopefully, some Republicans will respond by changing their spots.  We need a thoughtful and responsible Republican Party but it has been systematically damaged by providing a path to Trumpism.  Trump took the worse elements of conservatism and turned it against them.  Many conservatives have jumped the ship.  They won't become Democrats but they now realize that there is more to life than criticizing Democratic policies.  Its far more important to join forces with Democrats to oppose a common enemy and to focus on governing within a two party system.

We have taken democracy for granted.  We have been systematically undermining democracy for many years.  Trumpism may have inspired us to defend it against Trumpism and authoritarianism.

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