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Trump and Democracy

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Mya Gallegos

Political Science

January 21 2018

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Trump and Democracy

His ran his campaign on a pledge to “Make America Great Again” the slogan emblazoned on the baseball hats he often wore at his public rallies, and spoke out against political correctness, illegal immigration and government lobbyists, while promising to cut taxes, renegotiate trade deals and create millions of jobs for American workers. It’s been a year since Donald Trump’s election and political scientists suspect a decline in the United states democracy in the past year. How do know Trump is eroding our democracy? He rejects democratic rules, we can compare to other countries with first hand experience with declined democracies, and understanding what democracy is.

Trump himself—in rejecting democratic rules, denying the legitimacy of political rivals, tolerating political violence, and considering restrictions on the civil liberties of critics—tests positive as an “authoritarian.” Political scientists use the term authoritarianism to describe a way of governing that values order and control over personal freedom. A government run by authoritarianism is usually headed by a dictator. A 2011 study of democratic backsliding identified 53 historical cases of democratic decline. Out of those, only five involved coups or other sudden collapses into authoritarianism.(how to lose).

The first year in office of a democratically elected, would-be authoritarian is an unreliable indicator of future democratic breakdown, and compared the United States with 1930s Spain, 1970s Chile, and contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela. They rejected the argument recently advanced by The Wall Street Journal, among others, that fears of rising anti-democratic forces in the U.S. amount to a liberal fever dream, while warning that Trump’s opponents on the left could stoke those forces themselves.

Democracy is a bit like a sand castle. It takes a long time to build but can quickly be swept away. The Trump wave likely won’t sweep away democracy in the United States, but it is steadily eroding it. We’ve already grown dangerously accustomed to many of Trump’s unacceptably authoritarian habits. We now barely blink when he issues tweets calling for the investigation of his political opponents or the closure of critical media outlets. Such behavior poisons the minds of many voters, who applaud his strongman tactics and even falsely believe that the nonpartisan congressional legislative scorekeeper is “little more than fake news.”

Many in Trump’s base now trust crackpot InfoWars conspiracy theories more than accurate, well-sourced reporting. And the Republican Party’s willingness to mainstream populist bigots like Roy Moore exposes how much Trump has corroded previously bipartisan American values. After Trump, we will find ourselves hard-pressed to fix the damage, raising the possibility that the era of democratic decay he has ushered in will linger and endure. This is the most likely scenario: American democracy will survive, but in profoundly weakened form.

In a recent academic paper, we identified 37 instances in 25 different countries in the postwar period in which democratic quality declined significantly (though a fully authoritarian regime didn’t emerge). That is, roughly one out of eight countries experienced measurable decay in the quality of their democratic institutions.(how to lose). Over the past few decades, countries that have drifted away from democracy have typically done so through a process called “democratic backsliding” — the slow erosion of a country’s democratic institutions by its elected leaders. Populist leaders in countries like Turkey and Venezuela have used their power to make gradual, often legal changes to undermine restraints on their authority rather than pursuing a dramatic power grab.(decline of american democ)

The founding fathers of the United States crafted the bases of democracy. A Government by the people, a vote ruled by the majority; in the other sense democracy is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. Democracy is separated into four pillars justice, equity, freedom, and representations. The purpose of these pillars to follow the law for the safety of the citizens and their well being as part of the nation. Justice, the attempts to ensure that all people are protected and treated fairly and equally according to law.

Equity, this assumes the equality of opportunity, not the equality of result. Democracy hopes that every man, women, and children are given the same opportunity to succeed and to be what they want to be and do what they want to do. Freedom, freedoms include the rights to speech, religion, travel, and others. Representation, all citizens have the opportunity to choose those that represent them in the government. the systematic corrosion of the three main pillars of our democratic institutions: elections, the rule of law, and freedom of speech.

As a result, we lack the historical experience needed to evaluate the current risk to key national institutions.(how to lose). Researchers who study how democracies have formed and fallen apart in other parts of the world have said that democracies often erode slowly, and identified various unwritten rules that get broken, like fair play or an acceptance that the opposition will sometimes win.(democ in america). sudden collapse of democracy is rare — and a key reason it is unlikely in the US — is that a sudden derogation of democracy simply isn’t necessary. Would-be autocrats have a cheaper option to hand, one that is far less likely to catalyze opposition and resistance: the slow, insidious curtailment of democratic institutions and traditions.(how to lose)

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