The destruction of democracy in various countries is shown in the book, “How Democracies Die,” by Levitsky and Ziblatt. They identify four characteristics of politicians moving toward anti-democratic, authoritarian rule. Donald Trump has actively engage in all four types of anti-democratic activities:
- “Rejection of (or weak commitment to) democratic rules of the game." Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 election, complaining about (nonexistent) election fraud. During the final debate he refused to say he would accept the election results if he lost.
- “Denial of the legitimacy of political opponents." Trump calls Hillary Clinton a criminal, resulting in crowds shouting, “Lock her up!” He calls opponents “communists,” and tells them to go back where they came from, attempting to delegitimize them.
- “Toleration or encouragement of violence." Donald Trump publicly encourages violence, even offering to pay legal fees or fines for supporters who prey on political opponents. His talk belittling immigrants, calling them criminals, invaders, rapists and drug dealers has led to the death of many.
- “Readiness to curtail civil liberties of opponents, including media." President Trump has called the media, “enemies of the people,” and banned some journalists who were critical of him from news conferences.
Our democracy is in grave danger from President Trump and the leadership of the U. S. Senate. Citizens must tell our Congress members to hold the President to our founding values, the Constitution, and rule of law, while we research the best candidate to be our new president in 2020.