Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Comparative Democracy Scholar Lists the Ways Trumpism Represents a Threat to Democracy

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Comparative Democracy Scholar Lists the Ways Trumpism Represents a Threat to Democracy

Article excerpt

In a Washington Post op-ed over the weekend, scholar Brian Klaas lists and summarizes six ways that President Trump and Trumpism represent a threat to democracy in America.

Based at the London School of Economics, Klaas studies comparative democracy, including the deep underpinnings of a healthy democracy, and how they can be undermined. His book, “The Despot’s Accomplice: How the West is Aiding and Abetting the Decline of Democracy,” suggests that the overall trends toward more democracy in the world has now been reversed and democracy is in retreat.

In his Post piece, he argues that Trumpism includes these democracy-eroding qualities:

1. Trump encourages his minions to believe that elections are rigged, epitomized by his claim – without evidence – that millions voted illegally for Hillary Clinton. It’s healthier for democracy if voters believe that elections are free and fair. Of course, if our elections were really rigged, we need whistleblowers. But Trump has produced no credible evidence for his claims.

2. Trump makes an average of four provably false statements a day, according to Klaas, who relied on the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” feature on Trumpian falsehoods during his presidency so far. When citizens learn to distrust what their elected leaders tell them, it undermines democracy.

3. Trump “has repeatedly flouted ethics guidelines without consequence,” says Klaas, which undermines the important belief that elected officials are bound by rules of ethical conduct or, if they violate such rules, they will be disciplined. …

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