Trump and the Threat to American Democracy

Is Trump a genuine threat to democracy? Is the United States already a failed state, as Paul Krugman so boldly suggested after the election?

Or is Trump simply an astonishingly incompetent politician who capitalized on the frustrations of a bloc of voters who at least implicitly believe in the ability of democratic institutions to check the power and absorb the blows of even the most tempestuous president; a man-child that made his way to the presidency by taking the path of least resistance — a dangerous, unpredictable path from which he is unlikely to stray.

Don't expect tanks in the streets. The bigger threat, argues David Runciman, in  an excellent article in the London Review of Books, is a Trump presidency that distracts, dismantles, and divides, one that exacerbates the ongoing  atrophy of the country's foundation. In his words: "Fake disruption followed by institutional paralysis, and all the while the real dangers continue to mount. Ultimately, that is how democracy ends."

Amy Sanderson07/12/16