68 percent of Republicans surveyed believe millions of illegal immigrants voted, simply because the president told them so. Three-quarters of them believe voter fraud happens somewhat or very often, even though instances of voter fraud are so vanishingly rare that it is virtually non-existent. When huge swaths of the American populace cannot agree on reality, John Stoehr says that is a death knell for a functioning democracy.
Democracies cannot function without truth, especially ones like ours in which power is so widely distributed. In our democratic republic, gridlock is the norm, not the exception. Compromise is the way forward, but to compromise we must sublimate our self-interests to facts and the truth. How can a democracy function with a con artist at the top, with someone who does not appreciate the utility of the truth, with someone who does not demonstrate deference to truth's authority?
Others point to some exemplary work by our press and our judiciary as examples of American democracy's checks and balances working. The democratic process is grinding the gears of extreme political views to a halt.
Harvard professors who have spent two decades studying the emergence and breakdown of democracy in Europe and Latin America say that, based on history, American democracy faces a very real threat.
In the event of a war, a major terrorist attack or large-scale riots or protests — all of which are entirely possible — a president with authoritarian tendencies and institutions that have come unmoored could pose a serious threat to American democracy. We must be vigilant. The warning signs are real.
But others say American democracy was a façade and a sham long before Trump came on the scene. Corporations control our media, capitalism controls our resources, and huge swathes of our population were never really granted full rights anyway.
"Trump is attacking our free press and in killing our democracy" presupposes the existence of an American free press and democracy.
But Andrew Sullivan says it's been game over since November 9, 2016. He declared American democracy dead the moment we elected Donald Trump president.
A country designed to resist tyranny has now embraced it. A constitution designed to prevent democracy taking over everything has now succumbed to it. A country once defined by self-government has openly, clearly, enthusiastically delivered its fate into the hands of one man to do as he sees fit. After 240 years, an idea that once inspired the world has finally repealed itself.