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Trump 28: Undermining democracy


Donald Trump has little use for democracy. He wants to be president, but he would much rather get there in some far less messy way than being chosen by his fellow Americans. He would rather democracy be constrained, or just go away altogether.

We know this mainly from many of the people he associates with and the attitudes they hold. But that’s not all: He’s also doing everything he can to argue that the coming general election, which he increasingly seems likely to lose, is “rigged.” In other words, it can’t be trusted, it isn’t valid.

He’s been at this for a while. On August 1 speaking in Ohio, he said, “I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged. I have to be honest.” Soon after, on Fox’s Hannity show, he said, “I’ve been hearing about it for a long time. And I know last time, there were – you had precincts where there was practically nobody voting for the Republican. And I think that’s wrong. I think that was unfair, frankly” . . . I’m telling you, November 8, we’d better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged.”

He repeated this enough that On August 12, the New Yorker reported:

Suggesting an election is going to be stolen, this is Third World dictatorship stuff,” CNN’s Brian Stelter said. “The problem for Trump is that his supporters believe what he says,” Vox’s Dara Lind wrote. “If he says a Trump loss means the election has been stolen, there are millions of people prepared to believe it.” Just as there are many people who are willing to believe—or to internalize and accept, anyway—that Obama created ISIS, even though it was founded four years before he came to office. … Healthy democracies don’t decay overnight. They gradually rot from within, with termites like Trump undermining their foundations.

As recently as October 11 he said in Pennsylvania, “I hear these horror shows, and we have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us.”

The effects of all this already are starting to set in. On the same day Trump made that statement, his running mate Mike Pence heard this from a woman in the audience: “I don’t want this to happen but I will tell you personally if Hillary Clinton gets in, I myself, I’m ready for a revolution because we can’t have her in.” (Pence asked her not to say that, after she’d said it.)

This is how you take down democracy, one piece at a time, by tearing apart our faith in our systems and each other – systems and a people who have worked pretty well together for a quarter of a millennium. But it can happen, and Donald Trump is doing his best to turn the United States into a national run by someone other than its people. – rs

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