This Is Not a Normal Election

“The scale of the abnormality is so staggering, that it can actually become numbing. It’s all too easy to fall into reflexive habits, to treat this as a normal campaign, where both sides embrace the rule of law, where both sides are dedicated to a debate based on facts and the peaceful transfer of power. But, that is not what’s happening this election year.”

— George Stephanopoulos, opening This Week on ABC News.

What’s Next for Those Who Think Trump Won?

“What happens next is a critical question for American democracy. What will become of the belief that the 2020 presidential election was in some way illegitimate? Will it melt away along with Mr. Trump’s prospects for winning, and vanish completely when Mr. Biden is inaugurated? Or will it fester, nursed by Republicans in power, and metastasize into something that could be a rallying cry for nationalists for years to come?”

New York Times

World Democracy Dropped for 12th Year in a Row

12 years

A new Freedom House report finds “democracy is in retreat around the world” for the 12th year in a row. Most striking: “The United States retreated from its traditional role as both a champion and an exemplar of democracy amid an accelerating decline in American political rights and civil liberties… The United States experienced its sharpest one-year drop since we began doing the survey more than 40 years ago.”

Democracy’s Demise Came from Within

“In America, the basic fabric of civic self-government seems to be eroding following the loss of faith in democratic ideals. According to a study published in The Journal of Democracy, the share of young Americans who say it is absolutely important to live in a democratic country has dropped from 91 percent in the 1930s to 57 percent today. … While running for office, Donald Trump violated every norm of statesmanship built up over these many centuries, and it turned out many people didn’t notice or didn’t care. … The faith in the West collapsed from within. It’s amazing how slow people have been to rise to defend it.”

David Brooks

Trump Is a Threat to Democracy

Mr. Trump is not the first American politician with authoritarian tendencies. (Other notable authoritarians include Gov. Huey Long of Louisiana and Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.) But he is the first in modern American history to be elected president. This is not necessarily because Americans have grown more authoritarian (the United States electorate has always had an authoritarian streak). Rather it’s because the institutional filters that we assumed would protect us from extremists, like the party nomination system and the news media, failed.

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt