Since the moment that current President Trump had been elected as the next President of the United States, the entire world has kept an eye on the United States with curiosity and hesitance at hand. Even before Trump was elected there was continuous debates on whether he would lead this strong country into success, riches, and prosperity. Or, if the nation would come crumbling down; gazing towards the world with hopelessness and defeat in their eyes. Due to Trump’s significant amount of confidence and stubbornness, U.S. democracy has been faced with disturbances harder than the nation ever thought would be possible (e.g. scandals, equality issues, government shutdown, border control). One may argue in favor of the multiple positive attributions that have surfaced during Trump’s presidency, (e.g. economic growth, tax cuts, funding) but vast economic growth is no stranger to the process of democratic erosion.
From examining Trumps methods, views and beliefs, one could conclude that he has modeled himself as an Authoritarian ruler. Actions of an Authoritarian ruler will reject the democratic rules of the game, deny legitimacy of opponents, tolerate or encourage violence, and indicate a willingness to curtail civil liberties of opponents, including the media. Part of Trump’s campaign strategy is to harshly attack certain races/ethnic minorities that he finds to be aggressive and problematic in American borders. Populist Trump supporters and high elites in America’s society have followed in Trump’s footsteps and publicized their mutual feelings towards certain ethnic minorities as well. For example, Trump has publicly supported Jayda Fransen, an anti-Muslim figure who tweets anti-Muslim libels on twitter. Trump also slanders immigrants, specifically those who are coming from Mexico. A point should be made that the United States has continuously dealt with racism since the nation was formed, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that hate crimes and the tension between white supremacists and diverse minorities has shot up since Trump trampled into the spotlight.
The negligent actions of Congress and further government leaders also lead to the assumption that democratic erosion is taking place. In the article, Under Trump, the United States has joined the sad roster of backsliding democracies, Azi Huq addresses these actions by stating that “the past year has revealed that key political actors, including members of Congress, will tolerate flagrant malfeasance by the president and members of his administration…” Withholding this view of Trump stands above the rules” political government leaders continue to put personal interests above national interests, in order to defend their Presidents wrong-doings by poor discernment. An example to be given would be the continuous struggle for an investigation looking into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Trump so willingly has fired James Comey, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which hasn’t provoked neither fellow Republican elites nor Republican supporters.
Huq further explains that “co-opting the bureaucracy for political ends” is the third warning sign that the U.S. is steadily heading towards democratic erosion. An example to look at once again, would be the challenging process of opening an investigation in regard to the 2016 elections affiliated with possible Russian involvement. Although, when the president suggested that there should be an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, the agency (FBI) complies with no hesitation.
In sum, due to Trump’s lack of empathy towards America’s population and his disregard towards the nations democracy, the United States is steadily spiraling towards democratic backsliding.
Photo by “redbubble.com”, Creative Commons Zero License.