America's Authoritarian Threat

Oct 29, 2020

The United States has fought against authoritarian governments. Does that mean it can’t happen here?  


Matthew MacWilliams, visiting research associate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Author of “On Fascism.” (@MatthewMacWill1)

Larry Bartels, professor of public policy and social science at Vanderbilt University. Co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Author of “Democracy for Realists.” (@VandyPoliSci)

From The Reading List

Politico: “Trump Is an Authoritarian. So Are Millions of Americans” — “One of the important lessons Americans learned from Donald Trump’s election in 2016—and one still difficult for some of us to process almost four years later—is just how many of our fellow citizens are predisposed to authoritarianism.”

PNAS: “Ethnic antagonism erodes Republicans’ commitment to democracy” — “Growing partisan polarization and democratic “backsliding” in various parts of the world have raised concerns about the attachment of ordinary Americans to democratic institutions and procedures.”

Politico: “The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter” — “If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated?”

New York Magazine: “Many GOP Voters Value America’s Whiteness More Than Its Democracy” — “In Donald Trump’s America, democracy dies in broad daylight.

Previous presidents have flouted the rule of law and sought to restrict access to the ballot, but none of Trump’s modern predecessors have treated these endeavors like photo ops.”

Vox: “Sen. Mike Lee’s tweets against “democracy,” explained” — “A prominent Republican senator set off a controversy by tweeting that ‘we’re not a democracy.’ Here’s what he actually meant — and why the seemingly minor controversy actually matters.”

Washington Post: “A strange but accurate predictor of whether someone supports Donald Trump” — “One of the reasons that Donald Trump has flummoxed pollsters and political analysts is that his supporters seem to have nothing in common. He appeals to evangelical and secular voters, conservative and moderate Republicans, independents and even some Democrats.”

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