Trump Is Entering a Vicious Cycle

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Note that Lippmann concern about the foolishness of the governed in giving their consent to rule by demagogues is only half the equation. The other half is Karl Popper's dictum that the true test of the strength of any democracy is, per his "The Open Society and Its Enemies," not the ability to elect leaders but the ability to remove them. This is the test we face, not as much with Trump as with the Republican party itself. This itself is an outgrowth of the unusual contours our own system has taken. Our inherent strengths lay in our system of belief in equal application of the law, the insistence as much as possible on fair (or at least nonviolent or threat thereof) elections, and the system of checks and balances not only in our federal government but also in the mirroring arrangement at state and local levels and the check and balance between those respective systems (federal v. state; state v. municipal). Our growing weakness is in the unrestricted influence of money in electoral politics, the relative lack of thoughtful regulation in our media platforms (to curtail disinformation that rise to the level of "fire" shouted in a theater), our current districting protocols (translation: gerrymandering), all of which have had baleful effects on the primary process for electing officials. Returning to that Popperian dictum: the measure of democracy is not the ability to elect but to remove your ruling class when they lose. So far Republicans are failing that test this election term.

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