Donald Trump
By claiming that he won reelection, and trying to delegitimize the voting process, he is attempting to disenfranchise Americans so that he can retain power. — Linette Lopez
Accept that Donald Trump is not a fluke of American politics, and let it set this country free
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden won, but President Donald Trump still will not concede.
  • Trump is attempting an authoritarian breakthrough in the United States. By claiming that he won reelection, and trying to delegitimize the voting process, he is attempting to disenfranchise Americans so that he can retain power.
  • What he's doing is extremely anti-democratic and contrary to our stated values, but Trump is not a fluke of American politics.
  • Almost 70 million Americans voted for him. That's what is making this attempt at an authoritarian breakthrough possible.
  • If we want to make sure this never happens again, we have to acknowledge the antidemocratic American traits that made an authoritarian like Trump so successful. We have to understand why his message works in this democrtic country.
  • It's an ugly exercise of introspection, but if we do this and let go of our mythology of a perfect democracy, we can actually build a stronger democracy.
,,, And we cannot underestimate the appeal of what Trump sells. His lies about Democrats are meant to make those who stand with him feel self righteous about their hatred, and that's a seductive high. Some of his supporters would like to go back to the way things were when some Americans were disenfranchised because they believe this country belongs to white people and white people only. There are others who simply want to manipulate Trump's followers to gain power.

The difference between these groups is almost inconsequential now that we know that the logical conclusion of Trump's kind of rhetoric is demagoguery that will subvert democracy and the institutions we hold dear (by corrupting the Justice Department, for example).

In other words, the logical conclusion of Trumpism is a President who will make an authoritarian attempt.

It is important to note that Trump has created an "ism," because isms can survive individuals. And Trumpism is not only a set of political beliefs, but also a way to conduct politics — by spreading lies and misinformation, by disenfranchising people who may not be in the clan, by stoking racial divisons, by embracing nepotism and cronyism. Trumpism grasps for power for power's sake. It is a kind of brutal politics we see in weaker democracies around the world, but the seeds of it have been with us from the founding of the Republic. That is why this election was too close for comfort.

Of course, that Trumpism will live on after this presidency may not be something his supporters will live to be proud of. There are curiously few "isms" in American politics and they are generally looked down upon shamefully, McCarthyism for example. There is no Washingtonism or Lincolnism or Rooseveltism.

... Knowing this danger, it is imperative that we weaken Trumpism to the point that the history will recount, unequivocally, that it was without decency.

To America's credit, demagogues like Trump tend to be sticky, so to be rid of Trump after one election should be considered an accomplishment in some measure. It was very hard for Italy to get rid of Silvio Berlusconi, and France still can't shake off the Le Pen family. We did a good job holding Trump to a single term, but the work is not over.

For as long as Trumpism has power it will have the potential to make another authoritarian attempt. There are two ways to guard against this. One is to acknowledge the traits that make Americans uniquely vulnerable to Trumpism's specific form of demagoguery, and to reject politicians who manipulate or embrace them. The other is to build trust. In politics, trust is built by making people's lives better and by giving them something to believe in, not just something to be scared of.