Donald Trump's presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we'd be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang--in a revolution or military coup--but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms.
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Two Harvard professors explain the dangerous world we face today. Democracies can die with a coup d'état - or they can die slowly. This happens most deceptively when in piecemeal fashion, with the election of an authoritarian leader, the abuse of governmental power and the complete repression of opposition. All three steps are being taken around the world - not least with the election of Donald Trump - and we must all understand how we can stop them.
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President Donald Trump hasn’t destroyed the republic. This should not surprise us. Our democratic institutions are strong. And Trump, despite his reckless attacks on democratic norms, is a weak and inept leader.
"Is Our Democracy Wobbly?" is from the January 27, 2018 Opinion section of The New York Times. It was written by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt and narrated by Keith Sellon-Wright.
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