Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Democracy Revisited

As you may have seen, a large group, hundreds of political scientists, have signed a letter denouncing the candidacy of Trump, because:

"1. He has cast doubt on the validity of the election process, without any supporting evidence.

 2. He has stated that he may reject the outcome of a free election if he does not win.

 3. He has encouraged supporters to engage in voter suppression and intimidation.

 4. He has threatened to jail the leader of the opposition party.

 5. He has questioned the independence of the judiciary and the impartiality of judges based on their  race, ethnicity, religion, and parentage.

 6. He has impugned the loyalty of citizens and other persons in the United States on the basis of race,  ethnicity, religion, and country of birth.

 7. He has endangered freedom of the press by intimidating individual journalists, banning major  news organizations from his rallies, and promising to change libel laws.

 8. He has called for the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

 9. He has threatened to destroy the strategic basis of NATO, the most important security alliance of  the last seventy years, by questioning the commitment of the United States to regard an attack on any  member state as an attack on all.

 For all these reasons and despite our own indifference on matters of politics and partisanship, we  stand united in the conviction that a Trump presidency would pose a grave threat to American  democracy and to other democratic governments around the world."

Of the nine listed reasons, each of which notes an extreme position, seven identify grave threats to the political process inherent to a democrat. The other two, #8 and #9, represent extreme, but arguably legitimate political positions. Still, that is a quibble and it's heartening that the political scientists saw the need to speak out as experts on the process and therefore, the grave threats to the fundamental institutions in a democracy.

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