Trumping the Principles of Democracy
The threat that Presidential Nominee Donald Trump presents to liberal democracy is now clear. As Zack Beauchamp at Vox has pointed out, Trump’s disregard for the limits of an executive during his comments at Sunday night’s debate isn’t just simple campaign rhetoric: it is a frightening example of autocracy.
By no means has this been the first time that Donald Trump has advocated for undemocratic or downright illegal solutions to address an issue. At this same time, the thought that the GOP’s nominee for the President of the United States is advocating for a clear breach of democratic principles codified within the Constitution is harrowing.
“No person shall […] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
The fifth and fourteenth amendment both serve as safeguards of liberty within our democracy. Due process is the arbiter of justice within the United States, and has served our nation to prevent the manifestation of pure authoritarianism. Due process is one factor which separates our leaders from the likes of Pinochet, Duvalier, and Mugabe. When Donald Trump says that he will imprison Hillary Clinton regardless the outcome of multiple probes and official investigations: he threatens the root of our democracy.
Ultimately, we have to recognize our democracy and its ideals for what it limits. Our democracy sets restrains so that no one man (or woman) can rule absolutely. In this same regard, our democracy recognizes the fatal flaw of an impassioned majority. Thus, the process of constitutional checks that have been maintained over the past two-hundred-and-forty years has spared our republic from most illiberal actions (emphasis on most).
The very fact that a man within an arm’s reach from the presidency can openly advocate for a position so undemocratic is chilling. Not only that, but the fact that we can see active support for this toxic position by a sizable faction of Trump’s own supporters is disheartening.
If you are unable to accept that this tenant of our democracy holds true to every person, regardless your personal opinion towards them: you need a new lesson in democracy. We are better than this.