Our democracy is in terrible danger — more than since the Civil War, more than after Pearl Harbor, more than during the Cuban missile crisis.
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times –
President Trump has made it unmistakably clear in recent weeks — and even more crystal clear at the Tuesday debate —that there are only two choices before voters on Nov. 3 — and electing Joe Biden is not one of them.
The president has told us in innumerable ways that either he will be re-elected or he will delegitimize the vote by claiming that all mail-in ballots — a time-honored tradition that has ushered Republicans and Democrats into office and has been used by Trump himself — are invalid.
Trump’s motives could not be more transparent. If he does not win the Electoral College, he’ll muddy the results so that the outcome can be decided only by the Supreme Court or the House of Representatives (where each state delegation gets one vote). Trump has advantages in both right now, which he has boasted about for the past week.
I can’t say this any more clearly: Our democracy is in terrible danger — more danger than it has been since the Civil War, more danger than after Pearl Harbor, more danger than during the Cuban missile crisis and more danger than during Watergate.
I began my career as a foreign correspondent covering Lebanon’s second civil war, and it left a huge impact on me. I saw what happens in a country when everything becomes politics, when a critical mass of politicians put party before country, when responsible people, or seemingly responsible people, think that they can bend or break the rules — and go all the way — and that the system won’t break.
But when extremists go all the way, and moderates just go away, the system can break. And it will break. I saw it happen.
I would like to think that such a thing could not happen in America. I’d like to think that … but I am very, very worried.
I worry because Facebook and Twitter have become giant engines for destroying the two pillars of our democracy — truth and trust. Yes, these social networks have given voice to the voiceless. That is a good thing and it can really enhance transparency. But they have also become huge, unedited cesspools of conspiracy theories that are circulated and believed by a shocking — and growing — number of people.