My colleagues Robert Lieberman, Suzanne Mettler, Ken Roberts, Rick Valelly, and I have written a new paper on American democracy in the time of President Trump. We propose an explicitly comparative and historical framework for understanding Trump’s presidency and what it means for democracy in the United States. It is written in an accessible style, mostly free of jargon, but it is definitely a long read.
Political scientists are doing lots of important work right now to think about U.S. democracy in the comparative perspective (see e.g. the Bright Line Watch and the Authoritarian Warning Survey). Our task is not to compile data or expert opinions, but rather to propose one framework that links what we know from history and comparison to American politics right now.
If you are an Americanist who wants to know what comparative politics has to say about democratic stability… or a comparativist who wants to know more about the historical precedents of the current moment… or a citizen who wants to step back from the latest headlines to think generally about the condition of U.S. politics right now… then this is the essay for you.