Remember how the media ran all these types of articles during the Era Of Obama? Me neither
Here’s the funny thing about democracy: Sometimes, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.
John Carey, a Dartmouth professor of government, would know. He has spent his career studying the erosion of democracy in Latin American countries such as Venezuela and Argentina. And time and again, he has seen the same thing. “It’s only in retrospect that you can point to the bright line,” a moment when a country’s democratic institutions stopped working, he told me. At the time, he said, there’s rarely consensus. Instead, Carey said, “there’s usually a debate about whether this is an advance or a setback.”
The obvious inference here is that we are Dooooooomed under Trump.
Bright Lines Watch is here to help. The website, set up by a small group of political scientists, was born out of the idea that, in their words, “One of the greatest threats to democracy is the idea that it is unassailable.” Their goal is to carefully monitor the state of democracy in the United States so that they can identify threats to the system.
To start, the creators identified the essential qualities of democracy. They chose 19, including fair, free elections; judicial and legislative independence; government protection of individuals’ right to engage in unpopular speech; a robust free press; and an executive authority that won’t push its power beyond constitutional limits. There are others, too: “Government leaders recognize the validity of bureaucratic or scientific consensus about matters of public policy.” “Government agencies are not used to monitor, attack, or punish political opponents.” “Government officials do not use public office for private gain.” “Political competition occurs without criticism of opponents’ loyalty or patriotism.”
Interesting. This just created organization would have had a field day with Obama, who attempted to shut down press he couldn’t control, and was constantly pushing executive authority beyond constitutional limits. Using government agencies to attack. And then there was Hillary, who used her office for private gain.
“The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign taught us not to assume that the country’s political leadership will follow the practices and norms that help guarantee American democracy,” the founders wrote on the site. “Our overarching goal is to use our scholarly expertise to monitor democratic practices and call attention to threats to American democracy.”
So, this supposedly non-partisan group, which is being cited all over the place, are Election 2016 Truthers, and highly partisan.
The idea is to create a benchmark so that experts can assess change over time. The point is to look out for trends. It’s a way to tell whether our institutions are becoming less free, whether our voting system is still fraud-free, whether journalists and judges still have as much autonomy in a year as they do right now.
And you know what they will find. In this case, they claim that America gets a “C” for democracy. Even though we’re a federal republic. But, the idea here is to paint a picture of a doomed America.