Since the election of President Trump, many folks on the left have expressed their fear that American democracy is under siege by our current commander-in-chief. According to these people, the president is an existential threat to democracy for a host of dastardly infractions and absolutely must be disposed of immediately, lest America become another one of the bad investments that soured the president’s prolific, yet turbulent business career.
“The very concept of democracy is under attack by a president who seems intent on emulating the authoritarian leaders in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and elsewhere” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in March.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), when not bragging about collegiate marijuana usage, is defending American democracy, which she warns is “under attack and on the line like never before” because “we have leaders who bully and attack a free press and undermine our democratic institutions.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stated, “[D]emocracy itself is under threat.”
Between mouthfuls of regenerative dirt, “Beto” O’Rourke warned of the “interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate.”
With all of this duly noted, we are left to wonder whether or not President Trump is actually a threat to American democracy. In order to reach a definitive conclusion, we’re going to examine the three inextricable tenets that serve as the foundation for any free society.
The first two components of a free society are freedom of speech and freedom of the press, both of which are protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In totalitarian regimes similar to that in North Korea, political opponents—including journalists—are jailed or murdered for dissenting and challenging the current leadership. While President Trump has viciously ridiculed his political opposition, including the media, he has never jailed dissenters, utilized force or imposed restrictive legislation on subjects in response to criticism of him or his administration.
Likewise, the president has incessantly excoriated the press—even wrongly branding them the “enemy of the people.” The president’s grievance with continuing negative media coverage is indicative that the American press is as free as ever.
Under totalitarian regimes, the press is frequently coerced into forced loyalty to the current leadership and often jailed or killed for printing negative “propaganda.” According to Pew Research, media coverage of President Trump has been overwhelmingly negative, particularly in comparison to past presidents. Political competition and skeptical journalists are a shot of straight oxygen to democracy. The exorbitant media and political opposition to President Trump is clear evidence that he does not control the free press, nor has he stifled free speech.
The third leg that democracy stands upon is the freedom of assembly which is also preserved by the First Amendment. When granted freedom of assembly, subjects within a given political system have the right to mobilize together to support or express opposition to leadership while lobbying for preferred legislation. In others words, this is the right to peaceful protest; and Democrats are professionals at this.
Election Day 2016 was marked by furious protests, including a large gathering outside Trump Tower that saw Lady Gaga brandish a “Love Trumps Hate” poster, while demonstrators wailed that president-elect Trump was, in fact, not their president. Additionally, we’ve had the Women’s March, kneeling for the National Anthem and the March for Our Lives, all intended to oppose the president, his legislation and his rhetoric.
Obviously, President Trump has not imposed violence or legislation designed to thwart the freedom of assembly of American citizens. As we speak, unemployed leftists are likely organizing the next big demonstration to express their opposition to America’s current leadership; they will be rightfully free to do so.
President Trump does not pose a threat to American democracy because he, like all U.S. presidents, is constrained by the constitutional checks and balances presented by the ever-dissenting legislative and judicial branches of the American federal government. His administration has not threatened or undermined the three components of a healthy democracy during his time in office. In fact, they’ve only been inflamed through harsh opposition, an indication that democracy lives and breathes today.
Democrats are desperate to win the next election because they, like the president and his party, naturally desire to impose their preferred legislation on the nation in order to improve its well-being. As malicious their attacks, the left’s motivation is likely pure. However, in utilizing the freedoms of speech, press and assembly to stridently oppose President Trump’s alleged undermining of democracy, Democrats have unintentionally demonstrated precisely just how alive and well American democracy actually is.
Kevin Catapano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.