A former speechwriter for President George W. Bush argues that President Donald Trump’s continued defiance in the face of defeat in the 2020 presidential election shows that American democracy is in grave peril.
Writing on Twitter, conservative David Frum argues that he can’t imagine any other advanced democracy wondering whether an elected leader would willingly leave after being decisively defeated in an election.
“No more happy talk about the ‘uniquely American transition of power,’” writes Frum. “Trump presidency and this post-election period confirm that the US is *less* committed to democratic norms — and has *weaker* institutional safeguards for democracy — than peer wealthy democracies.”
He then relays how he recently spoke with a German diplomat whether he could imagine a German chancellor trying to stay in office after an election defeat, and he replied that such a situation was impossible to imagine.
“Nobody wondered, ‘Will Gordon Brown or Theresa May leave office if defeated?’” Frum writes. “Ditto the Netherlands, New Zealand, and newer democracies like Portugal or South Korea. Democratic culture is deep, and election law is administered impartially. For all the boasting, not true in USA.”
The former Bush speechwriter concludes by arguing that now is not the time to take American democracy for granted.
“The US not only lags other democracies — it has regressed even by its own standards,” he writes. “Time for a new era of reform.”