The decline of American democracy won’t be televised

The decline of American democracy won’t be televised


The problem with calling Trump a… is that we have a really narrow idea of what it looks like when
democracies fail. We imagine democratic failure as being some spectacular event
a military coup or an illegal power grab or the declaration of martial law. To protect the Republic of the Philippines and our democracy. We don’t really
imagine it looking like this. This is a child’s desk, but that’s okay. It’s the smallest desk I’ve ever seen. But political scientists do, because in a
country like the US, the death of democracy is going to start off looking
kind of normal. So normal, you might not even notice it’s happening until it’s
too late. Well I respect the group but the entire thing has been a witch hunt and
there is no collusion. Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey has gotten a lot of
media attention, in part because it’s really easy to explain why it matters. If Trump fired Comey over the Russia investigation that would be obstruction
of justice, which is a crime but a lot of what worries political scientists about
Trump is tougher to explain in a soundbite like that. Because for the most
part it’s stuff that’s totally legal. It turns out that government officials can
exploit weaknesses in the law in ways that are destructive to the rule of law as
a whole. This bearer of bad news is Aziz Huq. He’s a law professor at the
University of Chicago and he’s written a lot about a concept called “democratic
backsliding”, which kind of sounds like something Hillary Clinton does at a
wedding. Backsliding is what happens when a democratically elected government,
starts attacking the institutions that make democracy work. I know the dance
thing was cooler. And Huck argues that what makes backsliding so dangerous is
that it’s really hard to know when it starts. In many other countries the way
that we see democratic backsliding happening is through a series of
discrete legal changes, each of which is on their own completely lawful. A great
example of what backsliding looks like is Venezuela’s former President Hugo
Chavez. Ah, the 90s. Chavez was elected as a
democratic populist, but over time he changed. And while remaining popular Chavez
has been anything but democratic. He got frustrated with opposition from courts
and the media, so he started doing things like firing judges, using anti-defamation
laws to silence journalists, and even describing unfriendly news organizations
as quote “enemies of the homeland”. What’s scary about Chavez’s story, is that he didn’t need a military coup
to screw up Venezuela’s democracy. The man who came to office by democracy, he’s
doing everything he can just snuff it out. He did it legally, by slowly turning
his supporters and political allies against the country’s democratic
institutions. Autocrats in other parts of the world
have gone after those institutions very early on in the process of backsliding. And that’s what worries political scientists about Trump. Trump shows a
deep distrust of America’s democratic institutions. He lashes out at judges,
calls journalists, the enemy of the people, accuses watchdog agencies of
conspiring against him. He questions the legitimacy of an election that he won. His White House stonewalls reporters to avoid answering questions. Off. It’s off-camera. Off. It’s off. He’s suspicious of the mechanisms that limit his authority. This is an unprecedented judicial overreach. And he encourages his supporters to be too. that is a catastrophic thing to be happening in a democracy. It’s how democratic backsliding starts, but the thing is none of this is illegal. As long as Republicans
in Congress go along with it, there’s nothing to stop Trump from publicly
criticizing basic democratic institutions. Our Constitution just
doesn’t do a very good job of protecting us against certain
kinds of democratic failure. Whether you’re in a moment of democratic backsliding really
depends upon the character of our political leaders. Which brings us back
to Comey and why it’s so hard to talk about Democratic backsliding without
sounding paranoid. We live in a media environment that is really bad at
putting things in context, that is designed to bombard us with breaking
news and discrete pieces of information and that makes it hard to identify
democratic backsliding when it starts. Because unless it clearly breaks the law,
it’s really tough to explain why any one Trump tweet or scandal poses a threat to
democracy. Wo when Trump calls a federal judge a “so
called judge”, it’s just a one-off comment. Does anyone honestly believe President
Trump is going to ignore this judge’s order because he’s a quote so-called judge? When Trump calls the press the enemy of the American people, it’s all talk. He sounds like a broken record it’s just kind of like what else you got Donald Trump? I don’t think that new media are well designed to tell this kind of story, because those
media are designed to convey information in very small chunks. The real story is not the discrete action in a particular moment in time, there’s some
bigger picture. Democratic backsliding is one of those things that you can’t really
see from up close. It is only when you when you look at changes in the
aggregate that one sees the effect upon democracy after, a set of
institutions and practices. That doesn’t mean the Comey stuff isn’t important. Obstruction of justice is obviously a big deal. But some of the biggest threats
to democracy are way less dramatic, way more normal looking. And if you’re
waiting for the CNN chyron announcing that it’s time to panic, you’re going to be waiting for a long time.

100 Comments on "The decline of American democracy won’t be televised"


  1. Democracy died the second an electoral college was initiated. When the person who gets the most votes can't win… in ANY way… It's not a democracy anymore.

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  2. Democracy died in the 60s (It started before that, but that was the nail in the coffin). I am surprised people are still stupid enough to believe we have had it longer then that.

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  3. Democracy is beautiful in theory in practice it is a fallacy you in America will see that some day –
    Benito Mussolini

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  4. 78% accurate! (with an extremely reductionist take on Hugo Chavez rise to power, & the western influences that transformed him into a socialist. Seriously if Certain Countries didn’t wanna control their Oil fields so badly, & went to such terrible lengths against the darker skinned poorer population. Hugo Chavez would have remained a capitalist)
    This one gets a passing grade but just barely. Denying just one variable in the overall equation is exactly what you are accusing the main stream media of. & by doing that you’re losing all objectivity Actually almost kind of pushing for a Specific agenda depending upon the viewers inference.
    It’s just weird this channel usually stays pretty objective. Hurm grumble

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  5. meanwhile the DNC fully embraced marxism, and yet you claim conservatives are a threat to democracy?

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  6. coley is guilty of being part of a rouge gang trying to take over America,THATS TRADISION TREASON HANG THE BASTARD.

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  7. Well I mean of course Trump is going to bash media outlets that make fake claims about him or any conservatives to hype the new market of people who don’t like Trump. They make money with it being right or wrong and they’ll continue to get away with it, media outlets like Vox only show a fraction of what is really going on. Clear as day I can tell this is not a conservative friendly channel and the narrative they are trying to spread makes me question how dumb this country has actually become. Now I don’t like Trump a whole lot but imo he’s doing a lot better than if Hillary Clinton was elected, for what he was thrown into you gotta give the guy some props.

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  8. I wonder if any of you guys feel bad now that trump was proven innocent of collusion. Maybe calling journalists and networks like cnn fake news was justified seems how they falsely peddled the collusion throughout his entire term. I think I would be pissed too if I was falsely accused of cheating after winning fair and square.

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  9. To compare Trump and Chavez is to willingly deny the differences between the US and Venezuela (and all Latin America for that matter), and that is dangerous.

    In countries like Venezuela, Argentina, Brasil or Colombia the great and powerful rich guys aren't the ones who produce domestically. In Latin America, the millioners are the ones who exploit the resources the have in their native countries, exchange their profits to US Dollars and invest in the US because the dividends are higher. That's what we call the "financial bycicle".

    The numerous coups d'etât that took place in this countries WERE BACKED BY THE UNITED STATES because a neoliberalistic regime in Latin America favours both American and Latin American millioners.

    Trump endorses liberals like Guaidó in Venezuela and Macri in Argentina because they make money by turning the natural resources of their countries into Dollars leaving they needs of the people unattended.

    Chavez picked a fight whit the mainstream media because the networks like CNÑ (or "Clarín" y "La Nación" un Argentina) are financed by US capitals, they're really the enemies of the people. CNN is openly against Trump's policies on almost every subject. Well the CNÑ celebrates the cooperation between Trump and Guaidó.

    And that's not coincidence. Liberalism seems to work on the US (and it has it's limits to, though) because the ones who make profit from liberalism are the US's capitalists, and as long as they invest on American domestic economy, everything runs smoothly. But for us, the third-world worker paying for the liberal pillaging party, they're the enemy, and our only way out of poverty is to have leaders that stand up to the economic powers of the United States.

    The comparation is malicious and misleading, not to mention inaccurate.

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  10. What is democracy giving you?? The freed of expression which turns into endlesd debates of such a stupid things like a wall…they r debsting this wall for 2 years…all the rich are milking democracy because heyy why not….nobody wants to take respondibilty unlike monarchy where you could blame the person directly….

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  11. America wants democracy in the world because it is easy for them to bribe the govt official rather than a dictator…..

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  12. The American Constitutional Republic has been in decline way before Trump.   Your calling America a democracy is just one example of the many reasons for its decline and eventual fall.    Whenever a government makes the shift into becoming an empire that shift is a major starting point of decline.    I don't enough here to outline all the major reasons but I would suggest to you to do way more research if you want to make a good video about it instead of this overly simplified nonsense video you have created.  I know its not fully your fault since you are the product of an education system which is failing but it is your fault for not spending the time necessary for making an intelligent video.

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  13. America keeps on exporting capitalism and the Chicago school everywhere… so sad. -the shock doctrine.

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  14. Trump is just a symptom. Others have laid the groundwork of this oligarchy where the powerful have near immunity and everyone else is one breath away from being a criminal. Trump is an extreme version of what we had in the past. It was only a matter of time.

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  15. The death of democracy begins with the populace not accepting the results of a democratic election. I’m looking at you, #resist.

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  16. Oh please shut up, our democracy is okay. The problem is that the media and these videos are the reason why you guys make it as big of a deal. Obama was doing the same thing, but never got so much criticism like our current president.

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  17. Trump is our only hope of recovering. Countries with under 90 overall average IQ suffer irreparable corruption and crime. America is down from 110 IQ in the 1970's to 94 IQ today due to decades of uncontrolled immigration from the third world. Mexico's is 88. Honduras 65. Brazil 70. China is 104. Japan 108. Europe 103. The Congo, Sudan, Nigeria 55-65. This is why Trump finally took office. The corruption in DC has been off the charts for decades. He's got to stop this illegal immigration ASAP!

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  18. the us is not a democracy and never was intended to be.we are a republic which means a rule of law.the forefather knew democracies dont survive.majority rules is a democracy or mob rule.we have been taught this lie in the government schools all our lives so much that most sheeple believe it.democrats running the education .what do you expect.

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  19. To start of America is not a democracy it is a constitutional republic. The democratic party is the ones who are destroying our "Democracy".

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  20. Same is happening in India, here corporations have become stronger and more powerful than people.

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  21. "Most people, including most Americans, would be surprised to learn that the word “democracy” does not appear in the Declaration of Independence (1776) or the Constitution of the United States of America (1789)."

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  22. So, a channel who is do disgustingly bias, since its inception almost the Fox News of Democrats is saying a Republican president is killing democracy. As Fox News did with Obama, and the cycle keeps going and going and going.

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  23. Our "democracy" is a fallacy, we the people are treated like sheep by the almighty government, the Congress is controlled by big corporations, financial institutions, and even foreign interests. The government spy against all of us every day, tax us to death, and the politicians lie. No because we have the right to elect some people every few years is a guarantee of democracy when those elected officials turn their backs on us once elected. We are used by the government to legitimize the system with elections. Do we have a say in when our government sent troops or declare war against perceived threats? Do we have a say in the foreign AID program that our "leaders" send billions of dollars every year to several countries, including some of the most brutal regimes in the world? Do we have a say in who the government bails out of financial trouble? Are there consequences when the "leaders" lie and falsify information? Who controls the "free" press? The press is controlled by a small group of power with interests that almost never are the interests of the people. A very small group has the monopoly over information. Yes, "Land Of The Free" mis cojones.

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  24. Quick pros/cons list of Mr. Trump, featuring things people have said in this comment section.

    Pro: more people have jobs

    Con: he is dismantling our democracy one step at a time and there is very little the public can do about it.

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  25. Too everyone saying “we were never a democracy, were a federal republic”

    We are a federal republic, yes
    We are also a representative democracy

    We can be both

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  26. The United States was never a Democracy.
    Our founding fathers made sure America will never end up like Rome's Democracy.

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  27. This video is so good! It explains very clearly how the decline of western democracy is happening. Having said that, all I want to see is more “Dem Backsliding” dance!!! 💃 💥 💃

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  28. Interesting that a 30 year old thinks he has so much experience with democratic governments falling. He points at the right, but constantly talks about silencing anyone who doesn't agree with him. Here is a hint about identifying a tyrant: No one criticizes a true tyrant more than once. Given the constant barrages of criticism and attacks on Trump, it's ludicrous to think he is about to take Democracy away. Instead of legitimately arguing their side in political debates, they just instantly jump to an accusation of racism, sexism, blah, blah, blah. The big, well funded mainstream media "free press" don't even bother hiding their total support of the left. The idea of a free press doesn't include working in lock step with a political party.

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  29. I think one of the most prominent battles is the protection of the fourth estate. Also the sanctity of embassies, which has already been violated. There needs to be some admission of wrongdoing for the invasion of the Venezuelan Embassy and for the wrongful arrest of Julian Assange.

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  30. Another Trump hater. Trump was left with a disaster of a country,(a lame duck) to fix. I think he is doing more than Obama, Clinton, both Bushes, and Reagan combined. They just let NAFTA eat our country up, and didn't try to stop it!

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  31. 人都是有欲望的,其中就包括总统,总统想拥有专制独裁和控制一切的欲望,而法律漏洞会被总统很好的运用,况且,特朗普又是个商人,头脑非常灵活。所以,还需要有更高超的办法来遏制权力部门对民主的步步蚕食。

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  32. Everyone has desires, including the President, who wants to have autocratic dictatorship and control over everything, and legal loopholes will be well used by the President. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

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  33. All people have desires, including presidents and members of the power sector, who want to have the desire to dictatorship and control everything. They also have the desire for great wealth. And legal loopholes will be well used by the president. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

    Reply

  34. All people have desires, including presidents and members of the power sector, who want to have the desire to dictatorship and control everything. They have the same desire for great wealth and power. And legal loopholes will be well used by the president. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

    Reply

  35. All people have desires, including presidents and members of the power sector, who want to have the desire to dictatorship and control everything. They have the same desire for great wealth and power. And legal loopholes will be well used by the president. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

    Reply

  36. All people have desires, including presidents and members of the power sector, who want to have the desire to dictatorship and control everything. They have the same desire for great wealth and power. And legal loopholes will be well used by the president. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

    Reply

  37. All people have desires, including presidents and members of the power sector, who want to have the desire to dictatorship and control everything. They have the same desire for great wealth and power. And legal loopholes will be well used by the president. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

    Reply

  38. 人都是有欲望的,其中就包括总统和权力部门人员,他们想拥有专制独裁和控制一切的欲望。他们一样有对巨额财富和权力的渴望。而法律漏洞会被总统很好的运用,况且,特朗普又是个商人,头脑非常聪明。所以,需要有更高超的办法来遏制权力部门对民主的蚕食。

    Reply

  39. 人都是有欲望的,其中就包括总统和权力部门人员,他们想拥有专制独裁和控制一切的欲望。他们一样有对巨额财富和权力的渴望。而法律漏洞会被总统很好的运用,况且,特朗普又是个商人,头脑非常聪明。所以,需要有更高超的办法来遏制权力部门对民主的蚕食。

    Reply

  40. All people have desires, including presidents and other members of the power sector, who want to have the desire to dictatorship and control everything. They have the same desire for great wealth and power. And legal loopholes will be well used by the president. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

    Reply

  41. Everyone has desires, including presidents and members of the power sector, who want to have the desire to be dictatorial and to control everything. They have the same desire for great wealth and power. And legal loopholes will be well used by the president. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

    Reply

  42. Everyone has desires, including presidents and members of the power sector, who want to have the desire to be dictatorial and to control everything. They have the same desire for great wealth and power. And legal loopholes will be well used by the president. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

    Reply

  43. 人都是有欲望的,其中就包括总统和权力部门人员,他们想拥有专制独裁和控制一切的欲望。他们一样有对巨额财富和权力的渴望。而法律漏洞会被总统很好的运用,况且,特朗普又是个商人,头脑非常聪明。所以,需要有更高超的办法来遏制权力部门对民主的蚕食。

    Reply

  44. Everyone has desires, including presidents and members of the power sector, who want to have the desire to be dictatorial and to control everything. They have the same desire for great wealth and power. And legal loopholes will be well used by the president. Besides, Trump is a businessman with a very smart mind. Therefore, there is a need for more sophisticated ways to curb the power sector's encroachment on democracy.

    Reply

  45. For your information Democracy is an idea and does not truly exist…Especially in the U.S.

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  46. Just go to Cuba or Venezuela to see what the death of democracy really looks like. America is far from it

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  47. I can’t believe you’re comparing Trump to a dictator like Chavez.

    What a disgrace of a channel.

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  48. Problem is, does anyone know what democracy means. Democracy is populism. Populism is emotionally driven. That's why we have the electoral college, to curb populism. This is why democracy cannot be unregulated. This is what happened in Venezuela. This is also why we have the 1st and 2nd amendments. Checks and balances were put in all over the place. A complicated divided government, keeps the majority from taking over. This country is around 70% white and Christian. You really want a direct democracy? Watch what you wish for.

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  49. It’s called manipulation at its finest!
    And Trump will never directly say what he’s wants you to do, he’s just going to imply what he wants you to do!

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  50. Real question is, why do you think that democracy is so good that should not be replaced with other style of political order?

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  51. me: watches videos like this one when I'm bored
    my smartest friend: "why do you watch that stuff? I don't even understand most of what they're saying"
    my other (usually) smart friend: "what party is Trump again?"
    another smart friend after I asked which candidate she liked most: "IDK. I think my said something about that one dude."
    me: so disappointed in my generation. I'm the only one in my friend group of pretty smart people who knows anything about politics. And I'd probably be just as out of the loop as them if it weren't for the fact that my parents are political scientists. my dad was a professor at Harvard and Carnegie Mellon and he wrote some big paper about the 2000 election.

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  52. American democracy is not in decline because America is not and never was a democracy, and it never will be as long as we keep pretending it's already a democracy.

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  53. "He did it legally…" – so, basically like Hitler? (I know, sounds like overreacting. Maybe not. Guess!) (And… It's about Chavez – did you notice?)

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  54. Ooooh.
    Please make a video about Hungary.
    We are pretty much the benchmark of everything said in this video!!

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  55. V for Vendetta saw this coming, all it got wrong in both the movie and the source material was the location.

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  56. Death of Democracy? We were never a democracy and should never be / were,never meant to be. We are a constitutional republic. For good reasons too…

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  57. After watching this I want to request American people that do not vote for Donald Trump in 2020 election.

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  58. Let’s be honest, with the advent of the technology, the nature of the media has changed and become corrupt. We have commodified information to the point at which the type of information that gets to the public is no longer important, just that it captures the attention of the most people as possible. Don’t get me wrong, the media is incredibly important in a well functioning democracy, however we have to find a way to deal with the media before politicians (like Donald Trump) use its failure as a way of silencing opposition

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  59. America has not been a democratic society since the death of Roosevelt, and it will be destroyed before it ever answers to her citizens again.

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  60. Trump has the power to change the way the media works by putting laws in saying the media can't legally lie. Yet, there is no attempt,only complaints.

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  61. It's not just trump. American rights and liberties have been declining for a long time. I think the biggest drop was under Obama, not Trump.

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  62. Even if Congress wasn’t run by Republicans Trump won’t stop criticizing the media lol. He has a right to, just like most of the media has continually criticized him

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  63. Democratic backsliding is when the people elect a President and dissidents refuse to accept the results. Very dangerous people.

    Reply

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