The Fragility of Democratic and Social Norms in the United States

Note: I follow domestic politics but by no means am I an expert in institutions, social movements, democracy, or American history.  However, I do study norms: their content, presumed effects, and their robustness. That’s what this post focuses on. 

On the eve of the election I had the pleasure of having dinner with two close friends. As we waited for red beans and rice to finish, conversation turned to the election and Donald J. Trump, current president-elect and soon to be 45th president of the United States.

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His very candidacy and knowledge that even if Hillary did win by a landslide that still 40-50 million people will have voted for him shakes me to my core. It’s not that I believed that racism, misogyny, sexual assault, and xenophobia were things of the past. It’s not that I believed that fear of muslims and change was only harbored by a remote fringe of the population or readers of the The CrusaderIt’s not even that I believed that a large majority of the 40-50 million who would vote for Trump were motivated by these feelings. What scared (now scares) me most is that norms of equality, non-discrimination, anti-racism, compassion, empathy, smooth and peaceful transfers of power, and appraising policies based on facts alongside beliefs were too weak to withstand the storm of Donald J. Trump.  Continue reading