The book “How Democracies Die,” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, tells of the destruction of democracy in various countries, identifying four characteristics of politicians moving toward anti-democratic, authoritarian rule.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly engaged in all four types of anti-democratic activities.

“Rejection of (or weak commitment to) democratic rules of the game.”

Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 election, complaining about (nonexistent) election fraud. He refused to say he would accept the election results if he lost.

“Denial of the legitimacy of political opponents.”

Trump calls Hillary Clinton a criminal, he calls opponents “communists,” and tells them to go back where they came from.

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“Toleration or encouragement of violence.”

Trump offers to pay legal fees or fines for supporters who prey on political opponents. His talk denigrating immigrants has inspired deadly violence.

“Readiness to curtail civil liberties of opponents, including media.”

President Trump has called the media “enemies of the people” and banned some journalists from news conferences.

Trump is a grave danger to our democracy. Citizens, tell Congress to hold the president to our founding values, the Constitution, and rule of law, while we research the best candidate to become our new president in 2020.

Bill Dagnon, Baraboo


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