Less than two years have passed since Donald Trump’s inauguration as president, and yet some fear the leader of the free world has done an amount of damage that will take much, much longer to reverse.
In the light of developments involving Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, plus a high-profile New York Times op-ed from an anonymous insider, plenty will have been wondering what Trump’s nemesis and former presidential rival Hillary Clinton makes of all this.
Well, nearly two years after losing out to Trump in the presidential election, the Democratic candidate has weighed in on how she sees democracy in the United States, and it makes for pretty uncomfortable reading.
In an article for The Atlantic entitled ‘American Democracy Is in Crisis,’ Clinton calls upon her fellow Americans to “fight back” in the face of the potential loss of democratic institutions and traditions.
Having initially given President Trump the benefit of the doubt, she admits some of her worst fears are being realised in the second year of his presidency.
Clinton doesn’t mince her words in the lengthy op-ed, and here’s just a selection of some of the points she argues:
Trump and his administration are accused of inflicting “unspeakable cruelty… on undocumented families arriving at the border, including separating children, some as young as eight months, from their parents.”
Clinton cites figures from the New York Times which make reference to 12,800 children separated from parents at the border: progress on stopping the approach and reuniting families has been slow to say the least, with a recent settlement - if ratified by a judge - finally set to allow affected parties to re-apply for asylum.
She also speaks of how Trump “barely responded” to the damage caused in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria, though the president appears to have now contested the official death toll despite his claims having no basis in reality.
However, Clinton goes into more detail on the five ways she believes the president has conducted what she describes as “an assault on our democracy”.
- “Assault on the rule of law”
- Bringing into question the legitimacy of elections
- “War on truth and reason”
- “Breathtaking corruption”
- An undermining of national unity
It’s not just about Russia
The spectre of Russian interference in the 2016 election comes up in the second of these points, but that’s not all of it - Clinton adds that “There’s voter suppression, as Republicans put onerous—and I believe illegal—requirements in place to stop people from voting.”
As for point three, she cites Washington Post figures referencing Trump’s average - that’s right, average - of 32 falsehoods per day during his time in office.
“When we can’t trust what we hear from our leaders, experts, and news sources, we lose our ability to hold people to account, solve problems, comprehend threats, judge progress, and communicate effectively with one another—all of which are crucial to a functioning democracy,” she writes.
Road to recovery
“He doesn’t seem to understand that public servants are supposed to serve the public, not the other way around,” Clinton continues, adding that “Trump doesn’t even try to pretend he’s a president for all Americans.”
She makes oblique reference to the “racial subtext” of many of the president’s comments, and calls for a high turnout at the midterms, which could see the Democrats regain control of Congress - and make an impeachment, in the wake of any findings from the Mueller probe, much more likely.
Given Trump’s general response to anything relating to Hillary Clinton - even in the months since defeating her in the presidential election - we can’t imagine he’ll take kindly to her article - there’ll inevitably be a tweet about ‘crooked Hillary’ coming within the next 24 hours.
However, based on his history with his former opponent, his response may well end up proving her right.