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Trump’s Republican Enablers Are Complicit in the State of Our Democracy

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Photo of President Trump in Lafayette Park
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I have not been one to argue that the United States under President Trump is on the verge of turning into a tyranny. But it is clear that, left to his own devices, Trump would act with little regard to law, precedent or the Constitution. As president, he has shown a willingness to shut down investigations into his conduct, offer pardons to those whose lawbreaking he approves of, and punish media organizations and social media platforms that are, in his mind, biased against him.

Even many of his supporters will privately say we need not worry about Trump because his excesses are always checked. But the American system does not work through magic. It needs its other leaders — judges, bureaucrats, generals and, above all, politicians — to speak out when they see blatant abuses of power. Some have done so — most recently senior military leaders — but one gaping hole remains. That is the one inside the president’s own party.

On Monday evening, in Lafayette Square, in the shadow of the White House, police in riot gear descended upon a peaceful protest — which is explicitly protected in the Constitution — and disbanded the demonstration using force and weaponry, including pepper balls, smoke canisters and rubber bullets. The protesters were not violating a curfew or committing acts of violence. The police used brute force on law-abiding citizens so that the president could stage a photo op holding a Bible in front of a church.

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