t is three months and a bit before the November election, and Donald Trump would appear to be a worried man. Trailing his Democrat challenger, Joe Biden, by almost 10 points in the polls, he has reintroduced his daily press conferences, moderated his tone (for how long?), and become an advocate of mask-wearing. He has also ordered hundreds of federal agents – as he argues – to bolster law and order in certain restive cities and states.
The positive poll news for the Democrats, though, has not been matched by increased confidence in their ranks, at least not among the fiercely anti-Trump chattering classes. They worry that Trump might try to “steal” the election – as, in their view, happened last time – or even refuse to accept defeat. Underlying these fears is a more profound apprehension about US politics in general, reflecting their bafflement that someone like Trump could have become president at all. Woe is us, they lament, US democracy is lost.
To which I would say: Cheer up, Americans! Your governments – federal and state – may not have been handling the coronavirus pandemic too well (then again, your health system was never going to be a strong point in a crisis), but your democracy is not nearly in as parlous a state as you seem to think. Or maybe it is just that the balance of pluses and minuses is clearer to those of us outside the fog of your political war.
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