The U.S. recently fell out of the rankings of democratic nations, and one expert worries that it will happen again — and tip the country into civil war.
Barbara Walter, a University of California professor and an expert on civil conflicts, recently wrote about the political volatility in the U.S. since the Jan. 6 insurrection, which dropped the country into the anocracy zone, and she told CNN the riot had made the deadly risks from Donald Trump’s lies “impossible to deny and ignore.”
“Anocracies are neither fully democratic nor fully autocratic; their citizens enjoy some elements of democratic rule (e.g., elections), while other rights (e.g., due process or freedom of the press) suffer,” Walter wrote for the Washington Post. “In the last weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, the respected Center for Systemic Peace (CSP) calculated that, for the first time in more than two centuries, the United States no longer qualified as a democracy. It had, over the preceding five years, become an anocracy.”
President Joe Biden’s peaceful inauguration moved the polity ranking back into the democratic zone, but Walter warned the threat remained, putting the U.S. at real risk of additional violence and instability, and Walter reacted with alarm when a CNN host showed her interviews with Trump supporters who refused to accept the former president had lost the election.
“Well, 10 years ago, [my reaction] would have been shock and disbelief,” Walter said. “I would have thought, ‘Well she’s an outlier and she’s not representative of anything larger than a fringe movement, maybe.’ But of course, that’s not the case anymore.”
Walter and others who study civil conflict have been sounding the alarm for years, but she said no one wanted to believe the risks, but she said Trump and his right-wing media allies have corroded trust in democracy itself — with already fatal results.
“Citizens do believe what they are hearing and if they hear it long enough and consistently enough and if that’s all they hear, they absolutely don’t think it’s a lie, they think it’s the truth,” Walter said.
“You know, they’re good people,” she added. “They are trying to do what they think is right. It’s the leadership that’s cynical. It’s the leadership that knows better who is feeding them lies consistently. They’re priming their supporters to believe that democracy isn’t worth defending because they don’t want democracy anymore.”
Civil war expert reacts to Trump supporter. See her warning for the USwww.youtube.com
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