For a good while, like many politically naive people, I thought Trump himself was the issue. In retrospect, that would have been an almost charming situation, downright easy to undo compared to what I now believe is the reality - the utter corruption of the Republican Party; corruption to the point of subverting the American democratic process, and thus by implication, subverting American democracy itself. Today’s Republicans have amply demonstrated that their overarching goal is fundamentally at odds with such a process and system: they seek to seize unfettered control of the US’s social and political decision-making, and retain it everlastingly. It is a goal that would seem to be precisely the opposite of what the Founders intended.
I will not provide cites but am thinking of things such as weaponized-gerrymandering, federal judge stacking, but most especially, what’s gone on in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Sadly (to this Canadian), I believe it’s a fait accompli. Accompli at least for several generations. And, of course, it’s not become this way only in the US but in many places around the Globe where ‘liberal democracy’ had once taken some hold (although, for their own reasons, these non-US excursions into ‘illiberal democracy’ may be more likely to have a shorter lifespan than the one that seems to be unfolding in the US).
For those in the US who still treasure above all other political beliefs what I’ll call the 'basic tenets of a liberal democracy’ - those that stem from the fundamental conviction that all citizens are equal - the only course of action may be to relocate (if not retreat) to to a state where such beliefs still hold and are likely to continue to hold for decades. An admittedly odious prescription for anyone sick in a red state.
The point remains though, that individual US states (i.e. each state’s citizens) have considerable latitude in how they structure and support their societies (recognizing of course that such latitude does not and cannot extend to all aspects of society, e.g. various aspects of ‘gun rights’, foreign policy, trade, etc.,).
I only read recently of how US Supreme Court Justice Lewis Brandeis characterized the American states as “laboratories of democracy”. Indeed, it is in the states that the vital spirit of American democracy - the vision that earlier generations held and that held earlier generations together - must now incubate and renew. There is a certain irony, a comfort perhaps, in realizing how, in the end, ‘states rights’ was the issue, after all. But irony and comfort aside, I see no other solution to the current US social civil war.
(Until about eight weeks ago, I had been away from the Board for pretty much the whole of the Trump presidency (and the campaign). So, I may well have missed earlier discussion of, what seems to me, to be the pressing issue of the day - the future conception and implementation of American democracy. Apologies in advance, then, to those whose earlier thoughts I have missed (and also to those who would have had me frame things as an explicit debate).