The global move from democracy to autocracy

The cover of the last issue of the leading German news magazine, Der Spiegel, was a vivid illustration, indicative of one view of Donald Trump that seems to be growing.

It showed a beaming Trump surrounded by Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping and Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the headline “Ich bin das volk,” followed by, “Das zeitalter der autokratenz” — “I am the people: The age of the autocrats.”

On Sunday, the Turkish people, in a nationwide snap election that saw an unprecedented 87% turnout, apparently have given their autocratic President another unprecedented mandate, though final returns won’t be available for some days.
Voters had already granted the President more power in a referendum just over a year ago.These two trips to the polls by Turkish voters confirmed that security and a thriving economy, despite some recent weakness, trump most traditional democratic values.
Many nations are beginning to shrug off their longstanding democratic exteriors .Globally, however, the drift toward strong leaders able to assure prosperity and security is a most dangerous challenge to American principles that have prevailed since the framing of our constitution more than two centuries ago.
In the United States, Trump’s attitude toward displaced refugee children — arguably the greatest and most toxic challenge yet to its hold on power — is the most immediate and vivid evidence that our leader does not champion any sort of effort for America to remain a shining beacon for nations aspiring to maintain or establish a democratic system of government.
Many fear that Donald Trump is leading America, and by extension large swaths of the world, toward a post-democratic system that no longer recognizes any form of traditional constitutional government.
“The appeal and superiority of constitutional democracy cannot be taken for granted,” I was told by Professor David Law of Washington University in St. Louis and The University of Hong Kong. “Many fear that constitutional democracy is under threat from democratic backlash and losing ground to illiberal constitutionalism.”
Vastly larger stretches of the world are more concerned about basics of food, housing and personal safety. For them, worrying about democracy takes a back seat to securing the necessities that will help them survive.