There are images that come to mind when we imagine a democracy's end. Democracies fall in coups and revolutions, burn in fires and riots, collapse amid war and plague. When they die, they die screaming. Not anymore, argue Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt in their new book, How Democracies Die. In most modern cases, "democracies erode slowly, in barely visible steps." They rot from the inside, poisoned by leaders who "subvert the very process that brought them to power." They are hollowed out, the trappings of democracy present long after the soul of the system is snuffed out ... Demagogues and authoritarians do not destroy democracies. It's established political parties, and the choices they make when faced with demagogues and authoritarians, that decide whether democracies survive.
The federal government shut down at midnight Friday as senators continued to scramble to reach a deal to fund the government. This is the first modern government shutdown with Congress and the White House controlled by the same party, and it comes on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration. Trump's White House however immediately blamed Democrats for the shutdown. ... "It's almost as if you were rooting for a shutdown," [Democratic Sen. Chuck] Schumer said from the Senate floor. "And now we will have one. And the blame should crash entirely on President Trump's shoulders. This will be called the Trump shutdown. This will be called the Trump shutdown because there is no one, no one, who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in than President Trump."