Andreas Schedler (Center for Economic Research and Teaching, Mexico)
"A Threat to Democracy? Donald Trump in Comparative Perspective"
at Campus Luigi Einaudi (Sala Lauree Rossa piccola)
Since his irruption into the 2016 presidential contest, Donald Trump has engendered intense public debate about him representing a “threat to democracy” and herewith forming part of a wider international trend of democratic subversion by illiberal leaders. In and by itself, this debate has been momentous, as it implied the end of democratic consolidation in the US. Despite its earthshaking nature, though, its theoretical bases have remained opaque and its normative and empirical bases unsystematic. This talk strives to address these shortcomings. It will explicate the underlying theory of democratic threat (“democracy needs democrats”), offer a comprehensive review of basic democratic norms, and assess Donald Trump’s normative breaches in the light of both comparative experience and comparative research. As it will argue, deep methodological and theoretical divergences separate the current debate on the vulnerability of US democracy from the comparative literature on democratic stability.