Democracy is a Work in Progress: Dr. Eli Merritt & “The Curse of Demagogues”

The John Howell Show


In this interview with host John Howell, Dr. Merritt discusses the book he edited entitled The Curse of Demagogues: Lessons Learned from the Presidency of Donald J. Trump. In the spirit of the book, he speaks out in favor of representative democracy with strong checks and balances at all levels of politics and government, critically including the presidential nominating system. He argues that it is the responsibility of each political party to counteract its own demagogues. More specifically, parties must empower delegates at national nominating conventions to block candidates who do not pass the fundamental limit test of constitutionalism. As he says in the interview, "No political party should ever put forth a candidate under any circumstances who is not fully committed to free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power." 

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LA Times Op-Ed: Trump’s Place in History? He is the Supreme American Demagogue

Richard French Live


In this segment Dr. Merritt speaks with Richard French, anchor of the Richard French Live nightly news program, about his Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times entitled "Trump’s Place in History? He is the Supreme American Demagogue." They discussed what future historians are going to say about Trump, namely that the forty-fifth president's fate in history books is to become first among the cast of dishonored political figures known as "demagogues." Compared with Trump, demagogues like Huey Long and Joseph McCarthy will become footnotes. Trump will be remembered as the first full-blown demagogue in the White House, one who incited seditious violence on the U.S. Capitol — and for little else. 

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Founding Fathers Quoted Often During Trump Impeachment Trials

Richard French Live


In this segment Dr. Merritt speaks with Richard French, anchor of the Richard French Live nightly news program, about his Op-Ed in the New York Times entitled "Would the Founders Convict Trump and Bar Him From Office?" They discussed themes of political courage and political cowardice in the U.S. Senate in the aftermath of Trump's acquittal on February 13, 2021. Most vitally, Dr. Merritt underscored the fundamental premise of the founders of the nation that ethical leadership is the glue that holds a constitutional republic together. The healing of our democracy will require the restoration of such ethical leadership. 


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Political Lessons of the American Revolution for Today

Nomiki Live


In this segment Dr. Merritt discusses his forthcoming book about the American Revolution, Disunion Among Ourselves, notably the grueling politics of the early Congress and the real risks in those founding years of disunion, separate confederacies, and civil war among the states. How did the founders overcome these centrifugal political forces and instead win the war and forge a longstanding constitutional republic based on principles of liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness? It was their capacity for transcending distrust and differences to higher purpose and higher ethics—but not only this. Crisis, that is, the alternative of breaking apart into warring separate confederacies, forcibly united them. In this way, crisis and fear of disunion combined with their abilities to cooperate and compromise to preserve a single American constitutional republic. 

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When a Loved One Commits Suicide

Michael Krasny's Forum

KQED/National Public Radio

Michael Krasny’s Forum hosted Dr. Merritt as part of a group discussion on depression, suicide, suicide risk, and coping with grief. He discussed the loss of his mother to suicide when he was a six-year-old child and how it later inspired him to enter the field of psychiatry on a quest for understanding. That quest culminated in Dr. Merritt's publication of book, "Suicide Risk in the Bay Area: A Guide for Families, Physicians, Therapists, and Other Professionals," and a lifelong dedication to educating patients, families, health professionals, and the general public about suicide prevention.  

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Finding Pathways

KCBS Radio 106.9 FM


Just ahead of National Suicide Prevention Week, Dr. Merritt appeared as a co-host with KCBS radio reporter and producer Keith Menconi in an effort to to raise awareness about mental health stigma and the hope of recovery from mental illness. He discussed his book "Suicide Risk in the Bay Area: A Guide for Families, Physicians, Therapists & Other Professionals" against the backdrop of five Bay Area stories of neighbors helping neighbors to overcome mental health challenges. Dr. Merritt provided practical advice for how to start difficult conversations about mental illness and how to navigate the Bay Area’s fragmented mental health care system.

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The Complexities of Suicide Risk

About Health, KPFA 94.1 FM

Dr. Merritt appeared on About Health on KPFA radio with Dr. Esme Shaller and host Rona Renner, RN. Dr. Merritt’s overall message was one of hope: Depression is a treatable illness. He explained how healthy grief proceeds therapeutically to become free of trauma and shame to restore health. A person with depression is not at fault for his or her illness. With persistence and the right care, no matter the degree of biological underpinnings, depression can be transformed into healthy grief free of trauma, shame, guilt, and fear in all cases.

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Pieces of Peace


Susan Santiago’s Pieces of Peace featured an hour-long interview with Dr. Merritt. Over the course of the interview, Dr. Merritt discussed his book "Suicide Risk in the Bay Area: A Guide for Families, Physicians, Therapists, and Other Professionals," including its core themes relating to suicide prevention, suicide stigma, today’s mental health landscape, and approaches to recovery. His main message was "Talk About It." Talking about suicide risk with family members, patients, and colleagues helps to remove the stigma of depression and the stigma of suicidal thoughts and feelings. Healing comes from relationships and "deep emotional talking about it." 

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