Eli Merritt Featured In
The Curse of Demagogues: Lessons Learned from the Presidency of Donald J. Trump is a collection of thirty-two essays by twenty-two writers that makes the case that the pathway back to a healthy American democracy is for citizens, first, to understand demagogues and, second, to defend against them.
The book makes the story of Donald Trump’s rise to the White House coherent and understandable. Trump, a demagogue, gained ascendancy in a laissez-faire political culture wherein neither the Republican Party nor the other gatekeepers of democracy, including the news media, effectively counteracted him. Once in the highest office in the land, Trump devolved into authoritarianism in order to retain power, as demagogues are well-known to do.
To restore our democracy, we must defend it against demagogues by strengthening gatekeeping systems within political parties, the media, and the U.S. Congress (powers of impeachment, conviction, and disqualification from future office) and through vigorous civics, ethics, and media literacy education K-12 and beyond.
Prominent contributing writers include:
Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
Jeff Flake, former Republican U.S. senator
Barbara Comstock, former Republican U.S. congresswoman
Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times
Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic
Jesse Wegman, editor at The New York Times
Eric Posner, author of The Demagogue’s Playbook: The Battle for American Democracy from the Founders to Trump
Michael Signer, author of Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies
From the Essays
“There have been two occasions in American history when the fate of the republic was placed at risk. The first was the Civil War . . . The second was the Great Depression . . . We are currently on the cusp of a third serious challenge to our republican roots, which has emerged in the person of the first full-scale demagogue who was elected president . . . This is the chief reason why the looming election is the most important political event of our lifetime . . . This is an election to decide whether we wish to remain the American republic.”
JOSEPH J. ELLIS
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
“How many injuries to American democracy can my Republican Party tolerate, excuse and champion? It is elementary to have to say so, but for democracy to work one side must be prepared to accept defeat. If the only acceptable outcome is for your side to win, and a loser simply refuses to lose, then America is imperiled.”
Former Republican U.S. Senator
“My fellow Republicans, stop fearing this dangerous and diminished man.”
Former Republican U.S. Congresswoman
“The enemy of democracy is not a Democrat or Republican. It is a demagogue.”