Kurt Weyland and Raul Madrid: Liberal Democracy Stronger Thank Populism, So Far

Kurt Weyland and Raul Madrid argue in The American Interest that Trump is not the threat to America’s liberal institutions that many fear.

Weyland and Madrid conclude: “In sum, international experiences suggest that President Trump lacks important preconditions that would allow him to win overwhelming support, relentlessly concentrate power, and undermine liberal democracy. Populist leaders like Berlusconi and Orbán, Fujimori and Chávez encountered open doors and unusual opportunities. By contrast, the U.S. President faces four sets of interlocking obstacles. Firm checks and balances limit his power. The unreliable backing of his own party prevents him from overriding these institutional and political constraints. Ideological polarization and the absence of an acute crisis restrict his mass support. For these reasons, he cannot make an end run, grab power, and weaken checks and balances, as Fujimori and Chávez did by convoking government-controlled constituent assemblies. By international comparison, President Trump confronts an unfavorable environment for establishing populist hegemony.”