CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICENov. 29, 2016 Fear of Trump’s authoritarianism ‘overblown’

Andrew Little, professor of government at Cornell University and expert on authoritarian regimes, says Trump’s authoritarian rhetoric – such as his recent Tweet suggesting he would revoke citizenship for flag burning – doesn’t translate into an imminent threat to American democracy.


Little says:

“Although some of Donald Trump’s rhetoric sounds familiar to those of us who study dictatorships, many of the concerns about the U.S. becoming more authoritarian under Trump are overblown.

“While Trump certainly threatened to do things we often see in authoritarian countries - like changing libel laws or jailing opponents and stripping them of their citizenship - he has already walked back on some of these, and others aren't actually determined on a federal level.

“I don’t see the core indicators that we use to determine whether a country is democratic or not changing in a significant way, such as whether electoral competition is open and fair, whether the media and courts are independent, and whether there are checks on executive power. Of course, it will be important to be vigilant if Trump threatens to actually make changes on these fronts.

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