Dictators consolidate power only if they control the administration of the law.

We were relieved when Bill Barr, an “institutionalist,” was appointed Attorney General. We now know Barr is just one more Trump enabler.

The rule of law undergirds democratic institutions — institutions designed to protect the public against the dangers inherent to both dictatorial authoritarianism and majoritarian “populism:”

• bias against and scapegoating of religious, racial and ethnic minorities;

• neglect of the vulnerable;

• rank political opportunism and consolidation of anti-democratic power;

• restrictions on and control over the free press;

• xenophobia and jingoism;

• abuse of power by elites;

• conflicts of interest on the part of elected officials.

Trump displays dictatorial impulses and mocks the rule of law. This amoral operator continually has conned, manipulated and coerced his way to “the top”.

Steven Levetsky’s and Daniel Ziblatt’s “How Democracies Die” offers a very disturbing take on the current state of western democracy. One of the book’s most chilling insights: The “people” have never turned back a nation’s drift toward authoritarianism. Only political parties have done so — and they have done so only when a conservative party, recognizing the threat from the radical right, has joined with a liberal party to counter a rising authoritarian tide.

Are there any Republican legislators who have the courage to counter their party’s authoritarian Trumpublican turn?

Ed Sullivan, Lima


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