How Dead Democracy Might Look

It might have the same Constitution we have now, the same three branches of government, the same “checks and balances,” the same Bill of Rights. Everything might look the same on paper, but it would function as prescribed in the authoritarian playbook. This has happened not just in Russia and China, but in countries like Brazil and Hungary. It will happen in France if right-wing extremist Marine Le Pen wins the election this weekend. It will happen in the United States if Trump, or someone out of the same mold, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, becomes president in January 2025. In a dead democracy, as Jennifer Rubin writes, democracy can be reduced to “an empty formality without the institutions and values to protect dissent, pluralism and basic human rights.”