For Democracy, Trump Is an 'Extinction-Level Event'
Andrew Sullivan thinks Plato had it right about tyranny
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2016 12:55 PM CDT
Updated May 2, 2016 1:59 PM CDT
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Fort Wayne, Ind.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(Newser) – In a cover story for New York, Andrew Sullivan offers up what might be the ultimate long-view look at Donald Trump's candidacy: Hearkening back to Plato's Republic, Sullivan makes the case that Trump is a threat to our very democracy and must be stopped. Plato thought democracies were especially susceptible to "tyranny" the longer they lasted and the more democratic they became, and the US seems to be in exactly the kind of "late-stage democracy" ripe for such a thing, writes Sullivan. Watching Trump's rise over the past year, it has been " increasingly hard not to see in Plato’s vision a murky reflection of our own hyperdemocratic times and in Trump a demagogic, tyrannical character plucked directly out of one of the first books about politics ever written." Sullivan concedes he may be "overreacting," but he warns that Republicans and Democrats must unite against Trump.

For Republicans, that likely means disowning their nominee and writing this election off "to save their country." Democrats, meanwhile, are dangerously misguided if they assume Hillary Clinton will beat Trump in a landslide, he warns. Looking to Europe, Sullivan writes that the "power of right-wing insurgency" has been underestimated all over the West in recent years. The stakes are too high to let it happen in America, argues Sullivan. Trump "is not just another candidate to be parsed and analyzed by TV pundits in the same breath as all the others," he writes. "In terms of our liberal democracy and constitutional order, Trump is an extinction-level event. It’s long past time we started treating him as such." (Click to read the full column.)