Is America Becoming a Failed State?

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Media Outlet: New York Magazine

Heather Hurlburt wrote for New York magazine about pundit clichés: 

If Russia elected me America’s next president, I would move immediately to ban two pundit clichés: “America is a failing state” and “the solution is to put country before party.” Not because they’re lazy writing — though they are — but because they suggest the writer needs to get out and see the world. Instead of a travel ban, my platform would include forced international travel for pundits and political writers — to see how the troubles we’re having fit into democracy’s global discontents.

Yes, a president firing the FBI Director who is leading an investigation of his presidential campaign is deeply problematic. It suggests the rule of law is compromised. The appearance that Comey was fired to block or slow the FBI probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 elections — and prevent damage to the president’s administration and his allies — smacks of using national institutions for personal gain. Social scientists who study democracy highlight those as two big warning signs on the path to democratic collapse. So yes, you should be really worried. But no, we’re not there yet.


Heather Hurlburt is director of the New Models of Policy Change initiative at New America's Political Reform program.