In this thought-provoking collection of essays, these distinguished thinkers and theorists explore the lessons of history, how democracies crumble, how propaganda works, and the role of the media, courts, elections, and 'fake news' in the modern political landscape--and what the future of the United States may hold.
At least Can It Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America (Dey St., 481 pages, $17.99) frames the subject as a question rather than a conclusion. The book, edited by former Obama adviser Cass R. Sunstein, collects essays by scholars and journalists asking whether America may soon give up on democracy and plump for authoritarianism. Most entries are measured and civil in tone, although those that respond affirmatively concentrate almost exclusively on Mr. Trump’s statements rather than his actions.
As with any collection of essays on a common political topic, one can walk away from Sunstein’s powerful political anthology won over by the optimists or the pessimists. Different readers may be persuaded that things will work out for the best, that the situation is desperate and unraveling, or that this is, simply, a shameful but temporary experience that—if history is any indicator—we will come to regret and forget.