We’ll miss it when it’s gone: The assault on –and the fight to save– democracy in the United States today

  • Jeff Kelly Lowenstein Grand Valley State University, United States
  • Danny Postel New Lines Magazine, United States
Keywords: democratic rights, Trumpism, autocracy, post-fascism, social mobilization, non-state armed groups, fake news


This article examines the sweeping assault on democratic rights in the United States today, the far-reaching impact of Donald Trump’s presidency and development of «permanent Trumpism» on American political culture, and the activist mobilization against these forces. The authors discuss the growing alarm among scholars of democracy about the increasing «autocratization» of US politics and the «Orbanization» of the Republican Party. They examine how these dynamics are playing out at the local level, with a focus on the «swing» state of Michigan. They look at the growth of armed White Power groups and the turn to political violence in the US. They analyze the proliferation of conspiratorial claims (such as the assertion that the 2020 election was stolen) and the mainstreaming of far-right ideas (such as the «Great Replacement») via a right-wing media ecosystem that increasingly sustains a parallel epistemic universe. The authors map out the apparatus of election theft that is setting the stage for another coup attempt, and various measures designed to make it more difficult to vote. They review the scholarly debate about the nature of Trumpism. Finally, they discuss the growing resistance to Trumpism and various forms of organizing to defend democracy and defeat authoritarianism.

Received: 11 July 2022 
Accepted: 23 November 2022


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How to Cite
Lowenstein, Jeff Kelly, and Danny Postel. 2022. “We’ll Miss It When it’s Gone: The Assault on –and the Fight to save– Democracy in the United States Today”. Deusto Journal of Human Rights, no. 10 (December), 103-31. https://doi.org/10.18543/djhr.2624.