"American democracy has proven to be both sturdy and vulnerable."

This collection of previously published political opinion columns from 2019 through early 2022 examines how “Trump-era politics test four essential (and overlapping) principles of American democracy”: fidelity to the Constitution of the United States, respect for the rule of law, commitment to rational government, and the tradition of free and fair elections with a peaceful transfer of power. While author Cooper—an attorney and syndicated columnist—finds these violations of the core principles of American democracy “stunning,” he doesn’t spare any criticism for either the Republican party who supported Trump’s inflammatory behavior or Democrats who engaged in “over-reaction” and who cast “aside long-term considerations in pursuit of short-term political interests.” Cooper strongly decries partisan politics and the ongoing public political divide throughout his columns.

The author’s analysis of the American political landscape during this chaotic period is pertinent, and he succeeds in showcasing the foundational ideals of the American government in his writings. He does an excellent job of describing the “stress test” that America withstands as Trump continues to rally with his political base even as the January 6 House Committee holds private and public hearings to investigate the former president’s attempts to undermine the credibility of the 2020 election, culminating in what appears to be a seditious conspiracy to halt or delay the electoral vote count at the U.S. Capitol through violent confrontation. As readers compare their current vantage point and Cooper’s highly informed views from early 2022, some may feel that any former strong reactions to Trump may have been justifiable in hindsight.

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