April 6, 2023


Trump's Indictment Bodes Well for Democracy : What separates democracies from autocracies is the ability to maintain the rule of law and hold the powerful to account. Regardless of the outcome, the trial of Donald Trump - the first of any US president - could one day be remembered as a turning point in the battle for democracy, in the US and abroad. (Terry Lynn Karl, Apr. 4th, 2023, Project Syndicate)

Like the US, Peru is also trying to hold senior political figures accountable. In the same week that Trump was indicted and Toledo's extradition was finalized, Peruvian prosecutors announced that they are investigating incumbent President Dina Boluarte and former President Pedro Castillo - also for alleged campaign finance violations during the 2021 presidential race. Every one of the six Peruvian presidents elected since 1990 is either in jail, has been in jail, or has faced a detention order.

Before his extradition was cleared, many Peruvians wrongly assumed that the US would protect Toledo, previously a visiting scholar at Stanford University (his alma mater) who had carefully cultivated a status as a democratic icon. (Stanford has since severed ties with Toledo, though individual professors may continue to support him however they wish). Similarly, many Americans also believed that Trump would never be charged and still doubt more indictments are in the works.

In both cases, the fair application of the law was essential. While the backgrounds, personalities, and partisan identities of the combative Trump and less confrontational Toledo could not be more different, they have adopted similar tactics to avoid due process. Both have claimed to be the victims of a politically motivated "witch hunt" and that their respective justice systems have been "weaponized" against them. Trump's supporters have argued that his indictment shows that the US is now a "banana republic," while Toledo claimed that Peru could no longer be considered an election-based system. [...]

Whereas Toledo's past as a champion of Peruvian democracy adds a layer of poignancy to his fall from grace, Trump has always been exceptionally dangerous. Having shifted from being merely an admirer of autocrats to running as an openly fascist candidate in the 2024 presidential election, Trump now presents a clear and present danger to democratic governance worldwide. Despite his extremist rhetoric and promotion of political violence, some opponents tend to attack him as a clownish con artist or an ignorant buffoon, focusing on his style rather than the substance of his message.

Posted by at April 6, 2023 7:29 AM