Donald Trump’s attempt to assign blame for his potential defeat is violating the most basic tenet of democracy: The willingness of one side to accept defeat at the polls and acknowledge the legitimacy of the winning side. That is something that candidates such as Richard Nixon in 1960 and Al Gore in 2000 did even when there were legitimate questions of election fraud. They realized that at some point pursuing their own ambitions would fray the very fabric of our democracy. Trump either doesn’t know that or doesn’t care.
American voters still favor an active U.S. role in the world but disagree more than they used to about how that role should be exercised. They are increasingly at odds about two big issue clusters—globalization and military intervention. These divisions will not keep a new president from trying to build bipartisan support for foreign policy, but the poll numbers are clear—the job is getting harder.
In the aftermath of the leaked tapes that showcase Donald Trump’s lewd comments on women, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon addresses the intersection of “how we see women; how we treat women; how we promote women; and whether or not we see them as people we respect or people we lunge for.”
Trump’s rhetoric at the debate was more dictator than leader of the free world. The grass-roots fervor for Trump suggests that the Republican Party may be beyond salvation — and that the republic itself could be in peril if in the future we see some demagogue who is smoother than Trump and devoid of his debilitating personal flaws.
As America prepared for the foreign-policy fireworks in Sunday night’s second presidential debate, a town hall format co-moderated by ABC News’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, columnists posed the questions they’d want to put to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—and why it’s so important that America’s next president have the answer. In no particular order, here are their toughest questions.
Why is Donald Trump within a whisker of the White House? Two-thirds of the country can’t even name the three branches of government. If we don’t revitalize civics education, we will be entrusting our future to people who know little to nothing of the way our government works. The way we are going, one of these days a Bernie Sanders or, heaven help us, a Donald Trump will not just be a candidate for president. He will actually become president, writes Max Boot.
This election year is memorable for many reasons but among the most important is showing Republicans the cost of their infatuation with “alternative” news sources. The right’s addiction to its own news has become destructive. Whether Trump wins or loses, conservatives need to re-evaluate their infatuation with “alternative” news sources that tell them what they want to hear and join a more mainstream conversation that includes different points of view.
Jonathan Tepperman discusses The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline, his new book about the world's most difficult, seemingly ineradicable problems—and the surprising stories of the countries that solved them.
Russia is more estranged from Europe and the United States than at any point since the end of the Cold War, and perhaps much longer ago than that. The president of Russia is simply a poor judge of the country’s interests, writes Stephen Sestanovich.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »