The Atlantic

The American 'Deep State,' as a Trump Voter Might See It

When unelected leaders confront illiberal ones

Source: Carlos Barria / Reuters

Rarely a day goes by without some lament of democracy’s decline in the United States. Sometimes, it’s even quantified, with one index declaring America a “flawed democracy” for the first time. Much of the hand-wringing is justified—and not just from the perspective of liberals or Democrats. Even Trump supporters would have to acknowledge that the deep ideological polarization engulfing the country, however much it helps their standard-bearer, is not particularly healthy.

Even as we fear for American democracy, or for American liberalism, there is

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