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After news first broke about the revelations in Bob Woodward's new book, "Rage," President Trump's numbers dipped slightly but quickly recovered.
Sep 17 2020
Sarat is associate provost, associate dean of the faculty and a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College.
<p>This month's revelations about how President Trump downplayed the coronavirus pandemic to journalist Bob Woodward seemed to foretell a political earthquake. Commentators and pundits <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-09-13/bob-woodward-rage-trump-tapes-column" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">argued</a> that even for someone who lies as regularly as the president, his duplicity concerning Covid-19 was in a different and much more damaging category — with some <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-woodward-coronavirus-tapes-fox-news-hosts-defend-2020-9" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">calling it</a> "disastrous." </p><p>Yet the earthquake has not materialized and the disaster for Trump seems to have been averted. </p><p>The Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll of the president's approval ratings found that in the days after Sept. 8 — when news first broke about what Trump told Woodward for his new book, "Rage" — the number <a href="https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/trump_approval_index_history" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">dipped slightly but quickly recovered</a>. It actually improved a bit in the first two weeks of the month, from 47 percent to 51 percent. And a FiveThirtyEight polling analysis also indicates that, despite the commentariat's outrage, <a href="https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Trump has not paid a political price</a> for his duplicity or its dramatic cost in American lives.</p> <p><p style="text-align: center;" id="sufn"><a style="font-weight: bold;margin:40px auto;font-size:2rem" href="https://thefulcrum.us/st/newsletters">Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter </a></p></p><p>What explains this relative indifference to the revelations? And what does that indifference tell us about the state of our democracy?</p> <p>Part of the explanation is specific to the Trump presidency, but part has to do with what Americans generally expect of their political leaders.</p> <p>Deception and dishonesty were part of the Trump brand <a href="https://qz.com/1428493/trump-organizations-four-steps-for-misleading-real-estate-investors/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">long before he entered politics</a>. And since he became president Trump has succeeded in numbing the public to them. </p> <p>A Quinnipiac poll in May <a href="https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=3661" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">found</a> that 62 percent of the public did not think the president is honest. That number has <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/04/voters-have-become-numb-to-each-new-trump-scandal.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">not been below</a> 52 percent since Trump took office. As Mark Mellman, a Democratic political operative puts it, "People have concluded that he's a liar. He lies every day. People know it."</p> <p>It is no different when it comes to the pandemic. In July, 64 percent of the respondents to an ABC/Washington Post poll said <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/deep-skepticism-trumps-coronavirus-response-endures-poll/story?id=72974847" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">they did not trust</a> anything the president said about the pandemic.</p> <p>Learning the president lied about the coronavirus has as much impact on many citizens as would the proverbial "dog bites man" story. </p> <p>Indeed, his dishonesty is <a href="https://www.vox.com/2017/7/10/15928438/fact-checks-political-psychology" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">part of what some of his supporters like about him</a>. </p><p>Trump understands that they take pleasure in his flaunting of conventional norms like honesty and truthfulness. That is why he lies so openly and brazenly.</p> <p>But some explanation for why the Woodward story didn't move the needle has to do less with Trump than with Americans' general beliefs and expectations about lying in everyday life and in politics.</p> <p>Research suggests that while people may praise truth-telling in the abstract, their behavior tells a different story. A 1996 study of college students found <a href="https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.597.8906&rep=rep1&type=pdf" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">they told around two lies a day</a>. While members of the community in which their school was located told fewer falsehoods, they nonetheless confessed to telling a lie in one of every five interactions with someone else. And a national study in 2010 concluded Americans <a href="https://msu.edu/~levinet/Serota_etal2010.pdf" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">tell an average 1.7 lies daily</a>.</p> <p>Americans lie and <a href="about:blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">expect to be lied to by others</a>. Living with deception and falsehood is <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Lying-Moral-Choice-Public-Private/dp/0375705287" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">just a fact of life</a>. Some lies that we live with seem trivial, hardly worthy of note. But some are not so easily dismissed. They make a difference in business, commerce and personal relationships.</p> <p>In our daily lives we reject the philosopher Immanuel Kant's <a href="https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577415.001.0001/acprof-9780199577415" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">injunction</a> that lying is always morally wrong, and we appear to disregard the Biblical commandment to tell the truth. By and large, we do not regard honesty or truth telling as virtues in themselves. </p> <p>Americans take a <a href="https://www.pdcnet.org/scholarpdf/show?id=intstudphil_1984_0016_0003_0035_0057&pdfname=intstudphil_1984_0016_0003_0035_0057.pdf&file_type=pdf" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">pragmatic view of lying</a> and use it for what they regard as good causes.</p> <p>What is true in private life is also true when it comes to what we expect from politicians. While surveys suggest most Americans <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/30/partisans-agree-political-leaders-should-be-honest-and-ethical-disagree-whether-trump-fits-the-bill/" target="_blank">view it as essential</a> for people in public life to be honest and ethical, they do not believe politicians live up to that standard. </p> <p>So, politics and dishonesty go together in the public mind. As a result, while Americans <a href="http://firehousestrategies.com/exclusive-swing-state-voter-study/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axiosam" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">recognize</a><a href="http://firehousestrategies.com/exclusive-swing-state-voter-study/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axiosam" target="_blank"> that Trump is dishonest</a>, they don't think he's much worse than other politicians.</p> <p>Indeed, it seems Americans have a worldly, not Sunday school, view of truth and lying in politics. They recognize, as political theorist Hannah Arendt once <a href="https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/15/lying-in-politics-hannah-arendt/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">wrote</a>, that "truthfulness has never been counted among the political virtues, and lies have always been regarded as justifiable tools in political dealings."</p> <p>Arendt understood that democracy does not depend on a world of truth. It can survive lying and liars. The test of any deception must be whether citizens, after the fact, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/magazine/15wwln_lede-t.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">would consider themselves better off as a result of it</a>.</p><p>"In politics, hypocrisy and doublespeak are tools," Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/opinion/campaign-stops/why-hillary-clinton-needs-to-be-two-faced.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">declared a few years ago</a>. "They can be used nefariously, illegally or for personal gain, as when President Richard Nixon denied Watergate complicity, but they can also be used for legitimate public purposes, such as trying to prevent a civil war, as in Lincoln's case, or trying to protect American prestige and security, as when President Dwight D. Eisenhower denied that the Soviet Union had shot down a United States spy plane."</p> <p>One has to ask whether Trump's lies, which appear to have the sole purpose of benefiting himself, can be equated with those by Lincoln or Eisenhower. And one has to wonder whether his habitual lying and endless dishonesty has potentially a far more corrosive effect than his predecessors' deceptions in times of national crisis.</p> <p>Democracy cannot survive and prosper if our political leaders <a href="https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/30/15631710/trump-bullshit" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">deny</a> that there are things that are true and things that are false — or assert that the difference between truth and falsity does not matter at all. It is <a href="https://www.sss.ias.edu/files/pdfs/Walzer/Political-action.pdf" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">endangered</a> if leaders lie to citizens without guilt or shame. </p> <p>The threat Trump poses to our democracy is not just that he tells lies, even when they are as consequential as those he told about the severity of the coronavirus, but that he lies in ways that undermine the foundations of democracy itself.</p>
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Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Jul 08 2020
Sarat is a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College.
<p>This week the Supreme Court did something that in recent years has become extraordinary: It issued a unanimous decision in a high-profile case — and also the one getting the most attention from those worried about our dysfunctional democracy this year.</p><p>The unanimity aside, however, the ruling was much ado about an important but relatively narrow flaw in the system. And it obscured some serious and continuing worries about the court, the current political climate and our electoral democracy.</p><p>The court said states could impose penalties on so-called faithless electors. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia require members of the Electoral College to pledge they will vote for the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in their jurisdiction. </p><p>A faithless elector is one who violates that pledge and claims the right to substitute personal judgment in casting electoral votes. However, 16 states and D.C. impose no penalties on such electors for violating their promise. And most have no way of preventing an elector from acting in such a manner. The laws of five states provide a financial penalty, and 13 allow a wayward vote to be cancelled.</p><p><p style="text-align: center;" id="sufn"><a style="font-weight: bold;margin:40px auto;font-size:2rem" href="https://thefulcrum.us/st/newsletters">Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter </a></p></p><p>In the whole history of the country, there have been just 180 faithless electors out of more than 23,000 votes cast. But the outcomes in five previous elections, and as recently as 2000, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/us/electoral-college-supreme-court.html?action=click&module=Alert&pgtype=Homepage" target="_blank">could have been changed</a> by a swing of only 10 electors. </p><p>Four years ago, 10 of them <a href="https://www.fairvote.org/faithless_electors" target="_blank">voted or attempted to vote</a> for a candidate different from the person to whom they were pledged. Eight were Democrats. Two were Republicans. </p><p>Some voted for Colin Powell for president and hoped to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/19/us/elections/electoral-college-results.html" target="_blank">encourage</a> an Electoral College rebellion in states won by Donald Trump. They wanted others to follow their example and deny him an electoral vote majority. Washington fined one $1,000 and Colorado replaced another on the state's electoral college slate.</p><p>Such efforts are mere band-aids on a larger wound -- one that requires far more serious attention. </p><p>The decision in <a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/19-465_i425.pdf" target="_blank">Chiafalo v. Washington</a> remedied the problem of electors who would cast ballots according to whim. But it is not much of a victory for democracy, nor does it correct the Supreme Court's anti-democratic record over the past 15 years under Chief Justice John Roberts. </p><p>During oral argument, the electors' lawyers made the rather strange <a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/19-465_c0n2.pdf" target="_blank">argument</a> that instructing members of the Electoral College to vote in a particular way, and penalizing them for using their own judgment, were incompatible with democratic values.</p><p>Justice Elena Kagan decisively repudiated that argument in her majority opinion. She noted that in long-established democratic practice "presidential electors became trusty transmitters of other people's decisions." That "reflects a tradition more than two centuries old," she wrote. "In that practice, electors are not free agents; they are to vote for the candidate whom the state's voters have chosen." </p><p>She said the <a href="https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendment/amendment-xii" target="_blank">12th Amendment</a>, which has governed the presidential election process since 1804, "embraced this new reality— both acknowledging and facilitating the Electoral College's emergence as a mechanism not for deliberation but for party-line voting." </p><p>And she concluded that this reality accords not only with the Constitution but also "with the trust of a nation that here, We the People rule."</p><p>This encomium to popular sovereignty and Monday's ruling do not mean that the Supreme Court will now provide needed help in the urgent work of defending our electoral process. </p><p>Patching defects in the Electoral College cannot compensate for the Roberts Court's string of decisions that compounded the already serious problems confronting the American political system. Included in that list are <a data-linked-post="2636209592" href="https://thefulcrum.us/citizens-united" target="_blank">Citizens United v. FEC</a>, which <a href="https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/558/310/#tab-opinion-1963051" target="_blank">opened the door</a> in 2010 to big money influence in elections; <a data-linked-post="2636706724" href="https://thefulcrum.us/shelby-county-v-holder" target="_blank">Shelby County v. Holder</a>, which in 2013 <a href="https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/570/529/#tab-opinion-1970752" target="_blank">gutted</a> the protections afforded by the 1965 Voting Rights Act; and Ruchio v. Common Cause, last year's <a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/18-422_9ol1.pdf" target="_blank">turning back</a> of all challenges in federal court to partisan gerrymandering. </p><p>As District Judge Lynn Adelman recently <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3540318" target="_blank">noted</a>, the Roberts Court's "hard right majority is actively participating in undermining American democracy."</p><p>Much needs to be done to translate Kagan's words about popular rule into a meaningful program for repairing and restoring our democracy. </p><p>That work starts by addressing the looming problems of the 2020 election, from <a href="https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/block-the-vote-voter-suppression-in-2020/" target="_blank">voter suppression</a> to the absence of <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/30/politics/what-matters-may-29/index.html" target="_blank">vote by mail</a> options in many states. And given this nation's <a href="https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2019/07/30/2020-partisan-divide-austin-sarat" target="_blank">deep political divisions</a>, action needs to be taken to prevent supporters of the losing candidate from trying to get enough electors to deviate from the popular vote to throw the election to the candidate who lost that vote. </p><p>Scholars and commentators are already contemplating such <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975" target="_blank">doomsday scenarios</a>. They point to the very real prospect that Trump may lose and yet try to cling to power. One scenario highlights the possible effort to get Republican-controlled legislatures to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/17/us-election-2020-rogue-electors-supreme-court" target="_blank">appoint</a> Republican electors in states carried by former Vice President Joe Biden.</p><p>Legislatures must act expeditiously to forestall such efforts. The 18 states that do not now require their electors to pledge to vote for the popular vote winner should do so before November. States which do not impose any penalty for non-compliance should do so as well. </p><p>However, neither the faithless elector decision nor those reforms addresses the fundamental problems of the Electoral College itself, including its association with <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/11/electoral-college-racist-origins/601918/" target="_blank">the defense of slavery</a> and with an anti-democratic strain of American politics. As George Mason of Virginia, one of its early defenders, <a href="https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_717.asp" target="_blank">explained</a>, the Electoral College was needed because the people did not "have the requisite capacity to judge the respective pretensions of the candidates."</p><p>It is time to repudiate that view and <a href="https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/supreme-court-unanimously-rules-states-may-require-presidential-electors-be-faithful" target="_blank">close</a> the Electoral College. As former South Bend., Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/448510-buttigieg-doubles-down-on-scrapping-electoral-college-its-undemocratic" target="_blank">observed</a> during his presidential campaign, "Most Americans, of any party, ought to be able to get on board with the idea that one person, one vote, counting equally, is the fairest way to choose our president."</p>
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Jun 19 2020
Sarat is a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College.
<p>The country has been consumed with a pandemic, an economic collapse and an uprising in the name of racial justice. But instead of rising to the challenge of addressing these colossal problems, President Trump has <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/06/02/coronavirus-religious-freedom-worship-restrictions-social-distancing-column/5307600002/" target="_blank">helped make</a> freedom of religion a battlefront in the fight to stop the spread of Covid-19 and in the response to the killing of George Floyd.</p> <p>He has played politics with religion in a way that damages America's democratic norms and practices.</p><p>In March, Trump <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/24/trump-wants-to-restart-economy-by-mid-april-146398?fbclid=IwAR1d8He_SBouCqDFZ6ieD-OChs14Oj1Om2zuXVv_JvsOSXkc-CkzkqC9Rrs" target="_blank">called for the reopening</a> of the national economy and places of worship by Easter, citing the symbolic significance of the Christian holiday.</p> <p>In April, he <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/trump-tells-religious-leaders-we-re-going-beat-plague-n1179586" target="_blank">met with conservative religious leaders</a> and praised evangelical minister Franklin Graham for <a href="https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/apr/6/franklin-graham-coronavirus-man-has-turned-his-bac/" target="_blank">declaring the coronavirus</a> "is a result of a fallen world, a world that has turned its back on God."</p> <p>In May, the president highlighted the political dimension of his religious messaging when <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-pushes-cdc-reopening-churches-guidance-important-nations/story?id=70832055" target="_blank">he said</a> churches "are not being treated with respect by a lot of the Democrat governors." Playing to the fault lines of America's culture wars, he also <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/22/trump-churches-essential-coronavirus-274763" target="_blank">criticized officials</a> who have "deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship." </p> <p><p style="text-align: center;" id="sufn"><a style="font-weight: bold;margin:40px auto;font-size:2rem" href="https://thefulcrum.us/st/newsletters">Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter </a></p></p><p>And then on June 1, after tear gas and brute force moved peaceful protesters out of his way, the president walked from the White House to St. John's Church so he could be photographed awkwardly holding a Bible. That provoked a firestorm of <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/02/trumps-use-bible-was-obscene-he-should-try-reading-words-inside-it/" target="_blank">criticism</a>, but little of it focused on the ramifications for American democracy of a president's political use of religion during a national crisis. </p> <p>Wariness about that kind of mixing of religion and politics has been a critical component of America's democratic experiment right from the start. </p> <p>It is <a href="https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment" target="_blank">enshrined</a> in the First Amendment's prohibition of the "establishment of religion" and its guarantee of religious liberty, and in the clause of the Constitution specifying that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust." </p> <p>It also marked George Washington's presidency. His speeches <a href="https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-george-washington-on-religion-politics-02032017-story.html" target="_blank">contained</a> many references to an "Almighty Being," or "the Benign Parent of the human race." Yet, believing it to be a danger to democracy, Washington opposed merging religion and public life. </p> <p>Since then, American presidents have been more or less open about <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/20/almost-all-presidents-have-been-christians/" target="_blank">their religious beliefs</a> — and their commitment to separating religion and politics. </p> <p>Theodore Roosevelt offered one of the most explicit examples in 1908. "To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church," he <a href="https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1908/11/09/p/1" target="_blank">told supporters</a> who wanted to make a campaign issue of his opponent's religion, "is an outrage against the liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life."</p> <p>Confronting such bigotry a half century later, John F. Kennedy, campaigning to be the first Roman Catholic president, <a href="https://www.wbur.org/news/2017/05/25/kennedy-catholicism-presidential-campaign" target="_blank">assured voters</a> that "I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me."</p> <p>Amid such cautions, religious leaders for much of the 20th century <a href="https://www.baylorpress.com/9781602589650/rhetoric-religion-and-the-civil-rights-movement-1954-1965/" target="_blank">played key roles</a> in various movements seeking to build a more equal and inclusive society — just as they had a century earlier in the struggle against slavery. </p> <p>Yet today the politicization of religious differences is much greater, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-black-activism-lost-its-religion/2015/09/18/2f56fc00-5d6b-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_story.html" target="_blank">complicating</a> faith communities' efforts to avoid partisan entanglements. Polarization and tribalism <a href="https://theconversation.com/extreme-political-polarization-weakens-democracy-can-the-us-avoid-that-fate-105540" target="_blank">now dominate</a> American politics and have taken on a religious flavor.</p> <p>A 2016 survey uncovered <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/23/u-s-religious-groups-and-their-political-leanings/" target="_blank">stark partisan differences</a> among members of different religious groups. It found that the Democratic Party <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/22/politics/religion-gap-republican-democratic-voters-polling/index.html" target="_blank">attracts voters</a> from various spiritual backgrounds, while the Republican Party is an increasingly theological party, dominated by white evangelicals. </p> <p>And not only do adherents of different religions align themselves with different parties these days; they treat one another as enemies who threaten their faith.</p> <p>Many Democrats see what they call <a href="https://morningconsult.com/2019/04/02/roughly-half-the-electorate-views-christian-nationalism-as-a-threat/" target="_blank">Christian "nationalism"</a> as antithetical to "the vital interests of the country." In turn, some Christian leaders <a href="https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/democrats-are-treating-people-of-faith-like-criminals" target="_blank">describe</a><a href="https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/democrats-are-treating-people-of-faith-like-criminals" target="_blank"> contemporary Democratic leaders</a> as the "greatest threat to the free exercise of religion in American history" because they are "attacking the foundation of America's goodness."</p> <p>The institutions of democracy are <a href="http://fs2.american.edu/dfagel/www/class%20readings/weber/politicsasavocation.pdf" target="_blank">endangered</a> by such intense religious entanglements and deep religious chasms, because they are ill-equipped to resolve conflicts over life's ultimate questions. Moreover, respect for procedure and the spirit of compromise that democracy requires cannot thrive when each side in a political debate sees the other as a danger to their deepest values.</p> <p>This is the context in which the president's stoking of religious animosities has occurred. It helps explain why Trump's photo op two weeks ago was so significant. </p> <p>The event's iconography intensified polarization and endangered democracy. And it suggested an alarming presidential point of view: People protesting police brutality and systemic racism, in the aftermath of Floyd's death under the knee of a Minneapolis officer, were like the Democratic governors Trump has reviled for refusing to open churches during the pandemic. They would defile religion if not contained — despite the fact that some of the people forcibly removed from the area were parishioners of the very church where the president posed. </p> <p>By politicizing religion throughout this period of pandemic and protest, Trump is <a href="https://theconversation.com/trumps-use-of-religion-follows-playbook-of-authoritarian-leaning-leaders-the-world-over-140050" target="_blank">following the lead</a> of authoritarian leaders in other nations by using "religion to reinforce his image as a strongman defending a particular brand of tradition against infidels."</p> <p>James Madison <a href="https://billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/primary-source-documents/the-federalist-papers/federalist-papers-no-10/" target="_blank">alerted</a> Americans to the threat that mixing religion and politics would pose for their fledgling democracy. "A zeal for different opinions concerning religion," he wrote in 1787, "divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good." </p> <p>The warning rings true today: To use religion to divide Americans is to fail to "cooperate for their common good." If Trump genuinely wishes to build on religious precepts in a way that does not damage democracy, he would do well to heed the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself.</p>
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