For most Americans, having a president who poses a direct threat to democracy is uncharted, perilous territory. But it’s useful to remember that other societies have dealt with the same challenges in the recent past. To truly understand the gravity of the threat we face, it’s helpful to turn abroad — to talk to people who have seen democracy in their own country crumble.
Serbian journalist Stevan Dojčinović is just such a person. The editor-in-chief of the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network in Belgrade, he, along with his reporters, has doggedly documented corruption and lawlessness in the Serbian government — an elected regime that, according to international watchdogs, has worked hard to undermine the fairness of the political system and freedom of the press.
“We were kind of building democracy for 12 years, and now we are in the process of going backward,” he tells me.
While America is not yet as bad off as Serbia, Dojčinović sees warning signs that America could go down the same road. In particular, he says, President Trump has the same willingness to abuse his position — cultivating a captive media, enriching himself and his family — that characterizes the current Serbian government.