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Francis Wilkinson

Biden Won, But Democracy's Fate Is Still Uncertain

Even without Trump, the Republican Party’s authoritarian streak is as dangerous as ever.

Now the real fight begins.

Now the real fight begins.

Photographer: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America

The inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris last week will help to reset an unbalanced nation. But the armed camp in which they took their oaths is testament to the precarious state of democracy in America.

The loss of democratic muscle in the U.S. over the past four years has been precipitous. It wasn’t simply the election of a corrupt and incompetent demagogue to the presidency in 2016; the degradation was a group effort. Donald Trump’s presidency hatched from the extremism of the Republican Party, and the party, freed by Trump from pretensions of conservative disposition, accompanied his descent. The nadir, for now at least, was reached with the violent attempted coup at the Capitol on Jan. 6.