America’s second president John Adams famously said: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
A bit rash, perhaps — and Adams was more philosopher than politician, a man given to bold statements.
More than two centuries after he said that, American democracy is still standing, still offering what another President, Abraham Lincoln, called the “last best hope of earth”.
But it is wobbling. Americans have lost faith in their democracy. It is a nation riven with tribal political warfare. Division and corrosive, hope sapping inequality.
It appears at times as a nation ungovernable.
It is not alone. Democracy is not dead but it is weakened. Freedom House, which measures the health of democracies globally, now counts 15 straight years of democratic…