view | Issue 2024: Democracy or Autocracy?

To the editor:

Regarding “Trump and Allies Seek Massive Increase in His Power” (front page, July 17):

Donald Trump, if elected next year, plans to revamp the administrative state, also known to conservatives as the deep state, also known to Mr. Trump as warmongers, globalists, “communists, Marxists and fascists,” and “the political class our country hates.”

Once revamped, this new country will be more under Trump’s control, without those pesky independent agencies he has no access to.

We had a country like that in the past, headed by King George III, and we decided we didn’t want that, which is why we have what are known as “checks and balances,” designed specifically to prevent the president from amassing too much power.

Are we really ready to replace “Hail the President” with “Hail the King”?

John T. Dillon
West Caldwell, NJ

To the editor:

If someone told Donald Trump that he’s just a tool of the Republican Party, they’d be furious. But it is a tool, and also a tool in the hands of the federal community and the Heritage Foundation and all the billionaires who stand to benefit from longstanding Republican beliefs, if they are implemented.

Back in the Nixon era, conservative Republicans would often say, “The best government is the least government.” During several Republican administrations there have been efforts to reduce the size and role of government. They sought a smaller IRS, so that the profits of the wealthy would not be audited, and reduced regulation by federal agencies, maximizing corporate profits that would otherwise be regulated, at the expense of the health and safety of American citizens.

Mr. Trump is a useful tool for Republicans, who hope he can normalize the debate about cutting back on government in a powerful executive. Even if another Republican is elected president in 2024, he will follow the Republican blueprint for executive power, and we can say goodbye to our basic experiment in democracy.

Ben Myers
Harvard, Massachusetts.

To the editor:

Supporters of the broader powers of re-elected President Donald Trump should keep in mind the adage “what goes happens.”

If Republicans succeed in expanding the powers of the executive branch of the president, those powers could easily be used and abused by a future liberal Democratic president.

Bert Ellie
Alexandria, Virginia.

To the editor:

This article about Donald Trump and his allies seeking a huge power surge for the president almost makes this anti-Trumper want to vote for him. What the article suggests Mr. Trump will do is long overdue. I just hope he shuts up and quits social media.

Tom Brown
Kansas City, Missouri.

To the editor:

Donald Trump said, “I have a Section 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President.” And this is a statement of intent as clear as Mussolini’s statement in 1936: “We do not argue with those who disagree with us, we destroy them.”

The common goal is to establish an autocracy. With his military henchmen, media allies, and anti-regulatory donors, Mr. Trump represents a clear threat to democracy, the rule of law, and any hope of fairness or equality.

This is the issue of 2024: democracy or tyranny?

Brian Kelly
Rockville Centre, New York

To the editor:

If people weren’t scared before, they should be after reading this. How did the outbreak come to the United States?

People of good conscience know what to do. Save our democracy! vote!

Alison Goodwin Chef
New York

To the editor:

Regarding “Trump Says He’s A Target In Special Counsel Investigation Of Capitol Attack” (News update,, July 18):

Donald Trump announced that he received notification Sunday that he is a target in the ongoing federal investigation into the Jan. 6 uprising that Special Counsel Jack Smith is conducting. Such notices are usually followed by an actual indictment.

This is huge news. It sounded like a lock that the Justice Department would bring charges against Mr. Trump for his flagrant mishandling of classified documents. But it was never certain that the evidence would be deemed sufficiently convincing to indict him on charges relating to the 6th of January.

In the past, it often seemed as if Mr. Trump was covered in an impenetrable layer of Teflon and nothing could breach that protective barrier. This, an indictment on charges he helped incite the January 6 insurrection in the Capitol, may be his final undoing.

It is not yet clear whether the news affects his status as a strong frontrunner in the Republican presidential race. But what seems certain is that it will erode his support in the 2024 general election if he is the Republican nominee, and help ensure that this man will never again be in the White House.

To the editor:

Regarding “Hysteria over Jayapal’s ‘Apartheid State’ Mishap,” by Michelle Goldberg (Column, July 18):

I am writing to thank Ms. Goldberg for drawing attention to an important point: Defenders of Israel must confront the fact that its policies are deeply destructive to the Palestinian people and ultimately to the State of Israel itself.

It is impossible to choose to oppress a people without implicate themselves morally. This is true of one human being and true of any country in our complex and conflicted world.

Unless Israel recognizes the humanity of the Palestinian people and changes its policies, it is doomed to fail by its own hand.

Maria Ceres Wexler
Northampton, Massachusetts.

To the editor:

Michel Goldberg’s thoughtful column makes no mention of why the Israeli people and government have shifted to the right. The Palestinians refuse to recognize the right of the Israeli nation to exist and have been lenient in preventing Palestinian attacks, including the killing of Israeli citizens.

Albert Marshak
Atlantic Beach, New York

To the editor:

Re “Who Pays Off Student Loans?” , by Laura Beamer and Marshall Steinbaum (guest opinion article, July 16):

Proposed policies to fund or defund public colleges based on student labor market outcomes will only reinforce the notion that colleges are career training institutions and will further harm liberal arts education in institutions that serve minorities and the working class.

Accumulating more students in debt will eventually hurt the economy when the debt-ridden former students can no longer afford cars or houses, marry, or have children.

We should reconsider how we compound interest on student loans, which forces former students to pay double or triple the principal amount of their loans as interest accumulates over time.

But in the broadest sense, we must rethink the entire system of higher education to see it as a public good rather than a privilege reserved for those who can afford it.

Max Hermann
Bloomfield, NJ
The writer is an Associate Professor of Sociology at New Jersey City University.

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