In pondering the question, how should Christians vote, I remember catching wind of an email circulating back in 2012. It was from a concerned Christian regarding the up and coming presidential election. She urged her fellow Christians not to vote for the current President, Barack Obama, nor his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney. Neither were true Christians, she argued, and, therefore, both were disqualified to hold the office. Obama didn’t seem to exercise any Christian conviction whatsoever (with this I agree), and Romney was a Mormon (enough said). Many Christians, however, did support Mitt Romney (myself included) but not enough to give him victory. And, so, here we are 4 years later.
And, as you may know, controversy has arisen again with Donald Trump’s candidacy. Despite his shortcomings, he seems to be appealing to a large majority of evangelical voters (myself included).
John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, lamented,
The late Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. would be rolling over in his grave if he knew the son who bore his name had endorsed the most immoral and ungodly man to ever run for President of the United States… 1
I’ll get to Falwell’s well-reasoned response later in this article, but this is likely a good sampling of arguments going on in the church today. At the very least, the above reveals 2 things: Christians are very concerned about the topic of voting and very divided. The State can affect the Church and our interests in many ways. Ultimately, we trust the sovereignty of God, but, as far as it depends on us, we want to be wise in accordance with biblical wisdom.
In this article, we’ll tackle this issue of Christian voting guidelines. How should Christians vote? Should Christians vote at all? Should Christians vote only for other Christians? Should we prefer Christians over non-Christians? Is there a doctrinal test for government officials? Is there a moral/decency test?
Note: This article is not intended to support or make the case for any particular candidate. I’ve expressed my personal leanings for Trump for full disclosure (mainly because I hate when others don’t do that), but the purpose of this piece is to merely attempt to lay out some biblical guidelines. In the end, it’s between the individual and God. Test all things (1Th. 5:21). Let each one be convinced in his own mind (Rom. 14:5).
Origins of Government
As is fitting for a Genesis website, the best place to start is at the beginning. What is the origin of government? When did it come about? What was its intended purpose? Answers to these origin questions may hold the key to answering our voting questions.
Fortunately, the Bible is not silent in this area. God, himself, raised up the nations early in our history. After the flood, the nations sprang from Noah’s sons—Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Gen. 9:18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.
Gen. 10:32 These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.
The nations are from God and naturally flow from his design.
Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
God appointed their governments and Christians are to respect them. Paul said,
Rom. 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
This is instructive to our topic as it reveals that even gentile governors are appointed by God. The Bible reveals it is neither a Christian, nor Jewish institution, as it predates Christ, Moses and even Abraham. It’s part of God’s design for the fallen world for all peoples, from the very beginning.
The Purpose of Government
The purpose of government is also well-defined in the Bible. Paul goes on to say,
Rom. 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
The primary role of government is to punish evil for the sake of the good. It is to administer justice and keep order. Peter put it this way:
1Pet. 2:13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.
This has been the role of government from the beginning. This is why every nation needs domestic and foreign armed forces. Nations who don’t have these are normally forsaken unless larger, more competent nations look after them. And don’t miss the ministering side of this design.
Rom. 13:6…, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing
Governments, by design, are an act of mercy. They protect their citizens, and though this, minister to them. This is their purpose, and when they follow their purpose, their peoples are blessed.
The Church’s Response To Government
Paul also clarified the Church’s response to government. Respect, obey and support them.
Rom. 13:5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Unlike Israel, which was raised up as a nation with its own laws, armies and infrastructure, the church is different. It is comprised of communities of believers, appointed to live within nations. Church communities do not have their own government system (not to be confused with church government) and, therefore, must submit to those who rule over the lands the reside in.
To put it succinctly, Israel was raised up to BE a nation, while the Church was raised up to BE WITHIN nations. It’s an important distinction and key to understanding our relationship with our government.
Qualifications for Governing Authorities
But, as mentioned above, government, per se, is not a Christian institution. Its officers can be, and very often are, unbelievers. This being the case, we, as Christians, should not apply a pastor/elder test, or a doctrinal test to any candidate. It would be the wrong test for the wrong job.
The only real test for governors is competence. Can they do the job which God outlined in Romans 13? Do they have the ability to fulfill God’s purpose for government? Will they minister to the innocent by punishing evil—even with the sword when necessary. “…he does not bear the sword in vain.”
In some ways, I wish there were more to it. This is the basic specific purpose of any gentile governing system.
Is your candidate willing and able to keep law and order? Is he willing to execute justice? Is he willing to fight for the innocent of his land (including the unborn which I’ll discuss shortly)? Trump, in my mind, passes this test extraordinarily well. I believe some others do as well.
The American Electorate
Many may not realize this, but if God has ordained all authority, then He has actually ordained your authority. If you are an American citizen, you are a governing authority according to the US Constitution.
Think about it. In the past, kings and queens possessed the ultimate authority to appoint governing officials. Today, in America, we do! ‘We The People’ are as close to an emperor as you can get. And We have been appointed, by God himself (according to Paul), to serve as the most powerful electorate in the world. We appoint the President, legislators and governors of our land.
Now, you may not like the sound of this, and you may not want this authority, but that’s beside the point. God gave it to you. “There is no authority except from God.” If you are a citizen of the United States, your electoral authority has come from God. It is no accident you are here (Acts 17:26).
This, to me, settles the matter of responsibility. Imagine being born into a royal family but ignoring your authority and allowing others to do your job. Could you really, in good conscience, sit back and let others choose your governors and legislators? This would not only displease God, I really believe he’d hold you accountable for the damage others did in your place. I believe the same is true with voting. This is my personal understanding of what Scripture is saying. I would, at the very least, encourage personal study, so you may decide what to do with a clear conscience.
How Should Christians Vote?
The question then becomes, how should Christians vote? And again, the answer goes back to God’s purpose for government, and which candidate is best qualified to fulfill that purpose?
Should Christians vote for other Christians? Only if they can fulfill the God-ordained purpose for the office.
Can Christians vote for an unbeliever? Absolutely. In fact, an unbeliever should be preferred over a believer if that unbeliever is more qualified to carry out God’s purposes.
Think of it this way. How do you choose your doctor, lawyer, accountant, or mechanic? Do you have them fill out a doctrinal statement? Do you check their marriage/divorce history? Or, is it all about competence? If my kids’ lives are on the line, I’d choose a competent atheist doctor over an incompetent Christian any day of the week.
What About Decency?
If he’s going to call himself a Christian one day and call someone a bimbo the next or make fun of somebody’s menstrual cycle, it’s just beyond reason to me. 2
In a Washington Post article, Lucado wrote,
The leading candidate to be the next leader of the free world would not pass my decency interview.
…I don’t know Mr. Trump. But I’ve been chagrined at his antics. He ridiculed a war hero. He made mockery of a reporter’s menstrual cycle. He made fun of a disabled reporter. He referred to the former first lady, Barbara Bush as “mommy,” and belittled Jeb Bush for bringing her on the campaign trail. He routinely calls people “stupid,” “loser,” and “dummy.” These were not off-line, backstage, overheard, not-to-be-repeated comments. They were publicly and intentionally tweeted, recorded, and presented. 3
Before I go any further, I should note that I’ve researched many of these charges and found them to be media fiction. Christians need to be very careful what they believe and repeat. I heard Trump’s “blood” comment live when it happened and never made the menstrual cycle connection. Nor did the interviewer seem to think anything of it at the time. No one even blinked, as far as I could tell, until later on, when speculations grew of a veiled innuendo. Trump vehemently denied it, and I’m inclined to believe him and defend him on this. And, yes, Trump did mock a reporter, which is not very nice, but denied knowing he was disabled. Looking at the facts, I tend to believe him here as well. (My suspicions were confirmed, later on, as this accusation was debunked. See: Proof! Media lied about Trump mocking disabled reporter. I am now 100% certain his gesture was not intended to mock this reporter’s disability. Trump just doesn’t like reporters, in general. I’m not fond of them myself, actually, but regardless, it was a false charge.)
That said, some of the things Lucado cites are true and, admittedly, not very nice. Trump is by no means a sweet, polite, soft-spoken individual. Sometimes he’s downright obnoxious. Does he, then, fail some kind of decency test for governing authorities?
We need to be very careful about projecting our own personal decency tests onto governing authorities. Lucado, in repeating rumors and speculations, has failed one of my personal decency tests. The charges he’s making are based on speculations about what was in Trump’s heart and mind. Is this something Pastor Lucado can prove? Should we just ignore Trump’s denials and spread the rumors anyway? Is this not slander? To be honest, I’m more troubled by Lucado’s false accusations then Trump’s occasional insults.
Governing authorities are appointed to carry out specific duties for their nations, which are very narrow in scope. There is no faith litmus test, and determining a specific decency test is going to be difficult as Christians have varying opinions of what decency should look like. Some perceive Trump as aggressive and rude, while others see him as forthright and genuine. Let’s face it, modern politics is a vile and brutal field to be in. There is no question some of his insults are cutting and wrong, but should this negate some of his better qualities? What about his philanthropy over the years? What about the money he’s raised for charity? What about his dedication to veterans? What about his dedication to fighting Christian persecution? What about the relationship he seems to have with his children, and even his ex-wife who endorsed him? Should none of this count toward his overall decency? Did Max Lucado take the time to get to know Trump, or merely jump on some juicy stories?
Update: Here are some articles on other debunked media stories. Christians should be very diligent in checking out the validity of any story about a candidate they don’t like.
- List of Debunked Allegations by Corrupt Media Against Donald Trump
- Report: Woman who accused Trump of rape ‘made it all up’
- Trump Rape Accusers Turn On Each Other
- The 10 Biggest Media Lies About Donald Trump
Notice, also, the subtitle of Pastor Lucado’s Washington Post article: Policy aside, shouldn’t we all demand that our president at least be decent? 3
Policy aside? Think of the implications of that. Does decency really trump policy? I would argue he has it backwards. If we’re focused on God’s purposes for government, policy must be front and center in the voters’ minds. Policy stances speak directly to a candidate’s purposes, which we can then compare to God’s purposes. They may or may not keep their promises, but at least we know what they are promising. Should we consider a candidate promising to do the opposite of God’s purposes, so long as their conduct is decent? Is this why Mr. Lucado has never spoken out against Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton?
Mrs. Clinton is promising everything from support of gay marriage to tax payer funded abortions, even partial birth abortions. Barack Obama has fought for these while in office. Are these not indecent policies to Max Lucado?
Now in Lucado’s defense, he claims he only spoke up about Trump, because Trump was claiming to be a Christian. “I would have absolutely no right to speak up except that he repeatedly brandishes the Bible and calls himself a Christian.”4 Fair enough. But Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama also claim to be Christians, and have for a long time. Are Trump’s insults really more offensive to him than the killing of the unborn? Mr. Lucado, I have to ask. What would Jesus be more offended by?
…I think Jesus when he said, “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” he meant that we’re to be good citizens and use our God-given brains to choose the best leader for our country…not the holiest of the candidates who happens to be running… 5
When challenged by the reporter about John Stemberger’s comment, that his father “would be rolling over in his grave if he knew the son who bore his name had endorsed the most immoral and ungodly man to ever run for President…” Falwell responded,
That’s the same thing they said to my father when he supported Ronald Reagan. They said, “it’s terrible he’s supporting a Hollywood actor. He’s been divorced and remarried, when Jimmy Carter is a Southern Baptist, Sunday school teacher, who shares his faith…,” and he said “no, no, when I walk into the voting booth it’s my job to choose the best….not the best Sunday School teacher not the best Pastor, but the best leader for our country. This is the President of the United States. We need somebody with the skills to run a country. And I believe it’s my job as a citizen…,” so whoever said that, didn’t know my father as well as I did. 5
You can watch the whole interview here, but I think this sums up the issue, nicely. It doesn’t necessarily mean Falwell has made the best choice in Trump (or I have, for that matter). Trump may or may not be the right man for the job. But he is choosing in accordance with the correct criteria, which gives him a much better chance to make the right choice.
What About Social Conservative Issues?
But think about this for a moment. If God’s purpose for government is to protect its citizens, I can’t think of anyone more in need of protection than the unborn. They are the most defenseless individuals of any modern western society. It has been said, the most dangerous place in America is in the womb. Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration.
Similarly, I believe protecting God’s design for the family, based on Genesis 1 and 2, is essential to this purpose. Broken families lead to broken and dangerous societies. A candidate who doesn’t recognize this, may not be fit for office. A candidate, himself, may have personal failures in this area, such as a divorce, but that shouldn’t disqualify him outright. A bad policy, however, like support of gay marriage, should disqualify him (or her). For this reveals that he has a purpose which runs against God’s purpose for Government.
Policy should always trump personal decency. Or, to put it another way, decent policy should always trump decent individual behavior. All candidates fall short, just like all people fall short. I’m not concerned about a candidate’s history to any great degree unless it suggests it will hinder their performance. I’m concerned about what they’ll do to protect my kids in the future. And most of the candidates who have decent policy stances are generally pretty decent, anyway.
I should mention, however, this is almost exclusively a Supreme Court issue. For the Christian, the Supreme Court is everything. It is imperative that Christians only vote for candidates who will appoint strict constructionist judges to the court, who will interpret laws and the Constitution as they were originally intended. If the High Court is filled with liberal activist judges, it won’t matter what anyone else in government does. You could have the most pro-life President and Congress our country has ever seen. If the Court is liberal, it’s all for nothing. They will have the final say, and can strike down any legislation they don’t like. Conversely, if the Court is conservative, it really won’t matter what liberal Presidents or legislators believe. They have some power, but the Court has more. If you’re a Christian concerned about social conservatives issues, vote with the Supreme Court in mind. Press your candidate on what kind of judges they will appoint.
What About The Gospel?
Lastly, there’s the issue of the Gospel. Spreading the Gospel is definitely not the function of government, but shouldn’t we consider how the Church and the Gospel might be affected by a particular candidate?
Absolutely! Governments can have a significant effect on Church communities in their lands. It would seem logical to consider how a candidate might treat the Church, particularly in regard to their freedom. Will they suppress freedom? If so, this probably should deter us from voting for them, as we desire to keep the Gospel as free as possible.
But this, too, would not require a religious litmus test or a personal decency test. There have been some very non-orthodox, non-believing presidents who have been beneficial to the Gospel, and some born-again Christian Presidents who have not (Jimmy Carter comes to mind). The key is not the faith of the office-holder, but his political views. Does he believe in freedom of speech? Does he believe in the Constitution? Will he appoint constitutional judges who respect religious freedom? It’s always about policy and the Supreme Court. Always!
A Correct Litmus Test
The concerned Christian, mentioned at the beginning of this article, was correct in her assessment of the doctrinal beliefs of Romney and Obama. But she was wrong for disqualifying them from office based on that alone. She applied a doctrinal test, rather than a competency test. She looked to God’s purposes for Christians and Pastors rather than God’s purposes for governing authorities. She applied the 1 Timothy/Titus test rather than the Romans 13 test.
Romney’s bad theology would certainly disqualify him from the pulpit, but it should not have disqualified him from the presidency. I’m no fan of Mormonism, don’t get me wrong, but the alternative candidate was far worse. And, in applying the wrong test, she may have helped elect someone who was not in line with God’s purposes at all. In fact, there are two new Supreme Court justices, as a direct result of that election, that I know are not in line with God’s purposes.
I can’t help but wonder if she would have acted differently, had she read this article, back then. If she had studied the biblical origins of government and understood the purposes of government, might she have reconsidered? Who knows? But that’s my reason for writing it now.
I don’t personally know whether or not Trump is a true Christian. I hope he is, and if not, I hope he will be soon. He sure is surrounding himself with good Christians. But, in truth, I’m not certain of the faith of any of the candidates. All of them have their apparent doctrinal challenges. On the Republican side, Marco Rubio was raised Mormon and later converted to Roman Catholicism. John Kasich was raised Roman Catholic, but drifted from the Church as he got older. He now attends an Anglican Church, but very rarely. Ted Cruz has apparently received a “kings anointing” according to his father and Kenneth Copeland.6 Copeland is a Word-of-Faith prosperity gospel preacher, and Rafael Cruz (Cruz’s father) an advocate of dominion theology. Cruz has also been touring the country with prominent Mormons who are standing beside him questioning Trump’s faith. Really? Most Christians see these brands of Christianity as troubling, and many view them as counterfeits (myself included). If Cruz is a Christian, where is the discernment? And, then, you have Trump who is attending Church more regularly now, but made the horrific mistake of saying “Two Corinthians” (for shame!).
Those are your choices on the Republican side. All of them have their doctrinal issues. All of them have challenges and scandals, which range from salty language to election fraud. All of them fall short of the glory of God. If you’re looking for perfection, you’re out of luck.
But, if you’re looking for competence—someone who can run the government in accordance with God’s purposes, outlined in Romans 13, you actually have some decent choices—at least on the Republican side (There are no decent choices on the democrat side.). I’ve told you my choice, but you have no excuse not to pick one.
Update (May 16, 2016)
Since I first published this article, Trump has seemingly secured the Republican nomination, and is now the party’s presumptive nominee. Evangelicals have continued to support him in large numbers, and have propelled him to the nomination, along with many other groups of voters. And, as I suspicioned, strife in the Church has continued. Al Mohler, for instance (a very good guy, who is right about a whole lot of things), said this in a recent statement.
But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change. 7
But is this really true? Is Trump really against “virtually everything the Republican Party” has stood for?
All I can do is sit back, in amazement, and scratch my head. I’ve followed Trump’s campaign over the past few months and here’s what I’ve derived so far. Donald Trump supports:
- the appointment of conservative Supreme Justices like Scalia and Thomas.
(this alone should be enough to sway any evangelical voter)
- localized education, and the rejection of Common Core.
(a strong 10th Amendment stance)
- school choice, including the choice to homeschool.
- a tax plan that includes a 15% corporate tax rate.
(endorsed by most Reagan economists)
- a secure border, which includes a border wall to help border agents.
- the deportation of all illegal aliens, forcing them to enter, or reenter, the country legally.
- strong gun rights.
- a strong military, and increased military spending.
- better treatment of our military vets.
- the destruction of ISIS.
- the blocking of immigrants who support Sharia Law (Islamic law), until we can figure out a better way to vet the extremists among them.
- smart defense agreements with allies, requiring them to pay their fair share for our military services.
- the destruction of bad trade agreements, like TPP, which take away american jobs.
- the repealing and replacing of ObamaCare.
- pro-capitalistic alternatives to ObamaCare such as medical savings accounts.
- the rejection of Global Warming extremism.
Are the above proposals really a departure from traditional conservative Republican values? Are they really more liberal than those of Trump’s predecessors? Are they more liberal then Romney’s, McCain’s, or Bush’s? Call me crazy, but the proposals above could be the most conservative we’ve seen in 2-1/2 decades.
And if all you care about are social conservative issues, Trump’s support of conservative judges and school freedom should be enough, in and of themselves. In addition, a strong secure border would cut down on the drugs coming into this county, which continually tempt our kids. Is this a departure from traditional Republican values?
I deeply respect and admire Dr. Mohler. He’s virtually always on the right side of the important issues—including the Genesis debate. But I disagree with him here. Not only do I support Donald Trump, I pray for the success of his above agenda.
Update (November 14, 2016)
Since my last update, Donald Trump has won the presidency of the United States in one of the biggest upsets in political history. The media and their pollsters predicted a Hillary Clinton landslide, but the American public had something else in mind. Christian evangelicals voted for Trump in large numbers despite warnings from popular Christian leaders. In my opinion, they made the right choice.
(On a side note, by the way, Trump did well with Hispanic voters. According to one poll, 1/3 of hispanics voted for Trump, and 49% of hispanics agree with the policy of deporting illegal aliens. It’s amazing how the media has misrepresented this race. source)
Trump has his flaws, to be sure, but that is no reason for the Church to turn its back on the unborn or the Supreme Court. How could we do this in good conscience? It’s one thing to be brave with our own lives, it’s another to be brave with the lives of others. The Court is everything.
On election day, Max Lucado lamented to Christians in one final plea: On Election Day — Stop worrying, start trusting. In other words, don’t worry about the Supreme Court. Don’t worry about Islamic terrorism. God will work it out. And he’s right in one sense. God is in control and will work all things out.
But I would also appeal to Christ’s temptation in the wilderness where He was tempted by Satan to throw himself off a cliff to prove his faith and his identity.
Matt. 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
We all know the response.
Matt. 4:7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
There is a difference between trusting God and testing God. To willingly forsake the Supreme Court, given my duty as a citizen, would not have been faithfulness, but foolishness. That’s how I viewed it, at least, for myself. It would have been akin to throwing myself off a cliff, hoping God would catch me.
We need to do everything in our power to protect the innocent. If we come up short, we trust in God. But we never test Him with inactivity.
James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
God bless this great country, who I feel made a great decision on November 8th, 2016. I hope this election spurs future dialog in the Church on politics. It’s an important and neglected subject. We’ve left politics alone thinking it might offend seekers. Big mistake, in my opinion. Politics and morality are intertwined and inseparable and the Church should never neglect the moral aspects of politics.
1. Politico, “Christian leaders balk at Falwell’s Trump endorsement” (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/jerry-falwell-jr-endorses-trump-218238)
2. NewsMax, “Pastor Lucado: Trump Saying He’s a Christian ‘Beyond Reason to Me'” (http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/max-lucado-donald-trump-christian/2016/02/26/id/716286)
3. The Washington Post, “Max Lucado: Trump doesn’t pass the decency test” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/02/26/max-lucado-trump-doesnt-pass-the-decency-test)
4. Christianity Today, “Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump” (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/february-web-only/why-max-lucado-broke-his-political-silence-for-trump.html)
5. CNN, “Falwell calls out Roger Ailes, Fox News over Trump statement” (http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/28/politics/donald-trump-jerry-falwell-fox-news)
6. YouTube, “Kenneth Copeland Says Ted Cruz Has Been ‘Called & Anointed’ By God To Be The Next President” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0_KKg6Wh3Q)
7. Albert Mohler, “Crisis in American Democracy” (http://www.albertmohler.com/2016/05/05/crisis-in-american-democracy)