As a general rule, political scientists tend to shy away from taking public stands for — or against — candidates that might make them appear partisan or somehow lacking in scientific objectivity. So it’s notable that a large group of political scientists has now signed an open letter warning that their academic experience persuades them that Donald Trump poses a unique menace to American democracy.
The letter, which was signed by hundreds of political science professors at U.S. colleges and universities, defends the decision to weigh in on this particular election by noting that “our profession has always had strong normative commitments” to the convictions that “peace is preferable to war, freedom to tyranny, justice to injustice, equality to inequality, democracy to authoritarianism,” as well as to John Adams’ notion that our government must be one “of laws, and not of men.”
The letter points toward nine reasons why a Trump presidency, "would pose a grave threat to American democracy and to other democratic governments around the world."
1. He has cast doubt on the validity of the election process, without any supporting evidence.
2. He has stated that he may reject the outcome of a free election if he does not win.
3. He has encouraged supporters to engage in voter suppression and intimidation.
4. He has threatened to jail the leader of the opposition party.
5. He has questioned the independence of the judiciary and the impartiality of judges based on their race, ethnicity, religion, and parentage.
6. He has impugned the loyalty of citizens and other persons in the United States on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, and country of birth.
7. He has endangered freedom of the press by intimidating individual journalists, banning major news organizations from his rallies, and promising to change libel laws.
8. He has called for the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
9. He has threatened to destroy the strategic basis of NATO, the most important security alliance of the last seventy years, by questioning the commitment of the United States to regard an attack on any member state as an attack on all.