America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall

Will it turn around before it’s too late? Two thousand years ago, the famous Republic had a chance to reject a dangerous populist. It failed, and the rest is history.

Today, Americans will choose between two radically different paths: a populist ideology transforming the values of the country itself, and an attempt to reject it.

It’s a decision as old as democracy itself.

I think the USA is quite resilient but Trump’s 2nd term, if it’s like his first, could be damaging to the planet, not just the USA.

US-China relations expert and professor of Defense Studies, Malaysia

Over 2,000 years ago, the Donald Trump of his day, Julius Caesar, promised to return Rome to an imagined ancient glory—but instead constructed himself a throne, bulldozing democratic norms, ignoring checks on his power and eroding political debate. Rome chose to follow Caesar, putting the famed Republic on a glide path to destruction.

Most objectionable to his critics was the explosive form of his message, which threatened to tear the fabric of the state apart. Like Trump, Caesar spoke directly to the people, railing against traditional elites, complaining about noncitizens taking jobs and encouraging violence. Romans had assumed their Republic could weather the threat of iconoclastic populism, that their norms were sacrosanct, that their system couldn’t be brought down. But the consulship of Julius Caesar shattered this illusion in the same way that Trump and Trumpism have radically reconfigured the boundaries of acceptability in modern U.S. politics, revealing cracks in the ability of institutions to withstand the creep of authoritarianism. More…