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After the Trumpocalypse: How to Restore American Democracy

On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle and Toure talk to David Frum: senior editor at The Atlantic, former speechwriter for George W. Bush and the author of 10 books, including the just-released TRUMPOCALYPSE: Restoring American Democracy.”

  • Another week, another batch of fresh hell: A new handful of viral videos from Georgia exposes more cops behaving badly.

  • How can we reform our broken government despite our deep political divides?

  • What will ever erase the stain Trump has left on America? (It’s not Clorox.)

Our hosts chat with David in the midst of another week of national outrage and calls for police reform –– or something new entirely.

Last Friday in Atlanta, police shot 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks after an altercation in a Wendy’s parking lot in response to complaints that he was sleeping in his car, blocking the drive-thru lane. Rayshard later died in the hospital.

The incident was captured on video from multiple sources, including the officers’ body-cams and dashcam as well as bystanders and the restaurant’s surveillance camera. But we wouldn’t even need all that footage to be outraged: Rayshard was shot three times in the back as he tried to run away.

Unlike many of the recent murders of Black people caught on tape, Atlanta’s response was fairly swift. The police chief resigned. The officer who shot Rayshard was fired, and his partner was placed on administrative leave. Within a week, both were charged with murder.

That’s cold comfort for Rayshard’s family –– and for every person of color in America. Especially in the age of Trump.

In David’s new book, he proposes a number of ways to repair American democracy after all the damage this jackass has caused. Let’s dig in.

Episode Highlights –– Trump’s a Jackass

Crazy train to Georgia

“Deadly force” takes many forms –– chokeholds, for example, but the majority of people killed by police are shot.

“American police forces are very militarized compared to police forces anywhere else,” David says.

In his native Toronto, each police officer has a button on their gun holster, and if they draw the gun at all, they’re required to file a report.

“But that's in the context of a world in which police do not face a heavily armed society,” he adds. “So a big part of this discussion is about how to reduce the prevalence of private firearms. How do we make sure ... there isn't a Glock in the glove compartment of every car [the police] stop?”

Toure acknowledges that cops’ fear of the American citizenry, especially those who are Black and Brown citizens, is “palpable, and so much a part of this moment,” he says, pointing to yet another viral video from Georgia.

Stacy’s sob story

Elsewhere in –– you guessed it –– Georgia, a blonde female police officer named Stacy livestreamed her tearful breakdown in a McDonald’s drive-thru. Apparently, she had to wait so long for her order that she grew suspicious about it: “I'm too nervous to take a meal from McDonald's because I can't see it being made," she says in the video.

The tacit accusation is clear: Everyone’s out to get the police.

I'm like, oh my god, the victimhood, especially now, is so frightening,” says Toure. “If this woman approached my car at a traffic stop, she's assuming I'm a mass murderer. It's really her fear. And I am paying the price for her fear.”

That’s why Toure doesn’t have high hopes for incremental changes in American law enforcement.

“I don't see how we reform this without completely burning police into the ground and starting over with an entirely different approach to public safety,” he says.

America, armed and dangerous

David is skeptical of a clean-slate strategy.