The Trump Administration challenged notions of good governance. It challenged our expectation of majoritarian legitimacy to the extent only a minority of voters elected President Donald Trump in 2016. It challenged our demands for reasoned decision-making insofar as the President sought to dismantle the administrative state and govern by fiat. It challenged our expectation of checks and balances in the way it approached appointments and removals to accumulate power at the expense of congressional design. These challenges sound in different legal theories, but they all reflect shattered expectations of good governance. And yet, the most lasting legacy of the Trump Administration may have nothing to do with governing. It is hard to guess how historians will view this period, but I write and revise this essay in December 2020 and Spring 2021, having watched the most flamboyant, stunning, and blatant attempt to prostrate the United States’ electoral system.4 This flagging has raised concerns about the continuing legitimacy of democracy.5 But this concern reflects a simplistic and mistaken view of democracy. In fact, democracy remains the solution—not the problem. The problem lies in the fact that elections alone do not make a democracy. The solution lies in the complexity of our constitutional arrangement, which despite staggeringly selfish attacks on the electoral process, maintains some stability.
Joshua Ulan Galperin, Legitimacy, Legality, Legacy, and the Life of Democracy, 45 Vt. L. Rev. 561 (2021), https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/1196/.