Why Psychopaths Rise / Ask Me Anything
Why are psychopaths so effective at getting power? Will Trump be indicted for federal crimes? Is 81 too old to be president? And is there a better system than democracy?
Many of you sent me great questions for the “Ask Me Anything” feature. I’ve picked four to answer for this edition. (I’ll answer more in future editions. Feel free to add your question here). This time, I’ll be answering:
Do you believe, in your heart of hearts, that Donald Trump will face federal charges?
Is Biden too old to be president for a second term? Do political scientists have an “ideal age” for leaders?
Is there a better version of government than democracy?
How did you end up a scholar of authoritarians/authoritarian politics?
Before I turn to those excellent questions, a few quick updates of other things I’ve been working on recently.
The Big Think Interviews
I sat down for an interview with Big Think, which produces high-quality, slickly edited videos of various academics. The first one featuring me is “Why Psychopaths Rise to Power” and the second one is called “Why the Worst People Rise to Power.” They sound similar, but the content in them is actually quite different. Here they are:
The Red States Experimenting with Authoritarianism
In 1932, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis applauded the role of experimentation within the states, calling them “laboratories of democracy” that could inspire reforms at the national level. Today, that dynamic is inverted, as some red states have become laboratories of authoritarianism, experimenting with the autocratic playbook in ways that could filter up to the federal government. American states are now splintering, not just on partisan lines, but on their commitment to the principles of liberal democracy…
In Florida, DeSantis is using his power to punish a private company that dared to criticize him. In Idaho, Republican lawmakers have made it illegal to help minors cross state lines to obtain an abortion, using government power to restrict freedom of movement. In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott has said he “looks forward” to pardoning a man convicted of murdering a Black Lives Matter protester; the murderer had previously texted a friend to complain about the protests and said that he “might have to kill a few people on my way to work.”
So yeah, important stuff, even if it’s not exactly Chicken Soup for the Democratic Soul. And now…onto your Ask Me Anything questions!