NEW YORK (AP) — In his 4½ years as a state senator from Manhattan, Brad Holyman has handed out everything from flashlights to T-shirts at political rallies. But for a gathering held soon after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, he decided on something more substantial:Copies of the Constitution.”My constituents had been asking me, ‘What can I do to help?’ ‘How do I prepare myself?'” says Holyman, a Democrat in his third term who has since distributed thousands of copies. “A year ago, who would have imagined that giving away the Constitution would be seen as an act of resistance?”Americans have disagreed about government and civic life since the country’s founding, about who should vote, who should run for office and the risks of political factions. But as the U.S. nears its 241st birthday, many say democracy itself is in the dock.Trump, with his labeling the mainstream press the “enemy of the people” and his disparagement of “so-called” judges and other traditional checks on executive power, has critics anxious about not just a given policy but the fate of self-rule — at the same time that his supporters view his rise as the kind of anti-elitist triumph democracy is supposed to represent.
As July Fourth Approaches, Americans Debate Democracy’s Fate