In six months, COVID-19 has caused the death of almost 190,000 Americans and infected over 6 million more. The U.S. economy has been battered. Millions have lost their jobs and thousands of businesses have been forced to close.  

What are the implications from this for U.S. politics? Analysts have spoken to the immediate impacts on President Donald Trump’s approval ratings and the presidential election in November. But what of the longer-term impact of the pandemic? Democracy in America already appears increasingly fragile. Will the pandemic weaken it further? 

In my view, the effects of the crisis will extend well-beyond the election, regardless of who wins the presidency. The pandemic is contributing to a broader structural shift in American life, one that is undermining the legitimacy of democratic institutions in favor of more authoritarian and populist alternatives. 

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