How do we save a democracy on the brink?

Trump’s disinformation campaign, his refusal to accept election results, his repeated claims that the election process will be “rigged” and his transparent efforts to sabotage the U.S. Postal Service are just some of the ways he is providing aid and comfort to America’s enemies. An aide to former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev two years ago succinctly summed up his country’s view of Trump to GQ’s Julia Ioffe: “He’s doing all of our work for us.”

For former conservatives who have defected to Trumpism, it should seem ironic that the same American movement that was long defined by its hostility to ’60s radicalism has been hijacked by a Republican president obsessed with undermining the country’s core institutions. Their dear leader has succeeded where Marxist radicals never could. Trump is sowing doubt in America’s democratic process; he has attacked American generals as “losers” and “pussies”; the commander in chief has also undermined the U.S. intelligence community more effectively than any Marxist ever could; and the man who privately mocks people of faith has corrupted the evangelical movement through his forging of political alliances with power-hungry preachers. In reaction to this week’s debate, Christian author Beth Moore wrote, “No amount of winning is worth shipwrecking our faith.”

Now Trump is focused on wrecking our ship of state, if that is what is required for him to maintain power. Whether his autocratic efforts succeed depends on whether federal and state officials can manage the chaos that will escalate as Trump’s poll numbers decline.