Echoing Jane Addams, John Dewey, and Martin Luther king, we see democracy as a way of life, not just a set of electoral practices and governmental institutions. It’s about collective agency: people working together to solve problems and build a common life across diverse backgrounds and interests.
One thing citizens of democracies do is elect leaders, but the bulk of democratic work occurs in local communities and wider networks of people tackling problems in society. The ideal of democracy, always tarnished and never fully realized in practice, is a voice for everyone and a chance for everyone to contribute. Threats to this kind of inclusion don’t just harm the people affected but they tear the fabric of democracy itself. In that light, the key threat of Trumpism is the “othering” of some of the “we” in We the People.