In America’s democratic showcase, the world sees a model of what not to do

The Washington Post reports: In the seaside cafes of Beirut, the whole thing looks “like a bad joke.” To persecuted journalists in Burundi, it amounts to “a total loss of dignity.” The government-scripted press of Beijing diagnoses “an empire moving downhill.” And the spin doctors of the Kremlin see cause for pure and unambiguous delight.

The U.S. presidential election — America’s quadrennial chance to showcase for the world how democracy works in the most powerful nation on Earth — has become instead an object lesson in everything that ails a country long seen as a beacon of freedom and hope.

Debates devoid of issues and deep in the gutter of personal insult. Interference from foreign intelligence services. Endless leaked emails, and FBI investigations that could extend long beyond Tuesday.

Americans may cringe watching their own election at close range. But the world’s reaction has been, in a sense, even more poignant and foreboding. [Continue reading…]

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