Letters to the Editor: Election turnout is high. We have a long way to go to autocracy

President Trump at a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
President Trump at a White House meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in 2019.
(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

To the editor: Michiko Kakutani says that under President Trump, “the United States no longer provides a democratic model to emulate.” I disagree. (“Democracies around the world are under threat. Ours is no exception,” Opinion, Oct. 31)

Election turnout in 2020 is forecast to be at a record high. Voters across the board are more engaged than ever. It has become easier to vote with the implementation of widespread mail-in voting and vote centers in L.A. County.

Through the election, there will be changes and course corrections. That is democracy in action.


Laura Curran, Newport Beach


To the editor: Kakutani’s essay about aspiring autocrats subverting democracy from within is convincing and well-documented.

Although she mentions Hannah Arendt’s view on how disgruntled people are attracted to autocrats, Kakutani might have mentioned Daniel Goldhagen’s argument in his book, “Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust,” that a leader can seduce prejudiced citizens to commit horrible acts.

According to Goldhagen, ordinary Germans, and not just the Nazis, “treated the Jews as beings apart, as beings — whatever else was to be done with and to them — ultimately fit only to suffer and die.”

While the Swedish study that Kakutani cites shows the historic worldwide slide to autocracy, she ends on a hopeful note that the U.S. corrects its mistakes. That optimism is welcome during our current autocratic trend.

Bob Ladendorf, Los Feliz


To the editor: Kakutani’s op-ed article is an excellent tutorial for, say, high school or even college students.

I can guarantee that some substantial number of our citizens do not know the takeaway information in this piece nor its relevance to our current political situation.

Virgil Jose, Apple Valley