There was a time, not that long ago, when the United States presumed to teach the world how it was done. When it held itself up as a model of a stable, predictable democracy. When it sent idealistic young avatars to distant parts of the globe to impart the American way.

These days, to many watching at home and abroad, the American way no longer seems to offer a case study in effective representative democracy. Instead, it has become an example of disarray and discord, one that rewards extremism, challenges norms and threatens to divide a polarized country even further.

The Republican uprising that led to the ouster of a House speaker for the first time in American history would be enough of a disruption. But the upheaval on Capitol Hill comes as a former president sits in a New York courtroom, already judged to be a fraud, while using increasingly violent language and pushing the limits of a gag order. At the same time, military aid to stop Russian […]

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