Jon Stewart, like many, is concerned with the polarization in the country and although he says he believes “we still have time to save US democracy,” he warns against putting too much energy toward blaming everything on Donald Trump.
“I think we make a mistake focusing this all on Donald Trump as though he’s, I don’t know, Magneto and some incredible supervillain that has changed the very nature and temperature of the United States. He’s just been an effective vessel,” Stewart told CNN “State of the Union” anchor Jake Tapper Saturday night.
“But again, he’s not singing new songs. He’s maybe singing them a little better than [the late Republican senator from Arizona, Barry] Goldwater, but I think it’s a mistake to focus it all on this one individual, and not to focus it more on the idea that power is its own reward whether it be in the financial industry or government,” Stewart said. “Power doesn’t cede itself, and unless we can figure out a better way to balance that power for workers and voters and different groups, we’ll be vulnerable.”
He continued: “I don’t know that autocracy is purely the domain of Donald Trump. I think that we all have a bit of a tendency to grant amnesty to people that are doing things that we would prefer, even if that means that they’re slightly undemocratic.”
Stewart — who is currently promoting his new current affairs show on Apple TV+, “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” in which he talks with activists from around the world — told Tapper that America still has time before democracy shatters.
“It’s bracing sometimes to hear the reality of people’s lives in other countries,” he said. “It’s not to say that warning signs don’t exist or bells aren’t going off or that democracy is a birthright and is something that will always be with us as a kind of sash that we wear having been crowned the greatest democracy. It did remind us that we have a long way to go before we end up in those situations.”
And as far as Donald Trump goes, Stewart extended this thought:
“People generally want prosperity and security, and if a democratic system is having difficulty providing that – or if it’s being subverted by those who want to create chaos so they can make a more authoritarian government – that’s part of it too,” he continued. “Listen, nothing’s guaranteed like that.”
The grass roots level viewing democracy as something they want to protect and strengthen and working on those things on the ground, that is something that encouraging that gives Stewart hope. Tapper, however, expressed concern that because the GOP’s continued spreading of misinformation and “the Big Lie” that Trump was the true winner of the 2020 presidential election, the polarization is getting worse.
“You can fret about it or you can go about strengthening those areas and I think that’s – the call to action here is, action is the antithesis of anxiety,” Stewart said. “So if we’ve identified the pressure points where the guardrails look most vulnerable, that’s where we should be focusing so much of our efforts in terms of strength, We’re adjusting to a new information and political ecosystem, and it’s gonna be rocky.”
You can watch Tapper’s interview with Jon Stewart in the tweet below.