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‘Utah Politics’ podcast: Why one Obama administration official says democracy is in danger

Ben Rhodes says democracies are in trouble as authoritarian movements rise across the globe

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais | AP) Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes says democracies are weakening across the globe as authoritarian movements are on the rise.

Last year, Sen. Mike Lee caused a bit of a firestorm on social media when he published a series of tweets attacking democracy.

“Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prosperity are. We want the human condition to flourish,” Lee tweeted.

Lee’s statement was surprising, but it really shouldn’t be, says Ben Rhodes, a Deputy National Security Advisor under former President Barack Obama.

“There’s always been a definition of America that says anyone can be American. You can come from anywhere, look like anything, believe anything and be equally American. But for certain people, America is rooted in a very exclusive either ethnic framework or Judeo-Christian belief structure,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes was a guest on the “Utah Politics” podcast this week. He says broad demographic shifts in the country are causing a debate over what it means to be American.

“A democracy in a majority non-white country kind of changes our whole conception of power. We’re really debating our national identity here. And democracy means that people who look different might increasingly be in charge, and that causes some concern,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes also discusses the rise of authoritarian movements across the globe, which he examines in his new book “After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made.” He also talks about the pullout of American troops from Afghanistan and how working on the 1997 re-election campaign of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani shifted his whole worldview.

Subscribe to the podcast for free here.

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