The United States founding fathers, and many others over the years, have recognized the importance of specific laws and norms in order to make the functioning of a system of government more democratic. For example, the Bill of Rights, which became a part of the U.S. constitution, gives citizens basic rights and a means of legal recourse in case legislation may try to curtail these rights. Freedom House’s Methodology 2019 sheet for its Freedom in the World 2019 report gives a good idea of the factors that must be considered in evaluating a country’s political system in terms of the democratic freedom it gives the country’s inhabitants.
Standard economics, in its consideration of the government sector, essentially considers government as democratic, representing the will of the people. It may consider a few reservations about this, such as the paradox of voting or rent-seeking behavior. However the situation where a minority has control over the government and uses this control in large part for its own benefit is not discussed nor is it raised, as it should be, as a central question in public economics. As the Freedom in the World 2019 report notes, “between 2005 and 2018, the share of Not Free countries rose to 26 percent, while the share of Free countries declined to 44 percent.” Thus an important part of exploitation is diminishing the freedom of most people, and this is done in a wide variety of ways.
This page gives examples of how it was done in 2019. Also see Staying in power – Struggle for control
In Trump’s Ukraine phone call, aides saw trouble Peter Baker New York Times September 26, 2019
Whistle-blower complaint transcript New York Times September 26, 2019
The complaint filed by an intelligence officer about President Trump’s interactions with the leader of Ukraine.
With ‘Spygate,’ Trump shows how he uses conspiracy theories to erode trust Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman New York Times May 28, 2019 (News analysis)
Trump fans the flames of a racial fire Peter Baker New York Times July 14, 2019 (News analysis)
One of the Hatch Act provisions prohibits political campaigning for most Federal workers while performing their jobs. Federal watchdog agency recommends removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Lisa Rein and Josh Dawsey Washington Post June 13, 2019
What Is the Hatch Act? Explaining why Trump was urged to fire Kellyanne Conway Neil Vigdor and Charlie Savage New York Times June 13, 2019
President Trump has made 10,796 false or misleading claims over 869 days Glen Kessler Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly Washington Post June 10, 2019