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Trump’s Alternative Ethical Universe

LONDON – From the moment Donald Trump entered the US presidential race, the potential for an unprecedented array of ethics violations, stemming from his global business interests, has been a ticking time bomb, set to detonate on January 20, 2017.

Boom.

Plenty of other liberal democracies have experienced elements of authoritarian leadership, including nepotism, limits on freedom of speech or of the press, overtly discriminatory policies, and the abuse of public office for personal gain. But the United States has mostly avoided these traps, owing largely to term limits and a reliable system of checks and balances.

Enter Trump. Upon assuming a powerful position, no effective leader – in government, business, or anywhere else – publicly excoriates future staff; lashes out in response to any and all criticism; disparages highly regarded public figures; or refuses to learn about the issues he or she will have to address. Trump has done all of this and more.