Boston Community Church talks democracy in the age of Trump


Caroline Enos/ Journal Contributor

Pulitzer prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston speaks to the Boston Community Church on Friday Night

The Boston Community Church held an event last Thursday called, “Democracy in the Age of Trump,” in which journalist David Cay Johnston spoke about how American Democracy is directly at risk due to suppressive voting restrictions and taxation trends.

Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter who has covered Trump for more than 30 years. He is also the founder of, a non-profit news service, and published part of Trump’s 2005 tax return last year.

“Everything I’ve predicted before the election has come true with one exception,” said Johnston. “I never imagined that the Republicans would just fold– there’d be no oversight, no questioning, no pursuit.”

“We may see the end of America,” said Johnston. “Democracy is never over, we have to keep working on it. And sometimes you lose and sometimes you lose completely. I’m very afraid we could lose completely, and we need to never forget that.”

“Everything I’ve predicted before the election has come true with one exception, I never imagined that the Republicans would just fold– there’d be no oversight, no questioning, no pursuit.” ”

— Investigative Reporter, David Cay Johnston

According to a Pew Research study, White voters are more likely to affiliate with the Republican party and the majority of people who voted for Trump were White.

To Johnston, this is no coincidence.

“Throughout the Civil Rights Movement, we saw the expansion of more people being able to vote,” said Johnston. “The Republicans have been subtly undoing this.”

Johnston noted that since the 1970s, professional Republicans, those who work for the party and make their living through it, have stressed that America’s racial demographics oppose the party due to the rising number of non-white American births.

“There’s a calculated campaign to destroy our democracy,” said Johnston. “The Republicans know that they cannot be the majority. They can only rule if they maintain power by keeping people from voting and by having an ideologically minded Supreme Court.”

On Oct. 9, the Supreme Court upheld a new North Dakota policy that requires citizens to have a street address listed on their IDs in order to vote. Native Americans who live on reservations use P.O. boxes instead of street addresses, making their ID invalid for voting unless they get a street address before the voting season.

Johnston said that in Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is the Republican candidate for governor, has removed 1.4 million voter registrations since 2012. Kemp has also put 53,000 voter registrations aside in the months leading up to the election, and 70 percent of these registrations are African-American.

“The Republicans have been doing this before Trump came along, and it is a growing, blatant appeal to racism,” said Johnston.

Trump and the Republicans have claimed that their main concern is putting the working class American first. To Johnston, the Republican’s recently passed tax bill shows that this is not the case.

The bill did little for local businesses and heavily favored major corporations, such as giving a 70 percent discount on taxes to multinational corporations if they built factories overseas. Under the bill, 80 percent of its benefits go to people in the top one percent.

“When the age of Reagan began with his election in 1980, the era of the New Deal ended,” said Johnston. “Reagan said the people who are creating the wealth in this country are not enjoying ‘the fruits of their labor’ because of tax laws that take too much of it and make it too difficult.”

Republicans have promoted Reaganomics and the trickle-down theory, or tax cuts for the wealthy, as important ways to provide businesses with more money to take risks and create jobs.

“We get them the money to do this by taking it away from children, the disabled and the elderly- by taking it from people who can’t fight back,” said Johnston, referencing Republican criticism of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

As these types of economic and voting systems continue to be put into place, Johnston believes we can only restore America’s democracy through social organizations, automatic voter registration, labor unions and a stronger reach for bipartisanship.