George Soros, the billionaire financier and philanthropist, says that democracy in the West faces a crisis and that Donald Trump is a “would-be dictator” and “con artist.”
“Democracy is now in crisis,” the 86-year-old Soros wrote in an opinion piece published by Project Syndicate.
“Even the US, the world’s leading democracy, elected a con artist and would-be dictator as its president. Although Trump has toned down his rhetoric since he was elected, he has changed neither his behavior nor his advisers. His cabinet comprises incompetent extremists and retired generals.”
In the article, Soros provides a brief timeline of what he says is an erosion of democratic institutions in Europe and the U.S. that ultimately led to Trump’s election day win.
He argued that the 2008 financial crisis laid the groundwork for fractures within the European Union that ultimately led to the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom earlier this year.
“The rise of anti-EU movements further impeded the functioning of institutions,” writes Soros, who donated millions of dollars in support of Hillary Clinton’s White House run. “And these forces of disintegration received a powerful boost in 2016, first from Brexit, then from the election of Donald Trump in the US, and on December 4 from Italian voters’ rejection, by a wide margin, of constitutional reforms.”
Soros goes on to say that the U.S. will be unable to further democracy across the world because it will be “preoccupied with internal struggles in the near future.”
“Trump will have greater affinity with dictators,” predicts Soros, who operates the Open Society Foundations.
Soros says that he is “particularly worried” about the fate of the EU, which he believes is “in danger of coming under the influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Putin “helped Trump get elected” by exploiting “social media companies’ business model to spread misinformation and fake news, disorienting electorates and destabilizing democracies,” added Soros.