Home Book editor Watergate reporter Bob Woodward warns democracy is fragile after Donald Trump

Watergate reporter Bob Woodward warns democracy is fragile after Donald Trump


Australia and the world are right to worry about the future of democracy after Donald Trump’s presidency, according to award-winning journalist and Washington Post deputy editor Bob Woodward.

The journalist, best known for his coverage of the Watergate scandal, told ABC Radio Melbourne that the survival of democracy is essential to the survival of the United States and Australia.

“Democracy is really fragile,” he told Virginia Trioli.

Woodward expects the future of American politics to be defined by two words: uncertainty and surprise.

“Anything is possible, that’s why it’s dangerous”

For years voters believed that once there is an election and a count is made, it is a “deal” the loser will concede.

After researching his latest book Peril, along with fellow Washington Post reporter Robert Costa, Woodward says Trump is proof that this is no longer a certainty.

“It’s a scary prospect for Americans, and I think people in Australia and around the world,” he said.

Over the past four years, Woodward has written three books examining the behind the scenes of the Trump presidency and the transition to Joe Biden.

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“We’re not paying enough attention”: listen to Woodward with Virginia Trioli
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Having “lived” Trump since 2016, Woodward believes there is a “high probability” that he will run for president again and win the Republican nomination – although many want to take the party back to its roots.

“A lot of prominent Republicans in Congress… if you talk to them informally, in private, they have immense contempt for Trump,” he said.

“They see what he is but they realize he has this hold, this hold, over those tens of millions of Republican and other voters.”

On whether Trump will be re-elected, Woodward says a lot of people think it’s unlikely, but he’s keeping an open mind.

An older man in a black suit jacket with a blue shirt and tie.
Bob Woodward says it is “very likely” that Trump will run in the next US presidential election.(Provided: Lisa Berg)

“We need to listen to Trump supporters”

From the moment Trump first announced he was running for office until today, relations between his supporters and the media have been strained.

Many mainstream commentators have dismissed the fact that it would ever be possible for Trump to make it to the Oval Office, and they have not listened to the concerns of his base of supporters.

Woodward believes the US and international media are making the same mistake once again.

“You have to listen,” he said.

While many still cheer Trump on and like what he has to say, Woodward says we should take note.

“I think that is frankly misunderstood and that we do not pay enough attention to it in this country.”

Despite the difficulties ahead, Woodward says he still has faith in the American political system.

“We have our times when the sea is very rough and that is expected in a democracy,” he said.

“Warren Buffett, the most successful investor of all time, said, ‘never bet against America’, and I think that’s true.”