Trump has created a 'blueprint' for future 'wannabe autocrats' to stay in power: Ex-Bush DHS chief
President Donald Trump speaks at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (StratosBril /

President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election seem to have failed -- but many observers are warning that he's nonetheless put the future of American democracy in real peril.

Michael Chertoff, a former Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, tells the Washington Post that he's disturbed by just how far Trump went in trying to overturn the results of an election that he lost by more than 6 million votes.

"We’ve now seen a blueprint, which has been road-tested in other parts of the world, being adopted by Donald Trump here in the U.S.," he said. "But a more effective and a more skillful want-to-be autocrat could use the same playbook."

Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University, said he was worried about how almost the entire Republican Party has been willing to go along with the president's attacks on American democracy.

“This is the story of the Trump presidency,” he said. “The GOP not only stood behind the president, regardless of what he did, but even as he used his power to attack the basic element of the democratic process, very few took action.”