Is 2024 the year when Americans choose between democracy and authoritarianism?

We have questions: Is America drifting from constituional democracy and rule-of-law toward an authoritarian White House? Should former President Donald Trump be taken at his word that if reelected he will weaponize government against his political and personal enemies? Are we ignoring those signals as nothing more than performance bluster at our peril? What would an authoritarian Commander in Chief mean to the day-to-day life of Americans? And what are the responsibilities of news media when a major party candidate routinely engages in lies and personal attacks on opponents? Could the 2024 presidential election be the most consequential of our lives? These are questions being raised as the 2024 general election nears - uncomfortable questions many of us in media never dreamed we would be expected to raise.  They are the basis of this special Eastern Standard series.