It is often those who warn of democracy’s demise, should power not be granted them, who preside, ultimately, over its unseemly death. So it seems to be with Donald Tusk, who, in December and for the third time, became Poland’s prime minister. Poland’s predicament since has thrust the country — a member of the North Atlantic Treaty — into turmoil. For America, too, it is a cautionary tale of electoral consequences.

“We will chase away the darkness, chase away the evil,” Prime Minister Tusk said following his election on December 11. “Everything will be according to the law, as we understand it.” What a curious understanding, indeed, it is and could turn out further to be.

In recent weeks – and in the name of political impartiality – Mr. Tusk’s government has commandeered Polish public broadcasters. The management and supervisory boards of TVP, Polskie Radio, and the Polish Press Agency have been sacked and replaced by those chosen by culture minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, a move since rejected on constitutional grounds by a Warsaw district court, subject to appeal.