How Donald Trump is activating authoritarianism in the US

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America’s appetite for what Donald Trump is cooking appears to be resilient. He espouses rhetoric, inaccuracies and hurls insults with inspired confidence. His narcissism is viewed as ability, and he speaks of himself with superlatives, which makes his “fans” believe he can accomplish what others cannot.

Political scientists are reviewing their work, looking into why the Trump political steamroller continues to defy and yes, amaze. People who are afraid of radical Islam, and look at the problems facing Europe, want to stave off such a fate in the US. But they do not want to appear racist, xenophobic, or politically incorrect. They now have Donald Trump for that, a perceived strongman, willing to say what they are thinking.

Middle America, dismayed by the unreasonable debt burden blame the banks, hedge funds and corporate raiders who continue to flourish almost unchallenged. They see Trump as a guy who has a self-financed political campaign, thumbing his nose at the rich elite. Ironically this is a group he sits near the top with the exalted title of “Mr. Trump.” He’s quick to boast about how rich he is. His long rants on the stump are not about policies, but are platitudes mixed with bizarre name-calling and gutter nonsense. You would not want your children to emulate his behavior or his style. And yet, here we are!

I read with fascination, a post in by Amanda Taub, Senior Sadness Correspondent and human rights lawyer. She examines far better than I could do, America’s fascination with the authoritarian message that is growing with little consideration for the constitutional repercussions or international consequences.

For me, it boils down to should he be given the nuclear codes. There is no simple solution to ending America’s problems. Not a wall, not a denial of visas, not forcing American soldiers to violate international law, not egging supporters to attack the press and certainly not boasting about penis size.

It was shocking to hear Donald Trump’s insistence that the military would follow his orders to commit torture. We are reviled by the political handiwork of Idi Amin, Slobodan Malosovic, Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler. Do we want to add an American to that list? Should we follow in the footsteps of a man who bilked thousands through a phony university? Can we trust a man who refuses to reject out of hand the support of white supremacists? Can we believe a man who talks about jobs going overseas while profiting from a clothing line made entirely in China? With such opportunism, there is nothing that says Trump cannot continue to run his business empire if elected president. America should proceed with caution.

Supporters would say that Trump walked back many of his insane statements. Trump says that he is learning, evolving.” But with such a dangerous baseline to work from, where would America’s security be when he is challenged “in the moment” by crisis after crisis if elected President? This is a man who vows to punish the press and even threatened the GOP House Leader Paul Ryan, that if he crossed him, he’d be sorry!

Does the Right want to win back the White House so badly that they would support a man who re-writes America’s fabric of compassion, intellectual sharpness and reason with a black crayon?

How did we get here? I think Ms. Taub has a good handle on some of the triggers taking America headlong into fascism and authoritarianism. Taub writes:

“How do people come to adopt, in such large numbers and so rapidly, extreme political views that seem to coincide with fear of minorities and with the desire for a strongman leader?

 To answer that question, these theorists study what they call authoritarianism: not the dictators themselves, but rather the psychological profile of people who, under the right conditions, will desire certain kinds of extreme policies and will seek strongman leaders to implement them.”

You can check out Ms. Taub’s post on VOX here.

And you can follow Will Wright on Twitter: @willjwright

visit some other political posts by Will J. Wright..






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