Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Two views of King Donald the Dangerous

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asks Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late? She reviews the rise of authoritarians, including our own would-be king, and concludes that “Fascism poses a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II.”

… the possibility that fascism will be accorded a fresh chance to strut around the world stage is enhanced by the volatile presidency of Donald Trump.

At one time or another, Mr. Trump has attacked the judiciary, ridiculed the media, defended torture, condoned police brutality, urged supporters to rough up hecklers and — jokingly or not — equated mere policy disagreements with treason. He tried to undermine faith in America’s electoral process through a bogus advisory commission on voter integrity. He routinely vilifies federal law enforcement institutions. He libels immigrants and the countries from which they come. His words are so often at odds with the truth that they can appear ignorant, yet are in fact calculated to exacerbate religious, social and racial divisions. Overseas, rather than stand up to bullies, Mr. Trump appears to like bullies, and they are delighted to have him represent the American brand. If one were to draft a script chronicling fascism’s resurrection, the abdication of America’s moral leadership would make a credible first scene.

Robert Reich explains why Trump Untethered is a clear and present danger to our democracy in The Truth About an Untethered Trump (also reprinted in this morning’s Daily Star).

The petulant adolescent in the White House – who has replaced most of the adults around him with raging sycophants and has demoted his chief of staff, John Kelly, to lapdog – lacks adequate supervision.

Before, he was merely petty and vindictive … Now his vindictiveness has turned cruel.

“He’s now president for life,” Trump recently said of Xi Jinping, adding “maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.” Some thought Trump was joking. I’m not so sure.

Democracies require leaders who understand that their primary responsibility is to protect the institutions and processes democracy depends on. The new Trump seems intent on maintaining his power, whatever it takes.

Democracies also require enough social trust that citizens regard those they disagree with as being worthy of an equal say, so they’ll accept political outcomes they dislike. The new Trump is destroying that trust.

Trump untethered isn’t just a more petty, vindictive, and belligerent version of his former self. He’s also more willing to sacrifice American democracy to his own ends. Which makes him more dangerous than ever.

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