Lots of folks are finally paying attention to the rise of authoritarianism here in the U.S. They are right to be concerned. Scholars have seen worrisome signs all along. Trump has dismissed nonpartisan career officials and replaced them with loyalists. He has fired the independent inspectors general. He denies Congress’s right and duty to investigate members of the Executive Branch. He has used the Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement officers of the Executive Branch as a private army. He has packed the courts. He has used the government to advance the interests of himself and his family, which he has installed into government positions. He has solicited help from foreign governments to get reelected. And he and his cronies are trying to undermine our election by preemptively saying the Democrats are committing fraud and by slowing down mail service when voters need to be able to mail in their ballots.
He. Is. A. TRAITOR. And every Republican who supports him, from the semi-literate dumb bunny clerk at the local shop I go to who got glassy-eyed repeating every Trump Lie as the gospel truth, to the fascist scum in the Portland convoy this weekend, to the scum like Ron Johnson and every other Republican Senator other than Mittens Rmoney (which amazes me to say that), who enable his treason. A charge of conspiracy to commit treason only needs one act by one member of the conspiracy, for the rest to be guilty. Lock. Them. All. Up. For-goddamned-ever.
As Teddy Roosevelt said, The Presidency is "a bully pulpit", i.e. a terrific platform from which to advocate an agenda (Google's definition). Trump is on the news every night, spewing his venom to one audience or another, ensuring that he is omnipresent. Whether he is outrageous, lying about statistics, denigrating someone, inflaming tensions, or falsely showing empathy, the fact is he is OMNIPRESENT. Meanwhile, as you wrote, Joe Biden "issued a statement" from his basement in Delaware. The statement may be well-written, sound and truthful, but who sees it? What TV station will give it air time? Trump is calling to the faithful from the pulpit while Biden is writing messages from the crypt. Joe and Kamala need to be seen; they need to be on the nightly news; they need to get their message out, and they need to fight fire with fire!
I’m not a scholar and I saw the signs during his first month in office.
This is going to be a long response – an excerpt from my journal written in real time my feelings about the election that set us on this authoritarian path. I am no scholar, but I too was aware from the beginning.
November 8, 2016
Today, I turn 72 years of age. And, as happened twice over my lifetime (1960 & 1988), this is a presidential election day (I was born the day after election day in 1944 - Franklin D. Roosevelt's 4th term).
The other event of this day - the General Election in which I have voted since November 5, 1968 and which I have voted in a dozen presidential elections, always for the Democrat candidate, tho not always registered as a Democrat, usually Independent and occasionally Socialist.
I was a supporter of Barak Obama, the first Biracial President of the United States (calling him black is a deference to the Jim Crow era "one drop rule"). And, altho I am not pleased with Hillary Clinton and the DNC sandbagging Bernie Sanders in this primary I did vote for her in this election as the lesser of two evils and hope that today I also see the first female elected President of the United States.
As for the greater of the two evils, there is no comparison and I dread to think that Donald Trump should win this election. He is unqualified for the office both in temperament and experience. He has garnered a large following of ignorant, ill-educated, disaffected ppl who lack critical thot in buying his empty platitudes of false promises. What we thot was a joke with this bombastic, crude, undignified showman has turned into a fearful moment as he may actually win this election today.
For the duration of his campaign leading up to this day he has been shown, often in his own careless words, to be an abuser of women, disrespectful of the handicapped and veterans who gave their lives or were prisoners of war, immigrants and Muslims. His followers hang on his every word, yet do not see when he keeps speaking and contradicts almost everything he says. They seem unconscious to his visibly pathological narcissism. He cares for nothing but Donald Trump and has no instance of ever assisting anyone else. He is a despicable person and yet there is that bothersome large following of ppl who now see an outlet for their anger in physical attacks on minorities whom Trump has lambasted in his diatribes, a tactic taken from the Nazi playbook of the beginning of my life.
Even if Trump loses today, he has brot forth the nasty, deplorable hidden underbelly of America. We can no longer delude ourselves of the progress we have made since those days of racism, sexism, and abuses of just a generation ago in my childhood.
This is the most frightening election I have experienced in my lifetime, not so much for me, I've likely only got a decade or two left, but for my grandsons and great grandsons I am concerned for what decline in our nation is to come.
UPDATE - NOVEMBER 9, 2016
THE IGNORANT MASSES IN THE U.S. ELECTED DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENT
I cannot adequately express my feelings right now. From disappointment at the stupidity of the majority of ppl in my nation to rage at the grievous mistake that they have foisted on us. It is actually a feeling in my gut this morning that so many could be so stupid to make this unqualified, disgusting, person their leader. I am ashamed to be American today and dread to await the damage to hard-won civil rights advances we have made in my lifetime.
Pre-Civil War Presidents also interferred with the mails...then one of the few federal services...to stop distribution of Abolitionist literature in Southern States as a sop to their existing oligarchic governments....it didn't prevent the war. In the 1930s the French didn't react when hitler rearmed and occupied militarily the Saar overturning the international agreement forbidding precisely that. Then Chamberlain and Daladier thought it wasn't worth fighting to prevent the Anschluss and even facilitated the dismemberment of Czeckoslovakia in the cause of "Peace in our Time". There is no appeasing a would-be dictator...nor a schoolyard bully as he will just see that as weakness which allows him to go further. Stand up and say NO all together, stand your ground TOGETHER and fight the good fight with all your might, brains and individual and collective courage and WE will prevail. We in Europe are with you all the way because he will enable others to take away our freedom too if he can do it at home.
As i see it we are going to see the skies darken much further till the year end and then the light will start to return. Make no mistake however it will not be the same world as episodes like this are highly destructive of our institutions and our lifestyle. We will be rebuilding it differently, but in the sunshine, once this passes...as it will.
From today's letter: "Trump has dismissed nonpartisan career officials and replaced them with loyalists. He has fired the independent inspectors general. He denies Congress’s right and duty to investigate members of the Executive Branch. He has used the Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement officers of the Executive Branch as a private army. He has packed the courts. He has used the government to advance the interests of himself and his family, which he has installed into government positions. " What is the difference between this and every tin-pot dictator? The next step (following China, Russia, North Korea and many African countries) is to make himself President-for Life.
HCR, thank you for the clear eyed view of this disastrous and dangerous Administration's gas lighting attempts from every angle. It amazes me how many people fall for Trumps bluster every day. We are living the Barnum and Bailey ideology. How do people not see this bullshit being shoveled daily on their heads and yet say more please?
In April 2016 when I first realized DT could become the GOP nominee I spent two weeks delving into the study of narcissistic personality disorder. DT could be the poster child for NPD. Jim Jones is given as the example of what happens in the end stage of NPD where his followers drank the cyanide and valium laced Koolaid. DT is desparate so there is no limit to what he might do. We need a concerted effort to wake up the silent sycophant Republicans enabling DT. None of the senior Republican politicians except McConnell and Pompeo spoke at the RNC, so they are trying to distant themselves from DT. What will it take to get them to speak up? If they would stand together they could turn the tide rather then cower in fear of picked off one by one. When are they become statesmen and save America rather than a party which is on its death throes anyway?
Not going to lie, this letter made my palms sweat. I live in Wisconsin in some very red territory. My sincere hope is that enough people open their eyes and see Trump for what he really is, a dictator wannabe emulating his dictator idols.
Two things about this narrative deeply disturb me. The first is the fact that after the very long list of authoritarian and actually unlawful things that tRump is doing, the cowardly Republicans in office are still looking the other way. We expect that our leaders who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution will actually do so when it is needed. And the second thing is that we are not hearing full throated denouncements of how he is stoking the violence. On TV and in the news! Steven Henry commented below about Biden issuing a statement from the basement and he is 100% correct. The media gave candidate tRump all the free coverage he needed to get elected in 2016. Now they need to atone for their sins and give the coverage that we need to save this country.
I thought that this community of supporters was safe from trolls. Apparently not. I think you know who I am referring to.
The same thing is happening now as happened in 2016. The news media (esp. liberal media) is giving publicity to Trump by focusing all of the airtime on every single one of his utterances. They discuss them ad nauseam. More attention needs to be given to Joe Biden. His policies should be covered. His speeches should be covered. The democratic platform should be covered. The only place I hear extended interviews with Biden, Harris, or any other prominent democrats is on late night talk shows. This is nowhere near enough publicity. The airwaves should be flooded. The adds the Lincoln Project puts out daily are very effective. Why isn't the media giving them airtime.?
The doing away with The Fairness Doctrine has made it exceedingly important for candidates to be very assertive about getting their messages out, especially when challenging an incumbent.
It's true that Joe Biden is modeling good behavior by not going out and speaking during a pandemic. Sadly, this is not serving his campaign well. He must get out more often. He must get to the swing states. He does not have to do "Donald Trump Style Rallies". He could do small, outdoor rallies with social distancing and masks. He needs to make sure to have his P.R. people get him coverage at these rallies.
The national media needs to give those rallies as much time as they give to trying to analyze why he doesn't wear a mask. We already know why. Of course, the news media has to cover Trump because he is the president. They don't need to have the "All Trump, All the Time" show.
I’m thinking about this idea of tRump stoking violence and unrest so that people will turn to him to “save them”. Could these recent “dust-ups” between American and Russian military be scripted to accomplish the same goal?? Could this be a deliberate and scripted narrative between tRump and Putin to stoke fear of war with Russia from which only tRump can save us??
I've become paranoid about Russia's interference. Am I being unreasonable to think that Russia's cyber-ops will determine election results, not only for president, but for Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and other key senate races?
What a scumbag he is.
As your letter makes clear, a slow-motion overthrow of our democracy is underway and has been for some time. It's staring us in the face. The election is our only hope, and the best path to victory is to put protests on hold and deprive Trump of the one issue that he could possibly ride to victory.