In a compelling Article on the website [Vox.com]titled [the rise of American authotarianism] Journalist, Amanda Taub wrote, Vanderbilt University, professor Marc Hetherington and University of North Carolina’s Jonathan Weiler, had essentially predicted Trump’s rise back in 2009, when they discovered something that would turn out to be far more significant than they then realized.
Hetherington and Weiler published a book about the effects of authoritarianism on American politics. Through a series of experiments and careful data analysis, they had come to a surprising conclusion: Much of the polarization dividing American politics was fueled not just by gerrymandering or money in politics or the other oft-cited variables, but by an unnoticed but surprisingly large electoral group — authoritarians.
Their book concluded that the GOP, by positioning itself as the party of traditional values and law and order, had unknowingly attracted what would turn out to be a vast and previously bipartisan population of Americans with authoritarian tendencies.
This trend had been accelerated in recent years by demographic and economic changes such as immigration, which “activated” authoritarian tendencies, leading many Americans to seek out a strongman leader who would preserve a status quo they feel is under threat and impose order on a world they perceive as increasingly alien. https://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism.
The rise of Trump reflects what I have always believed to be a response to a deeper more severe and dangerous underlying problem in the American body-politic. As a consequence, Donald Trump is merely a symptom of that more severe condition which may actually be more cancerous than the sniffles of a passing cold.
[Vox.com[ explains, 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.
Could Donald Trump have seen this as researchers including a Ph.D. student and a Professor named in the Vox article saw it as far back as 2009? During the 2016 Presidential election campaign, Donald Trump embarked on a systematic evisceration of his political opponents.
He used to his advantage, a simple yet highly effective strategy of utilizing names which pejoratively belittled his primary opponents, effectively making them seem smaller and weaker, vanquishing them in the process.
Labels like low energy Jeb, little Marco, Crazy Bernie,, Lying Ted,[irony be damned]Sleeping Ben, are just a few of the pejoratives he used on his primary opponents and he did not stop there. Whi;e competing for the nomination he had already carved out “crooked Hillary for the general elections. Later Lying James Comey, Pochantas,Liddle Bob Corker, sleepy eyes Chuck Todd Al Frankenstein, Lamb the sham, Crazy Joe Biden and a slew of other insulting and demeaning names were to follow.
Donald Trump for all of his shortcomings may very well be stupid as a Fox. After all how else would he have the gall to refuse to show his tax returns when previous presidential candidates dating back several decades had willingly complied with such request?
What did he see which prompted him in 2016 to predict he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and he would not lose a single vote? Or maybe wore consequentially why did he say he loves the uneducated, responding to polls which showed in 2016 that the bulk of his support was with white non-college educated older voters.
One of the narratives which came out of the 2016 elections was that there was a large chunk of voters who have not bothered to vote in previous elections. Some Democrats who would rather wish facts away simply brushed this possibility aside, I didn’t. Driving down to South Carolina using route 81 from upstate New York through the countryside of Pennsylvania, West Virginia I was stunned at the number of Trump billboards and yard-signs for the entirety of the Journey.
I pointed out to my wife that there was something going on that was not reflected in the various polls.
I expected the yard-signs in West Virginia, southern Virginia, Ohio, but upstate New York and Pennsylvania not so much. Say what you want about the unscientific nature of a yard sign poll but the erection and tolerance of yard signs in a neighborhood tell a story of its own.
On election day the lines I saw in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida Nevada and other states snaking for blocks around polling sites seemed eerily like something yet unseen.
Again I turned to my best friend, my wife and opined to her “these lines of people seem older, more determined, less diverse”, in short, not Hillary Clinton voters.
My yard sign poll was vindicated on election night. Yes, Pennsylvania went to Donald Trump.
Whether or not the Russian interference had any measurable impact on the elections of 2016 is a question which we may never get the answer to. Whether we believe that the Russians were able to change votes or not, or whether we believe that there is a large groundswell of baked in support for Trump which will silently come out and vote for him yet again in the 2018 elections is yet to be seen.
Or whether both scenarios are definite possibilities the prospect does not look good for those opposed to the rise of Trump. In the meantime, Trump speaks about his presidency in monarchistic terms, he coyly floats the idea of remaining president for life hoping to see how it will be received by the public.
Some say “ah he is just joking” I think not, he loves authoritarian figures, Kim Jung Un, he loves the way Kim’s people sit up and pay attention to him, he wants that for himself.
He jokes about being president for life as he praises China’s Xi Jinping.
He praises Turkeys, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, admires the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, glows in the dome of the orb of the brutal and callous Saudi Human rights abusers and loves Netanyahu a man who has his soldiers kill innocent unarmed civilians and aid workers in the occupied territories.
In essence, all of the actions he takes and the people he admires falls in line with his aspirations to fill the role for which he yearned and for which his support structure are prepared to see.
The sad state of affairs is that whether we acknowledge it or not the United States has already passed the Rubicon for what America had long chastised other countries.
The question for all is whether as humans who populate this planet we are prepared to accept that the United States under Donald Trump is very well on its way toward totalitarianism and becoming a fascist police state.