Crossing The Rubicon Of Totalitarianism

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/​2​0​1​6​/​3​/​1​/​1​1​1​2​7​4​2​4​/​t​r​u​m​p​-​a​u​t​h​o​r​i​t​a​r​i​a​n​ism.

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.

file pho­tos show the 2016 Republican pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates who had at the time offi­cial­ly declared their inten­tion to run for the pres­i­den­cy.

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.