Donald Trump is very dangerous but eventually he will lose

When Donald Trump was a nominee in 2015/2015 I was very surprised that Trump, despite his apparent incompetence and amorality, appeared to be practically unstoppable. First, he defeated one after the other of his Republican rivals. 

Then, he defeated one after the other of opponents within the Republican party establishment. Rivals, who clearly saw Trump for what he was (a liar, a narcissist, a con man, an autocrat) like Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, turned into loyalists. 

Many people aware of Trump's autocratic ambitions said that checks and balances would prevent a slide into autocracy. But journalist and author Masha Gessen warned: "Institutions will not save you". What happened next?

Trump warned he would be an autocrat

In this post from March, 2016, I warned that, in his rallies, Trump used rhetoric which resembles that of dictators like Hitler. This method is: 

  1. suppress rationality by 
  2. creating fear by mentioning threats (true or imagined) from outside (China, Mexicans, etc.) and within (Obama, the deep state, etc.) so that you can 
  3. take control and 
  4. legitimize violence and law breaking. 
I warned that this approach will never be successful for citizens in the long run and argued for rationality. 

In this post, from July 2016, I mentioned that Trump was open in his sympathies for authoritarian leaders (and the undemocratic regimes they run) and in his intentions to apply their methods in the USA. 

The USA is already becoming an autocracy

It would be a mistake to say that Trump has failed to achieve his goals as a president. It would also be a mistake to say that American democracy is just 'in danger'. 

Why do I say that? Because Trump has already taken successful steps to turn the US into an autocracy and American democracy is already harmed. In other words, he is doing what he wanted to do. American democracy is not just 'in danger'. It is already seriously damaged.

Trump has attacked the separation of powers and so far he appears to have largely won this battle:

  1. Trump has subjected Congress to his will by gaining practically full control over the Senate
  2. Trump has appointed judges in record numbers and appears to have a majority of loyalists in the Supreme Court
  3. He has undermined the FBI, ignored the CIA and undermined or deconstructed many government agencies and watchdogs.
  4. He has attacked the press has been effective at eroding the credibility of the press 

His own misconduct, crimes and impeachable offenses seem to continue to go unpunished:
  1. Trump lies constantly and has found many spokespersons and all members of his administration willing to do the same. An army of liars. 
  2. He and members of his family illegally use his presidency to enrich themselves
  3. Crimes of Trump loyalists are pardoned by him.  
  4. He has solicited foreign influence in the US elections, is now actively undermining fair elections and won't commit to a peaceful transfer of power when he loses the election. 
  5. Trump has strengthened ties with dictators and harmed relationships with traditional US allies
  6. Trump's tax and debt problems make him vulnerable to blackmail by foreign powers.
  7. He has installed concentration camps at the South border and  there are now allegations that hysterectomies were being performed on immigrants in the US without their proper consent.
  8. His mishandling of and lies about the Covid-19 pandemic caused many ten thousands of unnecessary deaths.

If this is not an autocracy, what is?

What worried me then, what worries me now

In the short term, it is not certain at all that Trump will not win a second term. I think that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is right in saying that Trump will do anything at all to win, no matter how immoral or illegal. And he may win. Especially when the democrats still do not have found a credible and competent candidate and policy.

What worried me in 2016 is that such an incompetent madman like Trump might in fact become president. What worries me now is that many Americans at this point still do not seem to see the clear and present danger that Trump actually is. 

Within a few months we will know whether Trump will have succeeded in getting his second term as a president. I hope he will not, I fear he will.

Eventually, Trump will lose

But eventually Trump will go down. People now appearing to be fully under Trump's control and prepared to lie for him, like Bill Barr, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Pence, Peter Navarro, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Mike Pompeo, Larry Kudlow, Nikki Haley, Rand Paul, Steve Mnuchin, Kayleigh McEnany, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, John Barrasso, Marco Rubio, Tim Murtaugh, James Comer, Jim Jordan, Mark Short, Matt Gaetz, Kevin McCarthy, Sarah Sanders, Brian Morgenstern, Steve Cortes, Jason Miller, Scott Walker, etc. may end up like Michael Cohen. Whenever he will think they will have lost their usefulness to him, or get themselves into legal trouble, he will be prepared to distance himself from them completely and show no loyalty whatsoever.

But staying loyal to Trump is a losing game anyway. Trump will go on creating chaos and problems in the USA and distance the USA further from traditional allies. He is not only a problem to the US, to an ever-larger extent, he is a problem to the world as well. 

He will lose in the end and his loyalists will see they bet on the wrong horse.

Comments

  1. Karen Stenner talks about the authoritarian personality trait based on her research:

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/authoritarian-populism-and-authoritarian-voters.html

    This provides an interesting psychological explanation for US politics.

    Part of her explanation is that those leaning towards the authoritarian personality trait were feeling so threatened that they backed Trump. (and I expect will continue to support him as long as he is the 'Anti-Left' no matter what else he does.)

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