Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Donald Trump, American Dictator

Trump is a dickhead, but he’s too lazy and incompetent to be an actual strong man dictator. Trump is not a “man of action.” He is a man of talk who doesn’t know how to back it up. I don’t really see him being a Putin or Erdogan, much less a Saddam Hussein or Mussolini. Not even a Duterte. He’s more Silvio Berlusconi.

By Umair Haque

By now, you’ve probably heard that Donald Trump announced he wants to…delay the election. Cue a firestorm. So. How should you read this?

Is it just a stunt? A diversion, from the many, many ways Trump’s Presidency has failed — from 150,000 dead, to the 18th straight week of more than a million filing for unemployment? Or is it something darker? It’s all of that, and more. When an authoritarian — or an aspiring one — makes pronouncements like this, they don’t just serve one function. There’s no need for the binary logic of pundits.

Trump’s call to postpone an election is indeed a stunt and a misdirection — but it’s also just what it appears to be: an authoritarian delegitimizing democracy.

How dangerous is that? It’s very, very, very dangerous.

It’s deeply — deeply — naive to say something like: “Trump can’t postpone the election because he doesn’t have the power to!” Delaying an election is an abuse of power, the kind authoritarian collapses are made of, and Trump’s whole Presidency has been one long abuse of power, leading up to this, the big one. The Constitution? Don’t kid yourself. Trump doesn’t care about it much, from emoluments to aiding enemies to protecting people’s rights. Power, abusing it, is what you can get away with in a collapsing society. The question is: “can Trump get away with delaying or thwarting the election?”


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