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Can Trump (or Pence) establish a dictatorship in America?
#1
From Foreign Affairs Magazine. The article is dated, so I can largely dispense with the introduction.
[/url]Voice

10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator

Just because the United States is a democracy now, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way.
By [url=https://foreignpolicy.com/author/stephen-m-walt/]Stephen M. Walt


| November 23, 2016, 9:02 AM




Quote:Given what is at stake, one of the most important things we can all do is remain alert for evidence that Trump and those around him are moving in an authoritarian direction. For those who love America and its Constitution more than they love any particular political party or any particular politician, I offer as a public service my top 10 warning signs that American democracy is at risk.



Here is an article well worth the read. I will give only analysis to the points.


1. Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.


The President has certainly tried to humiliate the news media. At his campaign-style rallies, participants have threatened journalists, and the President has failed to condemn such behavior. So far it looks more impulsive than systematic, but do something consistently enough on impulse and one gets systematic results.

2. Building an official pro-Trump media network.

Not likely, but he can be satisfied with the likes of FoX News Channel, Breitbart, and (for the 'deplorable' people of little intellectual talent or self-control) the National Enquirer.

3. Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or the domestic security agencies. 


Probably the definitive hazard to democracy. He already acts as if people in government service of any kind are to do his political and intellectual dirty work. The civil service, the police, the military, and the intelligence services are usually in the hands of any dictator. He has not succeeded at such -- think of the investigation by Robert Mueller and others of his cronies.

4. Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents. 


Having been done by Richard Nixon against anti-war groups through infiltration, such is possible again. Legitimate scrutiny of money-launderers and users of child porn  can easily go to investigation of the financial records and computer use of dissidents.

5. Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents.

Patronage is the essence of dictatorial governments -- rewarding supporters with grants, graft, or opportunities denied others -- and injuring those who fail to support the Leadership. No matter what the formality of the economic system is, government rewards at the least followers.

Outright graft can usually be hidden if the news media are under government control or otherwise corrupt. But the rewards could be admissions and scholarships to college, low-rate loans for businesses or residential real estate, tax breaks, privatization of public assets on the cheap, or rapid advancement in the military or in the civil service... and on the other side, discriminatory taxation or regulation of the 'wrong' people.

6. Stacking the Supreme Court.


So far the President has selected Justices who concur with his ideology, and as the elderly Justices die off or retire we could easily end up with Supreme Court decisions that go 8-1 (Sonia Sotomayor dissenting). I can imagine states deciding that it is acceptable to execute people for simple larceny... and an 8-1 decision in favor of such. Or perhaps restoring debt-bondage -- again, an 8-1 decision.

(May such an America lose its next war so that it can be delivered, as were Germany, Italy, and Japan, from such horror and more!)

7. Enforcing the law for only one side. 

Basically, if black people do not support the President and his policies, then black lives do not matter. People will face unequal enforcement of regulations from zoning to noise abatement. A protest against the regime's policies could be halted for noise levels, but a raucous celebration of the regime's ideology will not face any monitoring by noise meters. The legal system could become a veritable Apartheid in itself.

8. Really rigging the system. 

There is no shortage of ways to tamper with the vote, as shown in countries in central and Balkan Europe whose limited experience with formal democracy ended with Stalinist rule. People who show signs of voting 'wrong', or even failing to participate in the 'right' rallies or electioneering, can lose their jobs, get expelled from school, face courts-martial, or face an IRS audit. My fear is that the government will mandate that people vote as their employers dictate, as by requiring them to turn their ballots over to their employers to decide their votes or face a severe fine.

It has not clearly been done yet, but I can imagine it.

[b]9. Fearmongering. [/b]

Already happening. Enough said.

[b]10. Demonizing the opposition.
[/b]
Already happening. Enough said.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#2
"Can Trump (or Pence) establish a dictatorship in America?"

Can they? No.

Do they want to? No.

Are they trying to? No.

Hysteria from totalitarians losing power results in massive projection.
Reply
#3
(08-18-2018, 05:58 PM)justpassingthrough Wrote: "Can Trump (or Pence) establish a dictatorship in America?"

Can they? No.

Do they want to? No.

Are they trying to? No.

Hysteria from totalitarians losing power results in massive projection.

Agreed.

On another thread, I listed a bunch of tropes used by either extreme. The first included a Red fandom of big business, with the Blue favoring big government.  I would favor checks and balances.  I see big business and big government working together, and a need to prevent abuse by the dominant over the many.

That much is hard to deny, the pro big business leanings of the administration, and the need of the common folk to catch up, to negate the surge in profits since Reagan's time.  The Red rejection of the Establishment is in many ways right, but they elected a representative of the swamp.  We are worse off than ever.

The Red have general disgust of their Establishment, but have been unable to find a candidate truly working for them.  The Blue are behind the curve in rejecting their Establishment and may be too fond of the feeding trough environment.  As long as the see saw keeps promising 'power' in four to eight years, with the mid term elections making sure the believed in mandate goes away after two years, the spiral of violence will not take off.  No climax civil war or revolution.  A following of the Industrial Age pattern of a violent climax conflict remains distant.  

The awakening seems more likely to be the decisive turning, not the fourth.  I keep envisioning the next prophet generation as the Green, as committing themselves to issues rejected by the old Establishment like global warming and pro rich greed with a vengeance that puts the boomers to shame. The upheaval could be real.

I have a gut feeling that more tropes need to be rethought, that a common principle can be derived that unites the two extremes.  But how do you unite - for example - the Red belief in self defense and the people being of threat to the government with the Blue belief in arms prohibition?  The extremist clings to their own world view and is not open to thinking through a new idea.  Thus, an endless repeating of the old ideas.
That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
Reply
#4
(08-16-2018, 12:39 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: From Foreign Affairs Magazine. The article is dated, so I can largely dispense with the introduction.
[/url]Voice

10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator

Just because the United States is a democracy now, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way.
By [url=https://foreignpolicy.com/author/stephen-m-walt/]Stephen M. Walt


| November 23, 2016, 9:02 AM




Quote:Given what is at stake, one of the most important things we can all do is remain alert for evidence that Trump and those around him are moving in an authoritarian direction. For those who love America and its Constitution more than they love any particular political party or any particular politician, I offer as a public service my top 10 warning signs that American democracy is at risk.



Here is an article well worth the read. I will give only analysis to the points.


1. Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.


The President has certainly tried to humiliate the news media. At his campaign-style rallies, participants have threatened journalists, and the President has failed to condemn such behavior. So far it looks more impulsive than systematic, but do something consistently enough on impulse and one gets systematic results.

He has specifically called the media the enemy of the people. So it's more than what participants at his rallies have done.

Quote:2. Building an official pro-Trump media network.

Not likely, but he can be satisfied with the likes of FoX News Channel, Breitbart, and (for the 'deplorable' people of little intellectual talent or self-control) the National Enquirer.

His allies almost created this through the Sinclair broadcasting monopoly buy out of Tribune media, but his own FCC has so far resisted and blocked this.

Quote:3. Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or the domestic security agencies. 


Probably the definitive hazard to democracy. He already acts as if people in government service of any kind are to do his political and intellectual dirty work. The civil service, the police, the military, and the intelligence services are usually in the hands of any dictator. He has not succeeded at such -- think of the investigation by Robert Mueller and others of his cronies.

It could happen, and recently the FBI leader he demonized has been fired. He uses security clearance restrictions to punish critics.

Quote: 4. Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents. 

Having been done by Richard Nixon against anti-war groups through infiltration, such is possible again. Legitimate scrutiny of money-launderers and users of child porn  can easily go to investigation of the financial records and computer use of dissidents.

5. Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents.

Patronage is the essence of dictatorial governments -- rewarding supporters with grants, graft, or opportunities denied others -- and injuring those who fail to support the Leadership. No matter what the formality of the economic system is, government rewards at the least followers.

Outright graft can usually be hidden if the news media are under government control or otherwise corrupt. But the rewards could be admissions and scholarships to college, low-rate loans for businesses or residential real estate, tax breaks, privatization of public assets on the cheap, or rapid advancement in the military or in the civil service... and on the other side, discriminatory taxation or regulation of the 'wrong' people.

6. Stacking the Supreme Court.

So far the President has selected Justices who concur with his ideology, and as the elderly Justices die off or retire we could easily end up with Supreme Court decisions that go 8-1 (Sonia Sotomayor dissenting). I can imagine states deciding that it is acceptable to execute people for simple larceny... and an 8-1 decision in favor of such. Or perhaps restoring debt-bondage -- again, an 8-1 decision.

Yes he is certainly stacking the Courts.

Quote:7. Enforcing the law for only one side. 

Basically, if black people do not support the President and his policies, then black lives do not matter. People will face unequal enforcement of regulations from zoning to noise abatement. A protest against the regime's policies could be halted for noise levels, but a raucous celebration of the regime's ideology will not face any monitoring by noise meters. The legal system could become a veritable Apartheid in itself.

8. Really rigging the system. 

There is no shortage of ways to tamper with the vote, as shown in countries in central and Balkan Europe whose limited experience with formal democracy ended with Stalinist rule. People who show signs of voting 'wrong', or even failing to participate in the 'right' rallies or electioneering, can lose their jobs, get expelled from school, face courts-martial, or face an IRS audit. My fear is that the government will mandate that people vote as their employers dictate, as by requiring them to turn their ballots over to their employers to decide their votes or face a severe fine.

It has not clearly been done yet, but I can imagine it.

Mueller is investigating whether he helped Russia rig the system. Trump's political party has been rigging the system with voter suppression and gerrymandering for some time, and their Court has upheld secret financial domination of our system at least through campaign funding.

Quote:[b]9. Fearmongering. [/b]

Already happening. Enough said.

[b]10. Demonizing the opposition.
[/b]
Already happening. Enough said.

Indeed. Trump would make himself dictator in all these ways if he were allowed to get away with it.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#5
(08-18-2018, 06:32 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote:
(08-18-2018, 05:58 PM)justpassingthrough Wrote: "Can Trump (or Pence) establish a dictatorship in America?"

Can they? No.

Do they want to? No.

Are they trying to? No.

Hysteria from totalitarians losing power results in massive projection.

Agreed.

On another thread, I listed a bunch of tropes used by either extreme. The first included a Red fandom of big business, with the Blue favoring big government.  I would favor checks and balances.  I see big business and big government working together, and a need to prevent abuse by the dominant over the many.

That much is hard to deny, the pro big business leanings of the administration, and the need of the common folk to catch up, to negate the surge in profits since Reagan's time.  The Red rejection of the Establishment is in many ways right, but they elected a representative of the swamp.  We are worse off than ever.

The Red have general disgust of their Establishment, but have been unable to find a candidate truly working for them.  The Blue are behind the curve in rejecting their Establishment and may be too fond of the feeding trough environment.  As long as the see saw keeps promising 'power' in four to eight years, with the mid term elections making sure the believed in mandate goes away after two years, the spiral of violence will not take off.  No climax civil war or revolution.  A following of the Industrial Age pattern of a violent climax conflict remains distant.  

The awakening seems more likely to be the decisive turning, not the fourth.  I keep envisioning the next prophet generation as the Green, as committing themselves to issues rejected by the old Establishment like global warming and pro rich greed with a vengeance that puts the boomers to shame.  The upheaval could be real.

I have a gut feeling that more tropes need to be rethought, that a common principle can be derived that unites the two extremes.  But how do you unite - for example - the Red belief in self defense and the people being of threat to the government with the Blue belief in arms prohibition?  The extremist clings to their own world view and is not open to thinking through a new idea.  Thus, an endless repeating of the old ideas.

The gun control debate is certainly a possible trigger to civil war, given the fanaticism of the red side. And it's too early to say that today's polarization won't create a spiral of violence in this 4T. The stalemate is making each side more and more frustrated; it cannot continue. One way or another, one side will break through and win. My prediction has been for decades that the 2020s would be the decisive decade, not the 2010s, and that the progressive side will win. That does not preclude future pendulum swings, of course, but they need not be totally frustrating and deadlocked, as they are today.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply


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