Trump’s Authoritarian Moment

If there were any doubt remaining that Donald Trump still represents a dire threat to American democracy, the events of this weekend dispelled it. As a new Congress gathers to confirm that the voters chose Joe Biden to be the next President, a proceeding that should be a mere formality, Trump is desperately trying to overturn the result and stay in office. Even more disturbing, large numbers of elected Republicans are joining in this unprecedented effort to reject the popular will. If the Republic gets through the next two weeks without a catastrophe, we must surely take steps to protect ourselves against the next would-be authoritarian, which could well be Trump himself in 2024…

On Saturday, eleven more G.O.P. senators announced their intention to join more than a hundred and forty House Republicans and vote against the Electoral College electors from Georgia and five other states where Trump claims there was voter fraud. Seeking to delay or derail the congressional certification of Biden’s victory, they also demanded the appointment of a bipartisan commission to audit the election results in these states. Soon after this news emerged, Vice-President Mike Pence, a politician who gives invertebrates a bad name, issued a statement saying that he “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”

…In giving credence to the President’s baseless claims that he is being cheated out of office, these prominent Republicans are just making it even more likely that, at least as far as the G.O.P. is concerned, there won’t be a post-Trump future but, instead, another lengthy period in which he and his grievance continue to dominate all else.

This is the fate of a Party that has embraced a populist personality cult—Trumpism—which has recently outed itself as what Steve Schmidt, the campaign strategist who advised John McCain in 2008, called over the weekend “an American autocratic movement with Fascistic markers.” Using plainer English, Stuart Stevens, another Never Trump Republican strategist, who advised Mitt Romney in 2012, summed things up on Twitter: “The bottom line is that the @GOP has become a threat to democracy. I spent decades helping elect members of the party and it’s painful to admit. But it’s a clear and present danger and should be treated as such.” This is primarily Trump’s work, but it’s not just Trump’s work. Not by a long shot.

I was an official Young Republican once. For about three weeks…when a buddy of mine needed a few more warm bodies to help him found a chapter of Young Republicans in our Southern New England town. Then, I wished him the best of luck in his political career and returned to projects closer to my heart: playing a 12-string guitar, supporting the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and philosophical studies in Materialist Dialectics.

Even then, I knew there was a tendency inside the “grown-up” Republican Party to rollover into a full-blown Fascist Party of Putschists.

2 thoughts on “Trump’s Authoritarian Moment

  1. Cassandra says:

    December 10, 2020: “Trump Is Growing the GOP’s ‘Anti–Rule of Law’ Wing” https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/pa-gop-letter-anti-mask-protests-oath-keepers.html
    “…Put all of these developments together — Republican lawmakers finding it politically untenable to affirm the legitimacy of elections that Democrats win, conservative activists lording the threat of violence over adversarial officeholders, a growing body of acting law-enforcement agents who consider themselves the final arbiters of constitutional interpretation, and the broader conversion of nearly all U.S. police officers to the Republican Party — and it’s hard not to wholly dismiss fears about the long-term governability of this Republic.”

  2. Counting coup says:

    “A top official at the Justice Department was prepared to resign in January because of then-President Donald Trump’s “direct instructions” to use the department to push bogus claims of election fraud, CNN reported on Wednesday.
    The official, Patrick Hovakimian, was the chief of staff to acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen. Hovakimian drafted his resignation letter on January 3, anticipating that Trump would fire Rosen and replace him with a loyalist, Jeffrey Clark, CNN said. At the time, Clark was the acting assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s civil division, and he supported Trump’s efforts to intervene in Georgia’s election certification.
    “This evening, after Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen over the course of the last week repeatedly refused the President’s direct instructions to utilize the Department of Justice’s law enforcement powers for improper ends, the President removed Jeff from the Department,” Hovakimian wrote in the draft letter, according to CNN.
    CNN reported that Hovakimian’s letter was addressed to top DOJ officials but never sent because Trump didn’t fire Rosen. The department turned the letter over to the House Oversight and Reform Committee as part of the panel’s investigation into the events that preceded the deadly Capitol insurrection on January 6. The committee also interviewed Hovakimian. CNN reported that he was one of half a dozen officials who had been prepared to resign if Trump fired Rosen.” https://www.businessinsider.com/top-doj-official-planned-to-resign-trump-election-pressure-report-2021-8?amp
    (CNN): “You shouldn’t miss this massive bombshell in Trump’s ongoing election fraud lie” https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2021/08/05/politics/donald-trump-jeffrey-rosen-election-fraud-cnn/index.html “…the details made clear in the Clark letter: There was an attempted coup happening not only with the knowledge of Trump, but at his behest.”

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