Wednesday, April 5, 2017

L.A. Times: Trump’s Authoritarian Vision

On  Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times’ published Part III, ”Trump’s Authoritarian Vision,” of their series addressing our Presidents most troubling traits. The Times compared Trump’s first few weeks in office to a “trainwreck.”

The Times points out that our institutions are under attack: Our courts; The electoral process; The intelligence community; The media, and our federal agencies.

“[Trump] sees himself as not merely a force for change, but as a wrecking ball.”

Here are the opening paragraphs of “Trump’s Authoritarian Vision.”:

"Standing before the cheering throngs at the Republican National Convention last summer, Donald Trump bemoaned how special interests had rigged the country’s politics and its economy, leaving Americans victimized by unfair trade deals, incompetent bureaucrats and spineless leaders.

"He swooped into politics, he declared, to subvert the powerful and rescue those who cannot defend themselves. 'Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.'

"To Trump’s faithful, those words were a rallying cry. But his critics heard something far more menacing in them: a dangerously authoritarian vision of the presidency — one that would crop up time and again as he talked about overruling generals, disregarding international law, ordering soldiers to commit war crimes, jailing his opponent.

"Trump has no experience in politics; he’s never previously run for office or held a government position. So perhaps he was unaware that one of the hallmarks of the American system of government is that the president’s power to 'fix' things unilaterally is constrained by an array of strong institutions — including the courts, the media, the permanent federal bureaucracy and Congress. Combined, they provide an essential defense against an imperial presidency.

"Yet in his first weeks at the White House, President Trump has already sought to undermine many of those institutions. Those that have displayed the temerity to throw some hurdle in the way of a Trump objective have quickly felt the heat."

Here is Robert Reich's view:

What can we say after 10 weeks of Trump? First, he has no respect for democracy.

“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it,” he said at last summer’s Republican National Convention. Since then, he has stuck with this authoritarian vision – attacking the courts, the media, the federal bureaucracy, Congress, our electoral system, the intelligence community, even science and truth.

One of the hallmarks of the American system of government is that a president’s power to “fix” things unilaterally is constrained by such institutions, which together provide a bulwark against authoritarianism.

Our resistance to Trump is rooted in our dedication to democracy and our love for America. Regardless of whether we’re Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, Trump poses a danger to the central institutions we depend on.

He must be impeached.


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