What if we had a President Trump? Would American democracy be at risk? Would the American political system hold? Or could the country descend into fascism?
(02-03-2016, updated 07-14-2018) Trump came in second in the Iowa caucus. Many pundits predict that this is the beginning of the end for Trump, but who knows. This is just the Iowa caucus; there’s a lot more to come. I suspect that a lot of relatively reasonable folks are wondering if they still wouldn’t prefer Trump to Bernie Sanders, if Sanders were to be the Democratic nominee.
Well, let’s see. With Sanders, in the worst case scenario we’d have four years of raised taxed on the rich, less involvement abroad, free education for all and yes, I’m sure some economists would tell you that the country would go downhill fast. That is, if he were able to pass half of what he proposes, which is pretty unlikely with the present Congress. Either way, after four years you could vote him out and he’d go. American democracy would not be damaged.
But what if we had a President Trump? Would he lead us down the path to fascism? Some people still claim that he’s a populist or at most a protofascist. Some argue that he’s not as extreme as he makes himself out to be; he used to be a democrat, after all.
But the main thing to pay attention to with Trump is his textbook narcissism. Narcissists are addicted to attention, and the more attention they get, the less likely they are to ever voluntarily take a step back. The more Trump smells the Oval Office, the more extreme he becomes.
If anything has become clear since the race for the GOP candidacy began it’s that there is no limit to what Trump will do or say. Every time pundits have predicted that a certain move or comment by Trump would be the beginning of his downfall, they have been proved wrong.
Hardly a day goes by where he doesn’t outdo himself in fascist demagoguery. And along with that, there is clearly also no limit to what Trump supporters accept. Trump said at an event at a Christian college in Iowa, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” and those Christians laughed in agreement.
Trump himself admits that he hates losing, or rather, that he never loses. Cruz won the Iowa caucus for the Republican side, but Trump is already demanding a new election because “It isn’t fair; Cruz lied!” Imagine that!
He also says on a regular basis that he doesn’t play by the rules and in that regard he definitely puts his money where his mouth is. He didn’t like having Fox” News” anchor Megan Kelly as the moderator again for the last Republican primary debate, so he simply didn’t show up.
He doesn’t stick to even the very basics of civility. He tweets like a thirteen-year-old mean-girl about other candidates’ appearance, he makes barely veiled threats to anyone who stands up to him in public and not only does he not apologize if goons at one of his rallies “rough up” protesters, he applauds and justifies their actions and points out the positive side-effect: those are the only moments the press will turn their cameras to the crowd, thus proving his claims that his rooms are always full and that everybody loves him.
As I mentioned in my previous post, many if not most Trump supporters are racists who adore him for his tough talk about bombing the shit or kicking the shit or doing whatever the shit to whichever scapegoat he’s in the mood for at any given moment. His scapegoating has attracted multitudes of America’s absolute bottom feeders.
Trump supporters are also authoritarians. The people who like a strong leader they can follow blindly, which is scary enough, but also the “good guys” with guns, who see themselves as the authority. The guys who tell themselves that if their armed militias aren’t out there with their guns clearly visible, their communities would be in chaos. They bask in what they interpret as the “respect” people have for their guns. There are a lot of these guys with guns out there, and their numbers are growing as we speak. Whether or not Trump wants to be a fascist leader, he has plenty of followers who would like nothing more than fascism running the country.
So imagine President Trump.
Look at the number of goons he has already gathered to his side, and it’s only February. He has more than seven months to continue increasing his rabble-rousing, seven more months of setting the bar ever lower. By the time he becomes president, should that happen, Trump will have every gun nut in the country raring to shoot anyone he points at.
And what if Congress is majority Republican–which pretty much means Tea Party, since regular Republicans are increasingly pushed to the margin? That could conceivably be two of the three branches of government throwing the balance off to the far right. What’s left then is the U.S. Supreme Court. Nine mostly elderly people, and you can bet that Trump would make sure they all know that he knows where they live. Because he doesn’t play by the rules. American democracy is is only as strong as the separation of powers.
Another scenario is that Congress and the Senate do not both have a Tea Party majority, and that heads will come together at some point to start impeachment proceedings. Do you think he’d accept that? Or would he suggest that his gun-toting goons rise up and go visit their representatives with their semi-automatics slung over their shoulders?
Or the army could step in, in which case every Second-Amendment gun owner’s dream scenario comes true and they can gleefully send the kiddos into their well-stocked bunkers while they go defend their country against the federal government. Yeeeee-haaw!
Scenes like the Bundy standoff in Burns, Oregon, where Cliven Bundy and his buddies took over a national wildlife refuge, pillaging and destroying federal property and intimidating the folks in town, ignoring their pleas to leave, is just a taste of what could be coming under a President Trump. I’d say that as long as Trump is in the race, American democracy is definitely at risk. At risk of being replaced with authoritarianism of some kind, be it fascism or something else.
This post was first published on the blog Resident Alien: Being Dutch in America, under the title: “Call Me Crazy”. 02-03-2016)
- Zeskind, Leonard. “White Boy Day Has Arrived for Donald Trump’s Army of Nationalists”. Daily Beast, 02.01.16 12:02 AM. https://www.thedailybeast.com/white-boy-day-has-arrived-for-donald-trumps-army-of-nationalists?source=TDB&via=FB_Page
Header image: still from TDC Video.com. http://www.tdcvideo.com/who-is-donald-trump/