The Trump Trifecta:
Part One: Demagoguery
According to Merriam-Webster online, demagogue is defined as follows:
a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.
If we consider what we hear from the White House, on almost a daily basis, we would have to say that Donald Trump fits this definition above. Regarding the terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday, Trump tweeted that we, as a nation, are "so politically correct that we're afraid to do anything." He knows that the term “politically correct” is a dog-whistle for his base and whenever he can inject it into his speeches or tweets, he does.
That notion of “political correctness” carries with it a boatload of associations for Trump’s supporters --- particularly a “weakness” for having sympathy/empathy for people of color, women, the disabled, immigrants, and “foreigners” (non-Americans). In Trump’s world of “America First,” white men should call the shots and “he alone” should guide the United States where it needs to go. As was noted in a December 5, 2015 New York Times story by Patrick Healy & Maggie Haberman:
The dark power of words has become the defining feature of Mr. Trump’s bid for the White House to a degree rarely seen in modern politics, as he forgoes the usual campaign trappings — policy, endorsements, commercials, donations — and instead relies on potent language to connect with, and often stoke, the fears and grievances of Americans. (bold, mine)
Playing on “fears and grievances” is Trump’s “go-to” mode and incidents like Tuesday’s attack provides him license to pour salt in the open sore of fear of "immigrants" and fear of “the other” that haunts many of our citizens. Again, as noted by Healy and Haberman:
He has a particular habit of saying “you” and “we” as he inveighs against a dangerous “them” or unnamed other — usually outsiders like illegal immigrants (“they’re pouring in”), Syrian migrants (“young, strong men”) and Mexicans, but also leaders of both political parties.
Look at how Trump always lines up someone to take the “blame” for the failures of his administration. Tom Price is gone after the Health Care debacle. He put Cohn and Mnuchin on notice this week regarding the tax bill currently being created.
If we go back to the Republican primaries, we can see how Trump honed his tactics, giving his opponents nicknames and attacking people, not policies.
Mr. Trump tends to attack a person rather than an idea or a situation, like calling political opponents “stupid” (at least 30 times), “horrible” (14 times), “weak” (13 times) and other names, and criticizing foreign leaders, journalists. (NY Times, Dec. 5, 2017)
His attacks on journalists (the “fake news”) and the blatant lying that is almost a daily occurrence, popularized by Breitbart and Fox News to a willing base, is dangerous demagoguery. Again, as noted by Healy & Haberman:
Mr. Trump uses rhetoric to erode people’s trust in facts, numbers, nuance, government and the news media, according to specialists in political rhetoric. “Nobody knows,” he likes to declare, where illegal immigrants are coming from or the rate of increase of health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act, even though government agencies collect and publish this information.
Trump the “President” is no different than Trump the Candidate in this respect. His “nobody knows,” “everyone knows,” “people are telling me”, etc. without ever citing a source, much less a credible source, is textbook demagoguery! Remember, by definition a demagogue is “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.” We can document, time and again, how Donald Trump avoids “rational argument” like the plague and constantly appeals “to popular desires and prejudices”, particularly through his daily Tweets. This is more than the art of “deception.” These are the tactics of the demagogue, putting us on a path toward authoritarianism.
Tomorrow we will take a look at how Donald Trump, in his heart of hearts, is an authoritarian, chafing under the check and balances of our Constitutional system --- a system he is stunningly ignorant about. It creates a “clear and present” danger to our society, particularly since the current Congress seems to have, in Teddy Roosevelt’s (attributed) words, “no more backbone than a chocolate éclair." It’s important we, as citizens, recognize the danger and oppose it at every turn.
This Just In: Republican Tax Scam (11:35 a.m. November 2, 2017)
A family of FOUR will keep $1184.00 more per year. That's $22.70 per week. How much are the top 1% going to keep, per year, under this new tax "reform?" Republicans keep harping on that $11.84 per year for that family of four. What does a top 1% family of four keep under this plan? A small business will keep $3000 more per year. What are corporations going to gain by the new rate for them? This should be called the "All Hat, No Cattle" Tax Bill.