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The Authoritarian President


The Authoritarian President

Robert Reich

After more than 100 days into his presidency, it seems fair to ask: What is Donald Trump’s governing philosophy?

He isn’t really a Republican (he didn’t join the GOP until 2012). He’s hardly a free-market conservative (he’s eager to block trade and immigration). No one would mistake him for a libertarian (he’s okay with preventing abortions and gay marriage).

So what is he? An authoritarian.


Is this why evangelicals love Trump? Having faith in a strong leader is important to them. Faith in an all powerful God. Faith in their minister. The family has faith in the husband/father leader. And it goes without saying that having faith in a woman leader is an oxymoron for the evangelical.


It is America; we have an uninterested, uninformed electorate that was hoodwinked by a charlatan who was never a Republican with conservative values; Trump is a page-boy for special interests which most definitely does not include the rank and file who voted him into office. I have heard it said, you get the "representation" you deserve.


Reich is stating the obvious. And it has been obvious certainly since Trump's acceptance speech. Also, it says a lot about voters who continue to support him. Hillary Clinton said the election was about who we are as a people. I think that is absolutely what the election was about. But the election failed to provide clarification. The majority of people voted for Clinton but Trump won in the electoral college. So the battle goes on to determine who we are, democratic or authoritarian, tolerant or white nationalist.


Republican ideology of "individualism" allows adherents to ignore their flaws and to not learn from their mistakes. (We are all flawed and all make mistakes). Democratic ideology of "collectivism" is a statement of fact - we are all inter-dependent in ways we mostly take for granted - food supplies, household furnishings, power, water supply and waste treatment, transport, institutions of health and education - all provided without the least sense of those who provide the supply. Republicans and Libertarians like to think of themselves as business managers who may discard and replace employees at will and customers as a money supply. Republicans will work any job (they may hate) for the money it provides. Why are suburbanites mostly republican? Because it is an isolationist lifestyle that fits with individualist morays.


Suburanites are mostly Democrats, at least in the metropolitan area I live in. I think your data are several decades out of date. Areas that were traditionally Republican in the suburbs are no longer Republican. The ex-burbs are Republican. The real divide is between metropolitan areas, which are democratic, and rural areas and ex-burbs, which are Republican.


At least Reich's consistent in stating the obvious, as seen from his columns since Don took over.
Note to Dr. Reich: Prof. Timothy Snyder, a Professor of History (almost entirely that of Eastern Europe) at Yale, has already cut to the chase, by predicting that Don and his henchmen will "likely" stage a coup to overthrow democracy by the end of the year.


DJT is an inveterate opportunist: a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans. who utilizes his new-found power/authority to manipulate our government both domestically and on an international scale solely to sate his rapacaious greed and megalomania. He prefers to operate in chaos in order to maintain his autocratic and tyrannical control and his lack of intellectual curiosity coupled with his narcissism prevents him from seeing/comprehending anything (or anyone) beyond that which he chooses to acknowledge. He is very dangerous.


The good professor's expectations notwithstanding, my sense of things is that Trump is attempting a covert or invisible coup as opposed to an overt one. Trump's constant misdirection and his playing the dunce while we are distracted by threats of war and so forth finds us with our backs turned while he enacts these step by step assaults on democracy in rapid fire order.

Trump seems to be attempting to slip in a coup under the radar that once established will effectively rearrange our democracy into an autocratic sham democracy thus preserving the names but not the substance of our rights and constitution.

I think Madison Avenue and spin doctors must be taken into account which were not a real factor ( despite Goebbels ) pre WWII. The corporate controlled media and corrupt politicians will help convince everyone that measures to restore democracy are being taken etc but then talk is cheap and by then people will be worried, confused, cowed and depressed by the changes they have seemed powerless to avoid.

My guess is that Trump will try to stage the invisible coup not the in your face one. It's easier that way.


Sounds right to me.


I live in Portland Oregon, in majority democrat Multnomah County. The suburban counties within our metropolitan area - Washington, Clackamas and Clark County Washington are majority republican. These suburban counties are littered with subdivision housing compounds with little recourse for travel other than driving. Automobile sales is their dominant industry. The rush hour commuting lifestyle their most ardent complaint. More freeways their fevered demand as if it wouldn't make traffic worse. I use my personal example to demonstrate how the automobile-centric lifestyle is at the center of our industrial morass - ie, we drive too much, too far, for too many purposes. Likewise we fly, truck and ship goods around the world too much at too high cost and impact. I can agree that 'exurbs' and rural towns are even moreso mostly republican, but their political alliances to republican party is due to the isolationism that the automobile-centric lifestyle enables.


Does he need a coup? The Republican Party makes arresting members of Congress unnecessary.


Not sure I understand.


The Republicans go along with pretty much everything that Trump is doing to undermine democracy, a system of government that he clearly despises. He is a concentration of power guy. Kings, dictators, that sort of government that our Founding Fathers wanted to prevent. .


Portland suburbs may not yet have reached the stage of turning Republican to Democrat. I think it is an evolution that suburbs in the US go through. The suburbs in the northeast are much older and therefore may have reached the Democrat stage while the suburbs in the northwest may not be there yet. If your suburbs are still largely white and affluent they are different than our suburbs which are racially diverse with great income inequality.


Notice how the Republican pols do not get called out for this. If they are complicit in undermining democracy, then they are treading very close to sedition. Do they know this and, like Don, not give a s*it?


Agreed. Possibly so. My main point was the impetus to turn republican being a perceived need to be away from the 'others', the inner-city poor. White Flight to the suburbs was also a condition of fleeing urban pollution which is still a problem. Portland began its inner-city revival in the 1970's, but it's always been a cultural center for the region which suburbanites value. The big Rose Festival and Parade attract 500,000 every year. Other big festivals and weekend events are successful attractions that make Oregon a blue State.