2019 Jul 20, 2:23pm
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... the neutralization of a free press and the steady diminution of basic human rights. On these issues, often described as the guardrails of democracy against authoritarian encroachment, the Trump administration either has won or seems poised to win significant gains for illiberalism. Upon his appointment as chancellor, Hitler immediately created a new Ministry of People’s Enlightenment and Propaganda under Joseph Goebbels, who remained one of his closest political advisers.In Trump’s presidency, those functions have effectively been privatized in the form of Fox News and Sean Hannity. [ I don't know why they didn't mention Limbaugh/talk radio and Breitbart ] Fox faithfully trumpets the “alternative facts” of the Trump version of events, and in turn Trump frequently finds inspiration for his tweets and fantasy-filled statements from his daily monitoring of Fox commentators and his late-night phone calls with Hannity. The result is the creation of a “Trump bubble” for his base to inhabit that is unrecognizable to viewers of PBS, CNN, and MSNBC and readers of The Washington Post and The New York Times. The highly critical free media not only provide no effective check on Trump’s ability to be a serial liar without political penalty; on the contrary, they provide yet another enemy around which to mobilize the grievances and resentments of his base. A free press does not have to be repressed when it can be rendered irrelevant and even exploited for political gain....Nothing remotely so horrific is on the illiberal agenda, but the curtailment of many rights and protections Americans now enjoy is likely. Presumably marriage equality will survive, given the sea change in American public opinion on that issue. But the right of businesses and individuals to discriminate against gays is likely to be broadly protected as a “sincerely held religious belief.” Chief Justice John Roberts’s favorite target, affirmative action, is likely to disappear under his slogan that to end racial discrimination, one must end all forms of racial discrimination. And a woman’s right to abortion will probably disappear in red states, either through an outright overturning of Roe v. Wade or more likely through narrower rulings that fail to find any “undue burden” in draconian restrictions that in practice make abortion unavailable. And equal protection of voting rights is likely to be eroded in red states through ever more insidiously designed voter suppression laws and gerrymandering once the Supreme Court makes clear that it will not intervene to curb such measures.The domestic agenda of Trump’s illiberal democracy falls considerably short of totalitarian dictatorship as exemplified by Mussolini and Hitler. But that is small comfort for those who hope and believe that the arc of history inevitably bends toward greater emancipation, equality, and freedom. Likewise, it is small comfort that in foreign policy Trump does not emulate the Hitlerian goals of wars of conquest and genocide, because the prospects for peace and stability are nevertheless seriously threatened. Escalating trade wars could easily tip the world economy into decline, and the Trump administration has set thresholds for peaceful settlements with Iran and North Korea that seem well beyond reach.It is possible that Trump is engaged in excessive rhetorical posturing as a bargaining chip and will retreat to more moderate positions in both cases. But it is also possible that adversarial momentum will build, room for concessions will disappear, and he will plunge the country into serious economic or military conflicts as a captive of his own rhetoric. Historically, such confrontations and escalations have often escaped the control of leaders far more talented than Trump.No matter how and when the Trump presidency ends, the specter of illiberalism will continue to haunt American politics. A highly politicized judiciary will remain, in which close Supreme Court decisions will be viewed by many as of dubious legitimacy, and future judicial appointments will be fiercely contested. The racial division, cultural conflict, and political polarization Trump has encouraged and intensified will be difficult to heal. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and uncontrolled campaign spending will continue to result in elections skewed in an unrepresentative and undemocratic direction. Growing income disparity will be extremely difficult to halt, much less reverse.Finally, within several decades after Trump’s presidency has ended, the looming effects of ecological disaster due to human-caused climate change—which Trump not only denies but is doing so much to accelerate—will be inescapable. Desertification of continental interiors, flooding of populous coastal areas, and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, with concomitant shortages of fresh water and food, will set in motion both population flight and conflicts over scarce resources that dwarf the current fate of Central Africa and Syria. No wall will be high enough to shelter the US from these events. Trump is not Hitler and Trumpism is not Nazism, but regardless of how the Trump presidency concludes, this is a story unlikely to have a happy ending.
Fox faithfully trumpets the “alternative facts” of the Trump version of events
Trump frequently finds inspiration for his tweets and fantasy-filled statements
Historically, such confrontations and escalations have often escaped the control of leaders far more talented than Trump.
The racial division, cultural conflict, and political polarization Trump has encouraged and intensified will be difficult to heal.
I want to show appreciation when you're being honest.
This reads more like an opinion piece than an article.
voters who want government to do something for them
A big problem with society today is entitlement.