The autocratic mode

 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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12 July 2020 17:28
 

The autocratic mode is a term that applies to the way in which Republicans have now become obsequious boot kickers.  In an autocracy, politicians are always directing their public statements towards the autocrat.  He’s the one who controls their fortunes.  This can be contrasted with a Democratic mode where politicians direct their energy towards the people.  Though kind of obvious once pointed out, for me this idea brought home the degradation and danger in how almost all Republicans are now sucking up to Trump.

I heard it during an interview with Masha Gessen, but she got the idea from Bálint Magyar.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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12 July 2020 21:37
 

From Wikipedia:

Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme political power to direct all the activities of the state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for the implicit threat of coup d’etat or mass insurrection).”

True, the Republicans are bootlickers to president Trump. They fear him because of his cult-base who approve of all he does. His base will reject any Republican politician who has the audacity to disagree with Trump. But his base is a minority and Trump himself is an unpopular president who has never hit a 50% approval rating.

The good news is that Trump is tone-deaf and clueless to those who are not part of his base, lacks the ability to think strategically in the long term, and has a short attention span. This makes him a poor candidate for moving from autocrat to dictator.

He does, however, possess a con man’s cleverness with the ability to read his audience and to pander to them, along with a sense of showmanship and what works well on TV. These are great qualities for a reality television star, but not for a serious leader of an advanced nation.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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13 July 2020 06:48
 

It seems like at some level Trump wants to be an autocrat.  The disturbing thing is how quickly the Republicans have jumped into this mode of operation despite all of Trump’s flaws.

Even if Trump fades from the scene, it seems that there’s a pool of politicians that are all to willing to hitch themselves onto a would be dictator’s coattails.

 
unsmoked
 
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13 July 2020 10:42
 
Cheshire Cat - 12 July 2020 09:37 PM

From Wikipedia:

Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme political power to direct all the activities of the state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for the implicit threat of coup d’etat or mass insurrection).”

True, the Republicans are bootlickers to president Trump. They fear him because of his cult-base who approve of all he does. His base will reject any Republican politician who has the audacity to disagree with Trump. But his base is a minority and Trump himself is an unpopular president who has never hit a 50% approval rating.

The good news is that Trump is tone-deaf and clueless to those who are not part of his base, lacks the ability to think strategically in the long term, and has a short attention span. This makes him a poor candidate for moving from autocrat to dictator.

He does, however, possess a con man’s cleverness with the ability to read his audience and to pander to them, along with a sense of showmanship and what works well on TV. These are great qualities for a reality television star, but not for a serious leader of an advanced nation.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-01-15/authoritarianism-donald-trump-elections-democracies

quote from this article:

The typical paths to autocracy used to be through revolution or military coup. No longer. Today’s strongmen — Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and others — came to power through elections and then used the institutions of government to subvert democracy and expand their own powers. Trump regularly praises the current batch of autocrats and clearly longs to rule as they do.

How could an elected autocracy take hold in the United States? After all, we have three branches of government, with built-in checks and balances. But these days, it is not so clear that America’s constitutional framework could readily repel Donald Trump’s autocratic impulses, especially when supported by the Republican Senate under Mitch McConnell.

Trump clearly admires foreign strongmen who have been able to dismantle democratic institutions and amass executive power. He praises them not because their policies are compatible with American interests and values, but because they repudiate those values with impunity. Trump and his allies in Congress, and potentially the Supreme Court, are laying out a path that would make it possible for him to emulate the authoritarians.”  (end quote)

Putin could be president of Russia until 2036.  Does anyone doubt that Trump is laying the groundwork for a tenure like that in the White House?  Task Number One - cancel the November election due to the pandemic.  Failing that - get the Republican ducks in order to call the vote fraudulent . . . null and void, if he loses.

“The election was a hoax, a witch-hunt - the work of fake news and the Democrat enemies of the people.”  By now, his playbook is wide open.

 

 

 
 
icehorse
 
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13 July 2020 13:08
 

How could an elected autocracy take hold in the United States? After all, we have three branches of government, with built-in checks and balances. But these days, it is not so clear that America’s constitutional framework could readily repel Donald Trump’s autocratic impulses, especially when supported by the Republican Senate under Mitch McConnell.

I also find myself holding my breadth whenever the supreme court has to do it’s job on a vital matter - they seem “just this close” to being trump’s toadies as well.

 
 
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13 July 2020 16:55
 
icehorse - 13 July 2020 01:08 PM

How could an elected autocracy take hold in the United States? After all, we have three branches of government, with built-in checks and balances. But these days, it is not so clear that America’s constitutional framework could readily repel Donald Trump’s autocratic impulses, especially when supported by the Republican Senate under Mitch McConnell.

I also find myself holding my breadth whenever the supreme court has to do it’s job on a vital matter - they seem “just this close” to being trump’s toadies as well.

There are a lot of unsettling unknowns about the coming election.

I suppose the biggest unknown is how far would the Republicans go to maintain political power?

Trump is too lazy and dim-witted to do the behind the scenes arm twisting and cajoling needed to formulate a government takeover. But are there others willing to take up this cause and carry it out? Ex-White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, would have done it in a heartbeat and with relish. However, I can’t think of another Bannon-like manipulator left in Trump’s cabinet — Trump has fired them all.

I read an opinion piece by David Frum not long ago, who called Mitch McConnell a “madame” and the Republican Senate a “whore house.” The point being that both would sell the government to the highest bidder, or, more accurately, biggest campaign contributor.

But would they betray the Constitution of the United States to keep Trump as president and retain power? Would the conservative judges in the Supreme Court? Would they cross that line? That’s the real question.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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13 July 2020 17:48
 

It’s a distinct possibility.  Trump himself has worked hard enough to get get where he’s gotten, plus, I have to figure he’s aware that he likely faces serious legal problems once he leaves office, so he’s motivated.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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13 July 2020 22:33
 

I despise Trump on every level but I can’t really lay the irrational partisan unity on him or the current GOP class. Putting party over country has been destroying effective leadership in the federal government my whole life. If there is any bright lining to the 2016 election it is that both parties had pause, for separate reasons to witness the terrible costs of this schoolyard code.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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13 July 2020 22:35
 

But I’d agree with the OP.

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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14 July 2020 11:44
 

We’ve had some close calls.  12 years ago John McCain was the Republican candidate with Sarah Palin as his running mate.  They got 60 million votes.  It he had won, then died in office . . . . . https://www.liveabout.com/top-dumbest-sarah-palin-quotes-2734671

In 2016 Trump saw that he could be more successful than Palin by ‘firing up the crazies’ as McCain put it.  Sam wrote about this dumbing-down of America in his LETTER TO A CHRISTIAN NATION:

QUOTE:  “Among developed nations, America stands alone in these convictions.  Our country now appears, as at no other time in her history, like a lumbering, bellicose, dim-witted giant.  Anyone who cares about the fate of civilization would do well to recognize that the combination of great power and great stupidity is simply terrifying , even to one’s friends.”  -  Sam Harris, 2006

Remember when we used to have friends?

https://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/john-mccain-donald-trump-immigration-phoenix-120216

[ Edited: 14 July 2020 11:50 by unsmoked]
 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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14 July 2020 18:47
 

A little time warp of an article there, Unsmoked.

McCain, a longtime friend of Senate colleague and Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, praised the South Carolina senator for being one of the few in the party to blast the multibillionaire’s remarks.

In a Sunday interview on CNN, Graham called Trump “a wrecking ball” for the GOP’s future, adding that Republicans “need to reject this demagoguery” or face the consequences.

Today you’d need a crowbar to remove Graham’s lips from Trump’s ass.

 
 
unsmoked
 
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18 July 2020 12:38
 
Cheshire Cat - 14 July 2020 06:47 PM

A little time warp of an article there, Unsmoked.

McCain, a longtime friend of Senate colleague and Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, praised the South Carolina senator for being one of the few in the party to blast the multibillionaire’s remarks.

In a Sunday interview on CNN, Graham called Trump “a wrecking ball” for the GOP’s future, adding that Republicans “need to reject this demagoguery” or face the consequences.

Today you’d need a crowbar to remove Graham’s lips from Trump’s ass.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/trumps-losing-so-when-are-republican-candidates-going-to-abandon-him?

quote from this New Yorker article: “But the vast majority of Republicans this time are not abandoning Trump; some are even choosing to double down on their embrace of the President, a political choice that speaks loudly to the current moment. Part of it is that Trump is an unusually vengeful politician, one who is obsessed with loyalty and who does not hesitate to go after members of his party who cross him. On Tuesday night, Trump and his inner circle crowed when his former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was soundly defeated in a Republican primary in Alabama, a humiliating end to his bid to win back the Senate seat that he gave up to serve in Trump’s Cabinet. Sessions, who committed the unpardonable sin—to Trump—of recusing himself from the Russia investigation, had been the first senator to endorse Trump, back in 2016. Even after being fired by the President, Sessions continued to publicly suck up to Trump during his comeback bid. A few weeks ago, when Trump’s mid-pandemic return to the campaign trail, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, bombed, Sessions blithely praised the President for his “masterful” performance and “winning message.” But that was not enough for Trump, who endorsed Sessions’s opponent and bad-mouthed his former A.G. as “a disaster who let us all down.” After the vote, Trump exulted in Sessions’s defeat. So did Trump’s close adviser Stephen Miller, the young immigration hawk who owes his career to Sessions. Asked on Wednesday about Sessions’s loss, as he strolled across the White House driveway, Miller called it a “great victory for the country, a great victory for the President.” -  (end quote - read more in article)

Question:  Speaking of autocrats and the histories of autocrats, if Trump wins another 4 years, will he move to close down magazines and newspapers that he considers ‘Enemies of the People’?  (like the New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post . . . and TV channels like PBS?

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/07/23/the-global-slump-in-press-freedom

“Even though Donald Trump has frequently demonised the news media as the “enemy of the people”, America’s strong First Amendment and independent courts have prevented him from acting on these illiberal outbursts. Nonetheless, his rhetoric has given succour to autocrats in other countries, who have passed laws outlawing “fake news” and quickly set about persecuting political opponents.”

It isn’t hard to imagine what Trump will do if he gets another 4 years.  https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/06/03/trump-military-george-floyd-protests/

[ Edited: 18 July 2020 12:58 by unsmoked]