Suddenly, Salon Is Very Concerned With An Authoritarian President

For years, Mr. Obama has been more than willing to use his pen and phone, well, really, just his pen, to enact his personal agenda via executive authority, particularly since Republicans took the House in 2010. Salon, like most Leftists, has been cheerleading this push. But, what about a potential Donald Trump presidency?

The dark side of Donald Trump: How gridlock leads to dangerous populism & authoritarian zeal

Of the many ways Donald Trump has distinguished himself from his fellow Republican presidential candidates, his flamboyant xenophobia and protectionism have garnered the most attention. And that was still the case this past weekend, when the billionaire real estate mogul, reality television star and “cherisher” of women went on “Meet the Press” to tell host Chuck Todd that a President Trump would work hard to deport more than 11 million people. “We’re going to keep the families together,” Trump promised. But only so long as they understood that regardless of what the 14th Amendment might say, these American-born children of immigrations would “have to go,” too.

As my colleague Joan Walsh has pointed out already, this is a prescription for turning the entire country into a charnel house for civil rights that would make today’s Arizona seem comparatively benign. If the policy were truly enforced with the kind of rigor that Trump promises and his supporters crave, the result would be “a massive police state,” as Walsh puts it. The number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would increase three-fold under Trump; and anyone who still failed to understand President Trump’s message would be encouraged to look no further than the southern border, where a giant wall would stand and carry on the Berlin and West Bank tradition.

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A police state!!!!!!!!!

The racial hue of Trump’s vision is obvious, and it’s understandable that commentators are inclined to see Trumpism through that lens. But there was another important Trump-related media development over the weekend. It was a stellar piece by the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, who recently spent some time in Flint, Michigan, talking to some of “the Donald’s” biggest fans. And while nostalgia for an era when whiteness meant more than it does today was common, Weigel’s piece suggests that racial anxiety isn’t the main reason these folks are embracing Trump. What they like about him, it appears, is that he is a more convincing authoritarian.

“I don’t think he’d go to Congress and ask,” one supporter said to Weigel about a hypothetical President Trump. “I think he’d just do it.” A dutiful student of high school civics knows that the framers of the Constitution took great pains to keep such a sentiment from governing the country. But for the voters Weigel spoke to, such a display of presidential “strength” (a favored word of Trump and his believers) is badly needed. “He lets people know what he’s going to do, not what to ask for,” a 51-year-old named Bob Parsons said of Trump, approvingly. He then compared the former host of “The Apprentice” to Ronald Reagan.

Suddenly, the President making things happen would be a Bad Thing. No such complaints have ever been leveled on the pages of Salon. But, hey, because Trump would, according mostly to supporters, not Trump himself, mind you, make things happen

The authoritarian mind-set doesn’t have much patience for nuance or complication, however. It prefers to see the world as comprehensible, bordering on self-evident. And whenever it is confronted with a reality too opaque and intricate to be easily simplified, that’s when a kind of flattening mysticism — or “romance,” as Weigel calls it — steps in to abolish complexity and sand away rough edges. Channeled as it currently is in Trump’s direction, this free-floating rage at the status quo and this authoritarian desire for a great leader to enact justice through force of will is relatively harmless. What should worry the rest of us, though, is the prospect that Trump isn’t a one-off but rather a sign of things to come.

Was that about Trump, or Obama? This is a typical unhinged rant about the super duper concern over a Republican being the next Hitler, with no self-reflection that Lefties have actually been supporting the guy who meets the description for years.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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