“The Republican Party is betraying democracy,” a Yale professor and expert on facism told Insider, adding that “someone has got to push back.”
If Americans are concerned that President Donald Trump and Republicans are moving the US toward becoming a one-party, authoritarian state, they are running out of time to stop them, experts warned.
Trump has exhibited autocratic impulses since his 2016 campaign and from the moment he entered the White House.
The president has attacked virtually every democratic institution in the US when he’s felt its actions were unfavorable to his agenda or public appearance. Meanwhile, he pushed traditional US allies away while openly embracing many of the world’s most repressive leaders.
These trends have raised concern among top experts on authoritarianism, fascism, and democracy, but they’ve often said that the robust political system in the US, with its checks and balances and constitutional norms, has prevented Trump from becoming a full-blown authoritarian and doing whatever he wants.
Since Trump was acquitted in the Senate earlier this month after being impeached in the House over his dealings with Ukraine, there’s been a White House purge of impeachment witnesses, and Attorney General William Barr has intervened in the trial of a close associate of the president, Roger Stone. And the experts’ tone has changed dramatically.
‘Someone has got to push back’
“The system is enabling Trump,” Jason Stanley, a Yale philosophy professor who wrote “How Fascism Works,” told Insider.
Writer and scholar Sarah Kendzior argues freedom is about what it means to be human, so we must protect it at all costs.
One of the most common refrains when a democracy collapses into an autocracy is that no one could have seen it coming.
The motivation behind this myth is the absolution of the powerful. After all, what cannot be predicted cannot be prevented, and therefore the failure of officials to safeguard our freedoms should be forgiven. This is the story we hear as Donald Trump approaches a possible second term and the U.S. plunges into unprecedented turmoil.
The premise, of course, is a lie.
Freedom is about what it means to be human, and to be recognized and treated by others as such.
What “No one saw it coming” tells you is who the powerful consider to be “no one.” “No one” are the multitude of marginalized Americans who warned in 2016 that their rights had always been on the line and would be even more so now. “No one” are the people who knew that a future American autocracy was possible because their ancestors had been subject to past ones: slavery, Jim Crow, internment camps, and other forms of legal subjugation that were destroyed only through decades of defiant demands for their eradication. Continue reading →
They should think twice before short-circuiting his removal trial.
Dec. 19, 2019 at 7:00 a.m. EST
George T. Conway III is a lawyer in New York and an adviser to the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super PAC.
In his unhinged letter Tuesday, President Trump accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of having “cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!” A few days earlier, he accused Democrats of “trivializing impeachment.”
If anything has cheapened or trivialized the process by which Trump was impeached, it was House Republicans’ refusal to treat the proceedings with the seriousness the Constitution demands. Unable to defend the president’s conduct on the merits, GOP members of the House resorted to deception, distortion and deflection: pretending that Trump didn’t ask President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rival; claiming that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election; and throwing up all manner of silly assertions of procedural unfairness.
Now, as the process moves to the Senate, Republican senators threaten the ultimate cheapening and trivialization of Congress’s constitutional obligations: holding a “trial” that would be nothing but a sham.
This week we discuss the dueling shitshows of the Boris Johnson sweep in the UK and the ongoing impeachment effort in the US. We debunk the media myths surrounding the British election – no, the loss of Jeremy Corbyn is not an omen of what will happen to Warren or Sanders! – while looking at the way the US and UK situations are linked, namely dark money, Kremlin backers, shady data mining corporations, and mainstream media propaganda. We also discuss what lessons progressives in the US can take away from Corbyn’s disastrous campaign, and how to balance unity with the necessity of diverse opinions in a political movement.Then we discuss the ongoing impeachment effort in the House – which may well have happened by the time you read this post! We stress that the Democrats must not send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, where they will only be used for a show trial by Republicans who have already declared they have no interest in seriously examining the House’s evidence. Impeachment hearings and investigations must continue – including ones of active criminals like Rudy Giuliani, who is flagrantly confessing to his own offenses because he fears no repercussions. A crisis cannot be resolved when it is not fully exposed. It will only linger and fester if partially examined – and hearings are the strongest tool officials have to fight autocratic consolidation.
For our weekly bonus episode, we discuss how to stay motivated during the nightmare year that will be 2020, and give pragmatic advice for activists involved in campaigns and everyday folks struggling to to save their country. We give tips for responsible citizens with outstanding social skills (Andrea!) and for brooding loners with an irrational fear of the phone (Sarah!) Everyone has something to offer and now is the time to join the fight. To listen to this bonus episode and also get access to all past and future bonus episodes, sign up at the Truth-Teller level of higher on our Patreon.
ABOUT GASLIT NATION PODCAST Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa are experts on authoritarian states who warned America about election hacking years before 2016. Here, they take a deep dive on the news, skipping outrage to deliver analysis, history, context, and sharp insight on global affairs.
It just tells you what deep trouble Donald Trump is in. I mean, when you have 50% of the country wanting you not just impeached but removed from office, and the game hasn’t even gotten fast yet.’
That’s presidential historian and Rice University professor Douglas Brinkley reacting in a CNN interview on Friday to a recent poll showing half of respondents want Trump impeached and removed from office.
“Once the vote is taken by Congress to impeach him and he’s wearing the ‘I’ on his chest, you’re going to see that movement grow even more,” Brinkley explained. “It tells you he doesn’t have a lot of friends. He’s a base politician. He doesn’t know how to turn this around.”