Guest Columnist Mark Karpel: A Local Apprentice Dictator

Donald Trump rose to fame on a reality TV show called “The Apprentice”. He played an all-powerful boss who utters insults, pits his ...



Donald Trump rose to fame on a reality TV show called “The Apprentice”. He played an all-powerful boss who utters insults, pits his minions against each other and engages in humiliating public dismissals. It’s a pathetic (and prophetic) imitation of a dictator’s court, with servile yes-men, fierce competition for the Big Man’s approval, and no control over his power (think Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Un ).

Then, in 2016, Trump stumbled into the presidency with predictable disastrous results. Now people are wondering if he will run for president a second time. But this time, Trump is the one who is eager to please and emulate a “Big Man.” Trump doesn’t want to be president. He wants to be Putin – in America. And the question for every American voter and official is whether we want to live in this America.

Trump makes no effort to hide his fan admiration for Putin. He refused to hold Putin responsible for the invasion of Ukraine, the spread of disinformation in the 2016 election, and the assassination of dissidents. Trump made the famous remark: “I think our country also does a lot of murder,” and willingly spoke to Putin about America’s own intelligence services in Helsinki and beyond.

Fiona Hill, an expert on Putin’s Russia who literally had a front row seat when Trump and Putin met in Helsinki, suggests that Trump admires Putin for his wealth, power and fame and considers him “the ultimate badass “. Trump shares Putin’s pharaonic indifference to the well-being of his subjects (not citizens, subjects), most evident in his contempt for the thousands of deaths from COVID, even and especially among his own supporters.

The “accounts” of Trump’s aspirations to become a dictator are obvious, numerous, and largely unprecedented in US presidential history:

■ Cabinet meetings where minions outdo one another with obsequious praise;

■ The dismissal of general inspectors (five in 2021 alone);

■ dismiss whistleblowers and threaten them with prosecution;

■ Welcome media that approach personal propaganda networks;

■ Mocking and threatening political opponents (“Lock him up!”);

■ Enrich and protect friends (forgive Steve Bannon, indicted for trying to defraud Trump supporters with a “Build the Wall” scam);

■ Continue a permanent pattern of self-glorification, lies and distortions for personal gain;

■ Election fraud in various forms and efforts to overthrow the electoral process itself;

■ Repeatedly attempting to order troops to beat peaceful protesters (according to Michael Bender, Trump encouraged law enforcement and the military to “break their heads” and “shoot them in the legs.”) ;

■ Demonize the press (eg “human scum”) and encourage violence against it;

■ Turn government agencies into hollowed-out and buffered catalysts;

■ And on January 6, 2021, like Mao triggering the Red Guards, inciting his supporters to attack the government itself.

Putin would be proud.

One of the most disturbing developments has been Trump’s incitement to intimidation and violence to enforce his will. Dictators often rely on partisan groups to intimidate, beat or even kill those who oppose the leader – the brown shirts in Hitler’s Germany; the Tontons Macoute in Haiti by Duvalier; or the baltagiya in Egypt, seen on horseback and camel and whipping demonstrators against Hosni Mubarak.

Here it started with Trump urging crowds at his rallies to brutalize protesters and the press. This evolved into his followers stalking and shouting at Republican officials in airports and on planes and to armed militias surrounding or forcing their way into state capitals (Michigan, Kentucky).

Now we see mobs defaming and threatening a range of local, state and national public officials whose policies Trump opposes. It happens on social media and, in person, in their offices and homes. Just this week, a Republican municipal commissioner spoke of threats he had received that “your three children would be fatally shot” and “the cops cannot help you with your head on tails”, while the secretary of He Democratic State of Arizona described armed protesters outside his home. and threats to her children. It culminated on the United States Capitol on January 6, when all doubt about Trump’s efforts to impose his will evaporated in a betrayal attempt to overthrow the U.S. government itself.

And, frighteningly, it works. More Americans are falling silent, as lawmakers, election, health and even school officials give up, unwilling to continue to face stalking, yelling and threats – and rightly fearing title that it does not get worse. These tough tactics foreshadowed Hitler’s rise to absolute power, after a failed coup attempt and throughout the electoral process.

Combine that with the parade of lawmakers and public officials (Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Ron Johnson, among others) who are unwilling to hold Trump to account and we can see that as Timothy Snyder said recently, it’s already started here. So what comes next?

The most consistent pattern in Trump’s life has been his willingness (compulsion?) To break the rules, to go beyond what is normal or acceptable. (Predictions that he would “pivot” after the 2016 election quickly faded as he became even more emboldened and extreme.) Does anyone doubt that he would push for even more dictatorial power? he was elected a second time – or that now all of a sudden the Republicans would stop him?

In March 2018, after Xi Jinping abolished mandates for the Chinese presidency, Trump said, “He is now president for life. … I think it’s great. Maybe we will have to give it a shot someday.

To avoid that, in 2022 and 2024, vote against liars who deny the results of the 2020 election and, like Holocaust deniers, whitewash the attempted coup on Capitol Hill, and, if Trump tries again. presidency, vote to tell this local dictator apprentice. , “Hey, you’re still fired!”

Mark Karpel is a psychologist and writer who lives in Northampton.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Guest Columnist Mark Karpel: A Local Apprentice Dictator
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