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Tom of Temecula

(1,526 posts)
Sun Apr 7, 2024, 02:26 AM Apr 7

Trump's post about Cannon shows he's 'conditioning' base to embrace authoritarian rule: expert [View all]

Former President Donald Trump recently attacked Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith on his Truth Social platform after a pre-trial ruling in one of his cases didn't go his way. But in that same post, he also heaped praise on the judge overseeing his case. One expert on far-right regimes believes that's a telling sign.

In his latest essay for the New Republic, columnist Greg Sargent laid out what he suggested was Trump's signaling of how he would approach law enforcement and the federal judiciary if elected to a second term in the White House. He wrote that Trump's description of US District Judge Aileen Cannon — whom he appointed to her position in May of 2020 — as "highly respected" raised red flags for Ruth Ben-Ghiat, who is a scholar of right-wing autocratic "strongman" governments around the world.

"The reason he tells his supporters all this explicitly is he’s conditioning them to turn away from democracy," Ben-Ghiat told Sargent. "He’s conditioning them to accept authoritarian modes of governance and the idea of the leader as unbound and unaccountable." Sargent elaborated on his argument, pointing to a recent photo op Trump had with law enforcement officers in Michigan to suggest he would be a more reliable supporter of law enforcement than President Joe Biden. According to Sargent, this was an empty gesture given that Trump has repeatedly pledged to pardon his supporters who attacked law enforcement officers during the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

"Trump sees no need to account for this absurdity. He hails the heroism and bravery of cops, as long as they support him; he hails the heroism and bravery of people who viciously attack cops, as long as those people also support him," Sargent wrote. "All this is a feature of autocratic politics, which turns on the idea that the system is hopelessly corrupted and perpetually out to drag the strongman down, and the only political arrangement that’s unsullied and virtuous is the bond between him and his followers."


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