Author Topic: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2  (Read 72872 times)

Offline Joffrey van de Wiel

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #660 on: July 23, 2020, 12:34:15 PM »
When Hitler came to power he was cheered on by low educated, insecure, people who were unable to make anything out of their life by themselves. The village idiot suddenly became the person in charge in his community and wreaked havoc on it's people. They had no understanding of the bigger picture and they did not want to know what that picture was. Some of them started to understand just who they had supported, but by that time it was too late.

Don't you think your reasoning is an over-simplification? Not only the "low educated, insecure people" voted for the NSDAP but also the middle class, students, small business owners, soldiers and officers, farmers, women and young people. Hitler's biggest financial backers were two banks - their directors were both Jewish.

"Low educated" people may have shitty jobs, but that doesn't mean they are stupid or they should be looked down on.

Hitler became Reichskanzler after LOSING the election of November 1932, when the NSDAP lost 34 seats in the Reichstag. True, it remained the largest party in parliament but the Social Democrats and Communists had 221 seats combined. They could out vote the Nazis any time. However a coalition of the left was ideological impossible and from the point of view of the top players undesirable. After the failed attempts by Franz von Papen and General Kurt von Schleicher to form stable governments, Hitler was appointed Reichskanzler on January 30, 1933. "We have hired him," Von Papen said. He was wrong.

Offline Martin Weidmann

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #661 on: July 23, 2020, 01:05:39 PM »
Don't you think your reasoning is an over-simplification? Not only the "low educated, insecure people" voted for the NSDAP but also the middle class, students, small business owners, soldiers and officers, farmers, women and young people. Hitler's biggest financial backers were two banks - their directors were both Jewish.

"Low educated" people may have shitty jobs, but that doesn't mean they are stupid or they should be looked down on.

Hitler became Reichskanzler after LOSING the election of November 1932, when the NSDAP lost 34 seats in the Reichstag. True, it remained the largest party in parliament but the Social Democrats and Communists had 221 seats combined. They could out vote the Nazis any time. However a coalition of the left was ideological impossible and from the point of view of the top players undesirable. After the failed attempts by Franz von Papen and General Kurt von Schleicher to form stable governments, Hitler was appointed Reichskanzler on January 30, 1933. "We have hired him," Von Papen said. He was wrong.

You're missing the point I was making, Jeffrey

I did not say that only the "low educated, insecure people" voted for the NSDAP, nor were my comments intended to open up a wider discussion about who else also supported Hitler. Whatever else you consider my words to mean is your own interpretation which exceeds by far the intend of my comment.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #662 on: July 23, 2020, 01:17:24 PM »
Trump Wants to Start a War between the States--and the Cities

In an insightful article, Ronald Brownstein argues that Donald Trump's decision to use federal agents in Portland and his threats to use them in other cities is not an accident or impulsive move. Trump wants to split the country in two, with the states (especially the red states) fighting the (generally Democratic) cities. He hopes that exurban and suburban voters will see him as the last bulwark against chaotic and violent cities. It could easily fail, though, because suburban voters tend to identify with the nearest big city not with outlying rural areas.

There have been numerous examples in which states have used their powers to prevent cities from carrying out their own policies in their jurisdictions. Right now, a major example is states that have forbidden cities from requiring masks within their city limits. Lockdown orders are another point of contention where states have overruled cities. But there have been many issues before that. For example, states have forbidden cities from raising the minimum wage paid by businesses located there. States have forbidden cities from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials. States have forbidden cities from passing ordinances protecting the rights of transgender people (the famous North Carolina "bathroom bill" that cost then-governor Pat McCrory his job).

Many red-state governors are acting like the largest cities in their states are their enemies and must be subdued at all costs. Trump is strongly encouraging them to do so. The big question is how suburban voters will come down. Many of them moved to the suburbs to flee crime and violence in the cities, but some suburbs have become substantial cities in their own right and the residents may feel that Trump is attacking them. In 2018, the Democrats made huge gains in the suburbs and it is far from clear that attacking the cities will reverse this trend. In particular, many suburbanites' views on race, abortion, gay rights, immigration, diversity, and many other hot-button issues aligns much more closely with urban politics than with the conservative, white, Christian politics of the rural areas. If Trump succeeds in dividing the country in two by forcing suburbanites to make a choice, they may well choose the side of the cities and cause a permanent political realignment with the cities and suburbs on one side and the rural areas on the other. Given the population imbalance, this would be a disaster for Trump and the Republican Party. Before doing something like this, Karl Rove would have run polls and focus groups out the gazoo to make sure the plan had a good chance of working, but Trump is not Karl Rove.

Trump Is Determined to Split the Country in Two
He’s trying to rally red America by portraying blue cities as a threat, and then positioning himself as the human wall against them.

New offensives against major cities from President Donald Trump and GOP governors are pushing at the central geographic fault line between the Republican and Democratic coalitions.

On one front, Trump is taking his confrontational approach toward big cities to an ominous new level by deploying federal law-enforcement officials to Portland and potentially other locales over the objection of local officials.

On the other, Republican governors, especially but not exclusively across the Sun Belt, have repeatedly blocked mostly Democratic local leaders from locking down their communities, despite exploding caseloads in cities from Atlanta to Phoenix. These orders represent a new crest in a decade-long wave of actions by Republican state officials to preempt decisions made by local Democratic governments.

“We haven’t had issues that are so immediately pressing and so much involving public health and safety,” says Richard Briffault, a Columbia University law professor who has studied state preemption of municipal actions. While states moving to block cities from raising the minimum wage or declaring themselves an immigration sanctuary “are important issues … in the sense that these are pressing, in-the-moment decisions that are directly affecting the health and welfare of a lot of people, this is unique,” he told me.

The common thread in these twin confrontations is that they pit Republican officials who rely on support primarily from exurban, small-town, and rural voters against major metropolitan areas that favor Democrats. In the process, these Republicans—Trump in particular—may be hoping to rally their nonurban voter base by defining themselves explicitly in opposition to the cities. Trump is likely to underscore that message in his White House speech this afternoon on “combating violent crime in American cities.”

In deploying federal forces, Trump appears to be trying to provoke clashes with protesters, which he can use to convince white suburban voters that he’s the last line of defense between them and the chaos allegedly incubating in cities, Rahm Emanuel, the former Chicago mayor, told me. Referring to the street battle between construction workers and anti-war protesters in Manhattan in 1970, Emanuel said, “Trump is trying to create his own hard-hat riot, and they are wearing [law-enforcement] helmets.”

The political risk for Republicans in that strategy, many political observers told me, is not only that it could provoke more opposition from residents in the city centers, but that it could also accelerate the shift toward Democrats in the large, well-educated, and more and more diverse inner suburbs around the major cities. Over time, the “larger denser suburbs” have become “like cities and throw in with the cities”—they don’t identify as much with the less-populated areas, says Robert Lang, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and a co-author of the upcoming book Blue Metros, Red States.

The two conflicts between cities and Republican leaders represent the culmination of long-running trends. Tensions between GOP-controlled state governments and Democratic-led cities notably intensified after the 2010 midterm election, which delivered to Republicans unified control of the statehouse and governorship in about two dozen states. Since then, states have moved much more frequently than before to overturn city policies, such as those establishing paid sick leave, regulating gun sales, and imposing rent control.

These disputes generated national headlines when the Republican governor and state legislature in North Carolina approved legislation known as the “bathroom bill” in 2016, overturning a Charlotte city ordinance meant to guarantee equal rights for trans individuals. While Democratic states have occasionally overturned local actions, Briffault wrote in a 2018 analysis, the “preponderance of … preemptive actions and proposals have been advanced by Republican-dominated state governments.”

From the start, the response to the coronavirus outbreak in many of the states with GOP governors has followed this pattern. In some northern states, including Ohio, Maryland, and Massachusetts, GOP governors moved quickly to lock down the economy. Elsewhere, that didn’t happen: In Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Arizona—among others—Republican governors rejected pleas in March from big-city mayors to shut down the economy as the virus spread, and agreed only after Trump reluctantly acknowledged the need for closures.

That muted the battle between blue cities and red states for a few weeks. But it immediately resurfaced in May when Republican Governors Greg Abbott in Texas, Ron DeSantis in Florida, Brian Kemp in Georgia, and Doug Ducey in Arizona became among the first to lift their lockdown orders, following Trump’s insistent calls for reopening.

As caseloads in the major metropolitan centers of these states ticked up through June, and then soared into July, local officials have grown louder in urging governors to restore greater restrictions on economic and social activity. But Abbott and Ducey, while giving ground on mask requirements and closing bars, have denied repeated requests from local officials in cities such as Houston and Phoenix to grant them authority to restore a broader lockdown. DeSantis has staunchly refused calls to issue a statewide mask requirement or close more businesses.

Kemp has taken the most aggressive posture. As cases have grown in Georgia, particularly around Atlanta, he’s not only refused to issue a statewide mask mandate or roll back his reopening, but also explicitly blocked Atlanta’s attempt to tighten its own restrictions on business operations. Last week, he asked a court to invalidate a mask requirement issued by Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, and even bar her from publicly questioning his authority to make such decisions. Simultaneously, Kemp deployed the National Guard into Atlanta following the wave of protests and some violence there, over Bottoms’s explicit objections.

Kasim Reed, Bottoms’s immediate predecessor as Atlanta mayor, told me that Kemp’s open hostility toward the city is “nothing like what I’ve seen before. I served with a Republican governor, very conservative governor, Nathan Deal, and we never had these kinds of disagreements. We certainly never had that publicly.”

The next front in the confrontation between Republican governors and blue cities is coalescing around the reopening of public schools—another area where Trump has pushed governors to move aggressively. With varying degrees of coercion, many GOP governors have publicly pressed local school boards to reopen for full-week, in-person instruction. Amid the soaring caseloads in Texas, Abbott recently partially retreated, saying that districts could offer virtual instruction for at least the first few weeks of classes.

But in Florida, DeSantis has continued to urge wide-scale reopening; at a recent forum with South Florida officials, he responded to their concerns about safety by insisting that children should have a chance to play sports.

“What about having football season, things like that?” he asked. “We’ve got a lot of young kids who this is their ticket to be able to go to college through athletics … What happens to all those dreams?” On Monday, the Florida teachers’ union sued to block a state order that mandated in-person instruction (though the order vaguely suggested the possibility of exceptions if local health officials object).

Other fronts are rapidly flaring in this spreading GOP offensive against big cities. Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has urged Attorney General William Barr to open a federal investigation into Kim Gardner, the chief prosecutor in St. Louis, who decided this week to charge a white couple who waved weapons at protesters passing their suburban home last month. The state’s GOP governor, Mike Parson, has already signaled that he will pardon them if necessary. (Barr has also filed suits to strike down limits on religious gatherings during the pandemic in Louisville, Kentucky, and Greenville, Mississippi.)

Yesterday, Trump rekindled yet another smoldering conflict when he ordered the Census Bureau not to count undocumented immigrants in its survey, a move that would diminish the legislative representation of big cities where most of them live. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who joined the lawsuit that in 2019 blocked Trump from adding a citizenship question to the census, said this action too would fail in the courts. “President Trump already lost in the Supreme Court trying to sabotage the census,” he told me. “This latest effort is even more flawed and transparent than that first one.”

Potentially even more explosive is Trump’s decision to send federal law-enforcement officials into Portland following sustained protests there, as well as his threat to deploy federal agents into other cities run by “very liberal Democrats,” including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Oakland.

Both the deployment and threats have infuriated Democratic officials across the country. Becerra told me that although California prizes its partnership with federal law-enforcement agencies, if Trump “uses them to try to engage in what are the general police powers of a state, he is violating the Constitution” and the state will fight him in court. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot struck a similar tone yesterday when she said she would welcome federal assistance in combatting the city’s endemic gun violence, but oppose any effort to use federal personnel against protesters. Lightfoot joined 14 other big-city mayors in a scathing letter to Trump released this morning, which declared that “unilaterally deploying … paramilitary-type forces into our cities is wholly inconsistent with our system of democracy and our most basic values.” Philadelphia’s district attorney, Larry Krasner, even warned that he would seek to prosecute federal agents who “unlawfully” target protesters.

The politics of all these proliferating battles between Republican officials and Democratic cities may unfold at two levels. With Trump monumentally unpopular in urban centers but still strong in rural places, the most immediate political question is how suburban voters will respond.

Like other observers, Lang from Brookings notes that, historically, families moved to the suburbs explicitly because they wanted to separate themselves from the cities, and in many cases, from the large minority populations that they contained.

But since the 1990s, more suburbanites have concluded that their political views align more with the diverse, cosmopolitan cities nearby than with the more culturally conservative, preponderantly white, and Christian smaller places far from the urban core. Under Trump that process has intensified: He’s precipitated a significant shift toward the Democrats in white-collar suburbs that fueled the party’s sweeping gains in the House in 2018. Though Republicans once could count on big margins as soon as they crossed a city’s boundaries, Lang notes, now, in most places, “the line for Republicans has moved outward further” in the metro, he says.

The Atlanta area encapsulates this shift. As Reed noted, Cobb and Gwinnett Counties, the two giant suburbs immediately outside the city, were “the Republican base in the state” not long ago. But Hillary Clinton narrowly carried both of them in 2016, Stacey Abrams won them by much more in her close loss to Kemp in the 2018 governor’s race, and Joe Biden could expand those margins even more in November. “The inner suburbs aren’t moving—they are running,” Reed said. “Republicans are having to go further and further away from the city center in order to prevail.”

Trump’s alarms about “angry mobs” and “violent mayhem” in Democratic cities might allow him to recapture some Republican-leaning white suburbanites and energize his rural and small-town support, analysts in both parties told me. But as I’ve written before, his belligerent tone simultaneously risks hardening the opposition he’s facing from the many suburban voters who feel that he’s exposing them to more danger—both in his response to the policing protests and his unrelenting push to reopen the economy despite the coronavirus’s resurgence. In last week’s national Quinnipiac University poll, just over seven in 10 white voters holding at least a four-year college degree disapproved of Trump’s handling of both race relations and the outbreak.

The larger political implication of these battles is to deepen the sense that the nation is hardening into antagonistic camps separated by an imaginary border that circles all of the major population centers, dividing the metropolitan core within from the less densely settled places beyond.

Trump is determined to widen that trench. He is trying to rally red America by portraying blue cities as a threat, and then positioning himself as the human wall against them. Until now, Trump has advanced that divisive vision through rhetoric denouncing cities and through policies that cost them money and influence, such as eliminating the federal deduction for state and local taxes, trying to block Justice Department grants for cities that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and his renewed efforts to strip undocumented immigrants from the census.

But in these final months before the November election, Trump’s deployment of federal forces is transforming his political war on big cities into something much closer to the real thing. “It’s breathtaking in its danger,” said Emanuel, the former Chicago mayor. And if Trump wins a second term—especially if that victory relies on another rural surge to overcome massive opposition across the big metros—the chaos in Portland might look like only the preliminary skirmish for an even more incendiary collision to come.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #663 on: July 23, 2020, 02:23:42 PM »
Trump's coronavirus failures making ‘dreaded double-dip’ recession unavoidable: Yale economist

Donald Trump is banking on a recovering economy to save his flagging re-election campaign — but one economist is warning that the resurgence in coronavirus cases is making a double-dip recession more likely.

Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a senior lecturer at the Yale School of management, tells CNBC that hopes of a so-called “V-shaped recovery” appear less and less likely every day.

“The odds of a relapse, not just the virus but in the economy itself — the so-called dreaded double-dip, is very real,” he said. “This behavioral capitulation on the demand side of the U.S. economy is going to continue to create a lot of problems for businesses, business hirings, [and] potential corporate bankruptcies in the second half of this year.”

Roach noted that while China has mostly succeeded in getting its productive capabilities back up to speed after the worst of the pandemic had passed, it has still seen lagging consumer demand, and he expects a similar pattern to occur in the United States.

“They’re struggling to bring consumer demand back especially for face to face services where individuals are fearful of getting re-infected,” he said.

Trump attacks Liz Cheney in early morning Twitter rant — and says she’s ‘only upset’ he’s pulling out of ‘endless wars’

Donald Trump on Thursday launched an attack on his own party’s House Conference Chair.

In a tweet that echoed attacks launched this week by several House Freedom Caucus members, Trump called out Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) for trying to thwart his foreign policy decisions.

“Liz Cheney is only upset because I have been actively getting our great and beautiful Country out of the ridiculous and costly Endless Wars,” he wrote. “I am also making our so-called allies pay tens of billions of dollars in delinquent military costs. They must, at least, treat us fairly!!!”

The president then promoted a tweet from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who similarly accused Cheney of sabotaging the president’s plans to extract the American military from Afghanistan.

“We should all join Donald Trump in advocating to stop our endless wars,” Paul wrote. “Liz Cheney not only wants to stay forever, she’s leading the fight to try to stop him from leaving. Unacceptable.”

The White House is trying to throw Republican governors under the bus by rewriting history

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway appeared to signal a new shift in messaging on the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday by throwing governors — particularly Republican allies of the president — under the bus.

Of course, this is a common tactic in President Donald Trump’s administration. As soon as it becomes convenient, abandon any allies and blame them for any mistakes.

But in this case, the attempt is so cynical and transparent to anyone with a long-term memory that it’s hard to believe it could work at all. Conway apparently wants us to forget Trump’s attitude toward the pandemic for the last three months. She made this clear as she blamed states for opening up too quickly and triggering a resurgence of the coronavirus, even though that’s exactly what Trump urged them to do.

“Some of these states blew through the phases, blew through our gated criteria, blew through our phases, and they opened up some of the industries a little too quickly, like bars,” she told a group of reporters. “Remember, the governors wanted complete latitude over when they would open their states. They pushed back heavily, handsomely, Republicans and Democrats, when it was falsely rumored that the president was going to be in charge of opening the states.”

“He encouraged them to open—” a reporter pointed out.

“But not everybody has,” she said. “And remember, he pushed back on the governor of Georgia, a Republican, who he frankly helped get elected, he pushed back on him early. And some people didn’t like that. But he did that, he said publicly to all of you: ‘I think it’s just a little too early. Why don’t we wait a little bit longer?’ So the president was already on the record doing that long before these other states decided whether they would open or not.”

In these remarks, Conway was trying to blatantly rewrite history. She’s right that on April 23, Trump told Gov. Brian Kemp he was moving to quickly to reopen Georgia. But that move was itself a reversal — Trump had been signaling in the days prior that he was eager to see states reopen.  Trump has already thrown his support behind anti-lockdown protesters, calling to “liberate” states from restrictive coronavirus countermeasures.

And while Trump did pump the brakes lightly that week, he soon aggressively jammed on the gas to reopen the country in contradiction of his administration’s own guidelines. The fact that the virus is now surging through the country and deaths from COVID-19 are rising for the third straight week in a row is a direct consequence of that recklessness.

It was clear at the time how reckless Trump was being, and experts across the country warned against it. But despite Conway’s denials, it was Trump himself who took the lead on reopening.

On April 28, Trump was already telling states to consider reopening schools.

On May 4, the Washington Post reported:

States across the country are moving swiftly to reopen their economies despite failing to achieve benchmarks laid out by the White House for when social distancing restrictions could be eased to ensure the public’s safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

These governors’ biggest cheerleader is President Trump.

A slew of states — such as Texas, Indiana, Colorado and Florida — have pushed forward with relaxing social distancing guidelines even as the number of people testing positive in many states has increased in recent weeks and testing continues to lag behind. White House recommendations released last month encouraged states to wait to see a decline in cases over a two-week period, as well as having robust testing in place for front-line workers before entering “Phase One” of a gradual comeback.

Texas and Florida are among the states that have since seen major spikes in cases and deaths.

And on May 22 — despite Conway claiming Trump cares about federalism and respecting states’ independence — Trump threatened to “override” any governor who did not permit religious services to return to their halls of worship. Experts have warned that such gatherings have many of the conditions most prone to allow rampant spread of the virus.

So there’s no getting away from it. However much Conway tries to lie and spin her way out of it, she admitted that the premature reopenings are to blame for the virus’s resurgence. And the blame for the push to reopen early — not to mention the failure to create an infrastructure for tracking and suppressing the virus — falls squarely on Trump’s shoulders.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #664 on: July 23, 2020, 02:47:17 PM »
Is it too late? Fascism expert explains the next moves from Trump’s ‘authoritarian playbook’

At the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, there’s a poster which identifies “The 12 Early Warning Signs of Fascism.”

Here are the criteria:

Powerful and continuing nationalism
Disdain for human rights
Identification of enemies as a unifying cause
Rampant sexism
Controlled mass media
Obsession with national security
Religion and government intertwined
Corporate power protected
Labor power suppressed
Disdain for intellectuals and the arts
Obsession with crime and punishment
Rampant cronyism and corruption
This in too many ways is America in the Age of Trump.

Trump and his regime are engaged in a white supremacist counterrevolution against the civil rights movement, in which the human rights of nonwhite people are being revoked. This includes a recent effort to circumvent the Constitution by deeming that undocumented immigrants (overwhelmingly Black and brown people) should be erased from the population for purposes of congressional representation.

Trump and his regime are criminalizing dissent. He has gone so far as to explicitly state that people who disagree with him are akin to Nazis and should be imprisoned or worse.

Trump and his regime have no respect for the rule of law, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or democratic norms and principles more generally. Trump has repeatedly suggested that he will not respect the outcome of the 2020 election if he does not win.

Trump and his regime have unleashed a secret federal police force to gas, shoot, beat and illegally detain nonviolent protesters in Portland, Oregon, and potentially elsewhere.

In a predictable escalation, Trump — through Attorney General William Barr — has ordered that the regime’s thugs be deployed to other Democrat-led cities to enforce “law and order.” It is entirely plausible that Trump’s secret police will also be used to help him steal the presidential election.

Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, recently announced that the forces under his command may  “proactively” arrest people for crimes they have not yet committed. Such dystopian logic mixes George Orwell’s “1984” with Philip K. Dick’s “Minority Report.”

TrumpWorld also reflects the horrible surrealism of the film and novel “Children of Men” turned into a lived experience for America and the world. Writing at the New Statesman, Gavin Jacobson observes:

The way the film extrapolates from the here and now is the reason the late cultural theorist Mark Fisher thought “Children of Men” was unique. Writing in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Fisher understood the film as a true depiction of what he called “‘capitalist realism’: the widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.”

“Children of Men” does not take place at the end of the world, which has already happened, but within its chilling coda, where, as Fisher writes, “internment camps and franchise coffee bars co-exist”. There is no desire to create alternate ways of living, or to make the end of times less awful. …

The idea that we’re out of time is what makes “Children of Men” both a mirror and augur of the world, and the world to come. At the end of history, cut off from its past and pessimistic about the future, and facing slow death under rising tides, humanity has resigned itself to a somnambulant life. It is a life of finitude, routine and conformity; one without vision, spontaneity or surprise, where we no longer seek to live larger lives or even strive for our continued existence. We have become Nietzsche’s “last men”.

Facing the onslaught of neo-fascism, the American people remain stuck in a state of denial, learned helplessness and fear. Donald Trump and his movement have American democracy and civil society in a chokehold.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University and an expert in fascism and authoritarianism. She is the author of “Fascist Modernities: Italy 1922-1945” and “Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema” and other books.

Her opinion essays and other writing have been featured by CNN, the Washington Post, The New Yorker and the Atlantic. Ben-Ghiat’s new book is “Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present,” to be published in November.

In this conversation she warns that Trump’s threats of violence against the American people — including against leading Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — are very real. Ben-Ghiat also explains that the American news media normalized Donald Trump because most journalists are unable to admit that the United States is a failing democracy.

Ben-Ghiat details how the American people (and America’s political elites) remain in denial about the realities of neo-fascism and autocracy, because to admit the truth would mean confronting the fact that they must take action against such forces — and have not done so.

You can also listen to my conversation with Ruth Ben-Ghiat on my podcast “The Truth Report” or through the player embedded below in the link.

The mainstream news media is finally using the words “fascism” and “authoritarianism” to describe Donald Trump and his regime. I have been using such language since Trump’s campaign in 2015. You and other historians, political scientists, philosophers, mental health experts and others have also been sounding the alarm about Donald Trump and what he represents. We were largely ignored and branded as being hysterical. How does it feel to see the proper language finally being used to describe Trump and the threat he represents?

I’m divided. I’m disgusted with how bad things have become in this country. I remember the first time I saw the word “authoritarian” on a chyron for CNN. It was actually because Sen. Cory Booker, who’s been very smart about this crisis, was speaking and he used the word. CNN finally displayed the word on the screen, and I thought to myself, “Oh my God, the efforts of many of us are finally getting into the system.”

Historians and others have been trying to engage in civic education, to help the public and journalists understand that yes, it can happen here. Ultimately, to see CNN and other major media outlets finally use the word “authoritarianism” to describe Donald Trump and this administration means that things are really bad in America right now.

Unfortunately, those voices in the mainstream American news media who are finally describing the Trump regime in those terms then fail to engage in a substantive discussion of the implications.

I think it’s difficult for people to digest what that would mean, for a few reasons. One is that we are still operating with an old-fashioned idea of what authoritarian countries are like. That is one of the reasons I use the word “fascistic” as opposed to “fascism” to describe Donald Trump. When we use the word “fascism” most people think of an instant shutdown of democracy and brown shirts and other political thugs in the streets.

Many people will also rebut the claim that Trump is fascist by using superficial examples such as “There’s still a free press. People can still speak out.” The reality is that today’s authoritarianism works differently than it did in previous incarnations. Today’s version of fascism does not need one-party states, for example. In discussing Trump and fascism, it is more effective to talk about how it operates at present.

What would the narrative be if the American media were covering the events which are taking place under Donald Trump, but in another country?

What is going on corresponds to what I call the authoritarian playbook. Donald Trump is not interested in governing the United States.  He’s in office to enrich himself off public office, help his cronies and build his personality cult. Again, people are anchored to an old-fashioned understanding of what the presidency should be in a democratic country. It is very hard for the public to make the leap to how Trump is a fundamental break from American tradition.

Now, if we start explaining how America is in fact in an authoritarian situation with Donald Trump and his administration, then another question arises. One of the reasons so many people are scared is that to admit the truth about Trump and authoritarianism then means they have to do something about it. Many people do not want to take that leap.

Yes, there are protesters in the streets. But the American business elite also must make that leap by accepting the reality of the situation. History teaches us that it is conservatives who support authoritarians and their rise to power. The American business elites are going to have to change how they think. They are going to have to speak out against American authoritarianism and Trumpism. American business elites have to make a decision about where they stand relative to Trump and authoritarianism.

The American people are going to need to make decisions about where they stand as well. It is easier to not make a decision. It is easier to just flip the channel, shift the topic, and pretend Trump and American authoritarianism are not really happening.

There is this cadre of establishment journalists, analysts and other members of the chattering class whom I describe as “hope peddlers.” They are always trying to spin some happy story about a return to normalcy. They are also many of the same people who are stenographers of current events but not really speaking truth to power. We see this with much of the horse-race journalism regarding the 2020 election. They are operating from the wrong playbook for understanding authoritarianism and a failing democracy. One obvious example is the widespread assumption that there will even be a real election on Nov. 3.

Americans have no experience with authoritarianism and a failing democracy. America has never been invaded by a foreign power and occupied. Americans have never had a dictatorship. Of course, there is the obvious exception of black Americans and their experience with Jim Crow, slavery and oppression. But as a national lived experience for most Americans, the country has not experienced a dictatorship or anything like it.

White Americans are now discovering what people of color have long known, that we do not have a real democracy in this country. Many Americans are finding it very difficult to wake up from the stories they learned in school about this being the freest nation in the world and a successful democracy.

At what point is it to late to save a democracy that is falling into authoritarianism?

Historically, when there are people who have signed on to their roles within an authoritarian fascistic state it is very hard to dislodge such people. They cling to the status quo of the corrupt leader for dear life. This happens because of cronyism and corruption. Everyone involved with the regime is made complicit.

Of course, this is what happened in Putin’s Russia and other authoritarian states. The system is one of mutual complicity. That means not wanting to rock the boat because the whole system could come tumbling down. For example, if you think about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and how the public was waiting for them to start the impeachment against Donald Trump, there was a clear sense that they did not want to cause fundamental disruption. Why? Because the American political class is intertwined.

There was a sense earlier on with Trump that nobody wanted to rock the boat. I do think we as a country are in a different place now, given all that has happened with the Trump administration.

But the whole situation in America right now is still too upsetting and too uncertain for most people. The country’s elites and the people in their circle know they could lose their privileges. They will potentially lose their careers. They’ll have to make compromises. The hope-peddling which involves just staying the course is much more appealing. That is the reason why Nancy Pelosi recently said, “No, we’re not going to impeach Barr. We’re going to let the people speak through the election.” That is the mentality of the country’s political elites and a fear of rocking the boat too much.

Trump is very obvious. There is no subtlety in his threats of violence against the Democrats and his other “enemies,” which include any Americans who dare to disagree with him and his movement. Why is still there so much denial of this reality by the American people and political leaders?

Sometimes people simple do not know what to do. They feel powerless. They can become numb because Trump and his agents are flooding the zone with waste, as Steve Bannon said of his right-wing takeover strategy. Therefore, it becomes very difficult to react to any one single crisis.

The huge danger is that it is quite probable that Donald Trump will be elected again. Trump will in fact try to put Barack Obama on trial. Trump is obsessed with him. Trump’s obsession is not unlike that of other right-wing authoritarians with their predecessors.

Donald Trump is not kidding when he says he considers Barack Obama to be a traitor and wants to undo everything that Obama has done, to literally try to cancel Obama. Donald Trump is not kidding when he says he wants to put Obama in prison. It is important to take Trump’s threats seriously.

How do you locate Trump’s threats of violence — and the actual violence by his street thugs and other enforcers — relative to other examples in history?

This is why it’s important to have an up-to-date sense of how authoritarianism evolves. If we keep using the fascism of the Holocaust and World War II violence as the standard of judgment, then Donald Trump and leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan are always going to look good. For example, mass detention rather than mass killing is the way that many authoritarians today operate.

The conditions in some of Trump’s detention centers for migrants, refugees and other undocumented people have been labeled by outside observers as constituting torture. Many things that are happening right now in America under Trump resemble the security techniques that America used on other countries. One of the ironies of the Trump era is that all of that American military might that supported right-wing authoritarians abroad for decades is coming home to roost.

How did you interpret the rapid series of events with Trump’s response to the George Floyd protests, his retreat to the White House bunker, the military’s de facto refusal to follow Trump’s orders for martial law, and the attacks he ordered on protesters?

It is a compressed cycle of many things that happen when authoritarians start to fall from power. There is the fleeing into the bunker and the protests — which are not only about Trump, they’re about entrenched institutional racism. The protests continue because the American people know that there is an actual white supremacist in the White House. With the fleeing into the bunker there is also the retaliation, the barrage against the public from the leader. That is Trump’s order to use the military against the protesters in Washington.

There is also another dimension to this cycle, elite defections. Members of the government start to speak out. There are people who finally decide that the leader has gone too far.

There was a hint of this with Gen. James Mattis speaking out against Trump’s use of the military in the United States against the American people and his threats of martial law. Gen. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, publicly said, “I was wrong. I shouldn’t have been used for this photo-op.”

Trump’s photo-op, where he tried to look strong by walking to the church across the street from the White House after the attack on the protesters, was also right out of the authoritarian playbook. These events are very revealing as to how far Trump will go to stay in power — and the potential dissent and resistance from the highest levels of the United States military as well.

What is the role of death, masculinity and violence in a fascistic and/or authoritarian regime?

These leaders, including Trump, genuinely do not care if you live or die. They could not care less. You are just a tool to be used so they can stay in power and enrich themselves. That’s the premise. That is why they lead people into losing wars. They repress them. They do things that some people consider self-destructive — but in fact there is no greater power for the egocentric, narcissistic authoritarian than having people sacrifice themselves for him.

An example of this was Donald Trump daring people to go to his Tulsa rally with no masks on in the middle of a pandemic. This has not been stressed enough in terms of the public’s understanding of Donald Trump. Trump engages in male domination games with everyone. Trump even did it to Mike Pence when he announced that Pence would be his running mate in 2016.

What greater ego rush for Donald Trump than to have his supporters risk their lives for the joy of listening to him speak in person? Donald Trump will gladly send the American people to their deaths — his own supporters included — because they are just tools for him. Traditional understandings of what it means to be president in a democracy do not account for this. The public does not want to comprehend the behavior of Donald Trump.

Why are so many people willing to die for Donald Trump? For that matter, why are so many of his supporters willing to kill for him?

They are a death cult. During World War II, Germans killed themselves for Hitler. Trump shows how such things can happen even in a nominal democracy. The self-destruction for the leader makes it even more scary because it is voluntary. So many Republicans, Lindsey Graham for example, have prostituted themselves to Donald Trump. Of course such people have their own agendas and actually believe that they are using Donald Trump and not the other way around. No one is holding a death sentence over these people who have prostituted themselves to Donald Trump. It is not like one of the other authoritarian regimes where supporting the leader was and is a literal matter of life and death. Trump just fires people. In other countries a person who the leader was done with would be put in prison or killed.

If Putin is displeased with somebody, he finds a way to put them in prison, or sometimes poison them. The stakes in the United States with Trump are so much lower at present. What is going to happen to someone who stands up and does the right thing? They might not have as great of a career. They might not be asked to sit on boards of directors. They’ll lose out on some money. They might be shunned at their church. But overall, it is not a life and death situation. It is a very sad situation that more people from Trump’s  administration and the United States government do not speak out. It is a spectacle of the cravenness of humanity that we are all seeing in the Trump era.

Let us assume that there is a presidential election in November and that Trump is defeated by Joe Biden. What happens next?

Authoritarian leaders do not experience defeat like other types of people. They are not normal people who would just give up the office and step down. Defeat is a form of psychological annihilation for a leader like Donald Trump. For men like Trump, authoritarians, their sense of self-worth is completely determined by adulation and having the power to bully people. It makes leaders such as Donald Trump feel good.

If authoritarian leaders feel that power is being taken away from them, they get very angry. They will do desperate things to prove to themselves that they are still loved. I would expect him to energize right-wing gun fanatics to create civil unrest because he wants to show the American people — his supporters — that without him being president the country will truly descend into anarchy. I would be very surprised that if Trump lost on Election Day to Joe Biden, he doesn’t do horrible things. It is the only way that he can show himself, in his own fantasy world, that he truly is the savior of the country.

What advice would you give to the American people about the next few months and how to prepare for what may happen with Trump and the election?

All of our tweeting and all the things we do digitally do not mean anything if the American people cannot vote. Volunteer to help register voters. Help people make sure they are on the eligible voter lists. If there is an overwhelming Biden victory on Election Day, it becomes much harder for Donald Trump to successfully find a way to stay in office.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #665 on: July 23, 2020, 03:05:35 PM »
'The cake has been baked': Ex GOP lawmaker says there’s almost nothing Trump can do to fix coronavirus mess

Former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent said on Thursday that it appears far too late for President Donald Trump to do anything that will improve the public health disaster that has occurred under his watch.

During an interview on CNN, Dent explained that the president’s poll numbers have taken a dive thanks to both his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his decision to send federal officials into cities against the wishes of local elected leaders.

When it comes to the pandemic, Dent believes that the president has boxed himself in, and will have no choice but to suffer the consequences.

“The cake has been baked on the pandemic and his response,” he said. “I don’t think there’s much he can do to improve it right now.”

He also doubted that Trump’s “law and order” campaign of storming cities with federal officials would help him either.

“This law-and-order stuff that he’s talking about right now, sending in federal agents into cities, you know, without the consent… of the state and local officials is very problematic,” he said. “It has to be done collaboratively.”

Watch the video below:

Presenting The Brand New Ad From The Lincoln Project


We could have won, but our "wartime" president surrendered.


Offline Paul May

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #666 on: July 23, 2020, 04:27:56 PM »
I bet Royell can't even begin to explain what he stands for.

We know from his abominable behavior on this forum that he; (1) couldn't care less about the 143.000 + covid deaths and plays down the corona crisis, (2) constantly denies reality by dismissing everything he doesn't like or can't deal with as "fake news", (3) cheers on Trump as he is unleashing armed thugs, pretending to be law enforcement, on the American people and enjoy it when people get beaten up, (4) has no problem with a Nazi like repressive Government actively trampling the constitution and people's rights, (5) defends Bill Barr as he makes a complete mockery of our justice systems and abuses his powers as AG.

But beyond that.... crickets.

All Royell really seems to stand for is suppression and domination of the American people, corruption and a complete breakdown of law and order. That's one hell of an American!
Could not be said any better. Well done Martin.

Offline Royell Storing

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #667 on: July 23, 2020, 05:03:04 PM »

  I guess Dem. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler forgot to wear his "White Privilege" badge last night at the RIOTS. LAW ENFORCEMENT Knows NO PRIVILEGE when confronting a MOB of Law Breaking Rioters. "Law & Order" is a "Winning, Winning, Winning" Issue for Pres Trump. Trump 2020 Rolls On!

Offline Paul May

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #668 on: July 23, 2020, 05:04:07 PM »
Republican Group Uses Trump's Own Words Against Him In Searing Swing-State Ad

Ed Mazza

A group of Republicans opposed to President Donald Trump has taken out a TV ad in the battleground state of Arizona calling out the administration’s failures on the coronavirus pandemic.

Arizona has been hit especially hard, with more than 150,000 cases and almost 3,000 deaths.

The new ad from Republican Voters Against Trump, airing on Fox News in the state this week, shows how Trump has consistently underestimated the toll. It concludes with a damning quote from Trump himself: “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

Trump made the comment in March when asked about his administration’s failure to deliver tests and other essential supplies early in the pandemic.

Trump won Arizona by more than 3 percentage points in 2016, but polls this year show Joe Biden holding a slight but consistent edge. The current FiveThirtyEight average has Biden up by 2.7 percentage point in the state, which has 11 electoral votes.

Republican Voters Against Trump said the spot is in conjunction with its $10 million campaign. Many of the organization’s ads highlight the voices of rank-and-file GOP voters who have turned on the president. The group says it has more than 500 anti-Trump video testimonials from Republican voters.

Another anti-Trump GOP group is also out with a new video hitting the president’s indifference to the rising death toll, among other issues.

The spot from the Lincoln Project ― co-founded by George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and other longtime GOP insiders  ― also uses the president’s own words against him:

Offline Paul May

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Re: Trump supporters and conspiracy theory - Part 2
« Reply #669 on: July 23, 2020, 05:14:32 PM »
The pandemic rages away in Florida. Unfortunately for the POTUS he CANNOT win re-election without winning Florida. The winner of Florida has won the past 6 presidential elections. So how’s it looking?

Current Florida presidential polling as of July 22nd.

According to, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 6.4%, 48.9% to 42.5%. The site ranks the relative strength of each poll based on past performance, but there’s been only been one statewide poll of Florida ranked “B” or higher in the month of July (YouGov, which had Biden ahead 48%-42%). For a state that means as much as Florida, the dearth of polling so far is interesting.

And since the peninsula is a state that’s struggled with containing Covid-19 as much as any other, more recent polling is likely to be more accurate as citizens decide whom to blame and praise with their support considering the current lockdown and state of the nation.


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