Friday, December 09, 2016

Is Trump a demagogue?

The Trump phenomenon is described as populism, the political doctrine that supports the rights and powers of the common people in their struggle with the privileged elite. Populism is allied to the idea of a demagogue, a political leader who makes emotion-charged speeches that play on the passions of the crowd, and shuts down reasonable debate.

The characteristics of a demogogue, as listed here, fit Trump very well.

  1. Scapegoating 
  2. Lying
  3. Oratory
  4. Pitilessness
  5. Brutality
  6. Insults applied to opponents
  7. Epithets applied to opponents
  8. Lack of good manners
  9. Folksy presentation
  10. Simplistic arguments
  11. Attack on news media
I would say Trump gets 12 /12 on this score.
The bad news is that historically, demagogues often turn into dictators. Hitler was a demagogue.
We must hope that the US system of checks and balances prevents Trump becoming a dictator. With Republican Congress and Senate we cannot totally rely on that. Let's hope that Michael Moore is right, and that the electoral college refuses to endorse Trump. He is after all, lagging 2.7 million behind Hillary in the popular vote.

If Moore is wrong, we are in for some very interesting times.

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