Why Trump Looks More Like a Despot Every Day

Let’s connect the dots on our despot in the wings. #NotMyPresident

Trump no longer gives a mere wink and a nod to the Alt Right. He’s appointing Steve Bannon, one of the Alt Right’s leading promoters, as his second lieutenant. Bannon runs a media outlet that provides a huge bullhorn through which the Trump White House can continue to incite his most rabid followers. (Columns I’ve read this week warn of Breitbart becoming the new “state owned media” of the U.S.)

We know the GOP establishment cannot control Trump. They spent $110 million on Jeb’s campaign to be met with a pathetic defeat. They next anointed Rubio as the chosen one only to watch him also quickly fail. The mighty Kochs stayed on the sidelines, and all the GOP royalty opposed him, to no avail.

What about the GOP faithful? Most run of the mill Republicans didn’t favor Trump at first, but they have come a long way toward normalizing him now that he’s won the primary and general elections. Maybe it’s just capitulation. The reasonable and sane GOP citizenry also haven’t been able to control Trump – or overrule his followers – ever.

Then there’s Trump’s wealth, which insulates him from legal accountability and adds further to his overall power. What do you get when you combine a billionaire with the biggest military and nuclear arsenal in the world? Sounds like the set up for a joke, but it’s not. What you get is someone with almost endless resources and insuperable might — combined.

Also consider that Trump will have control of the very agencies that might once have reined him in. His appointed head of the IRS will be overseeing his (apparently interminable) tax audits. His DOJ, the highest level of law enforcement in the country, will be doing the bidding of a flagrantly corrupt and lawless person.

And it almost goes without saying that we cannot just hope and pray that Trump will control himself. He’s shown that he is almost singularly self-interested and self-promoting. And he is morally and intellectually insubstantial, maybe not even able to distinguish what is true and honorable, but certainly not inclined to care.

So, what are our firewalls? Our First Amendment rights of speech and free assembly – which he’s sure to try to curtail. (Give now to the ACLU if you haven’t already. I’m a monthly donor now.) The courts, which thankfully cannot all be co-opted by his executive power or bought by his wealth, but which move slowly. The sane, stable governments of the world, which hopefully can exercise some leverage against his most extreme tendencies – though they face their own populist and nationalistic rebellions.

And us. You, me and others who see that without an impassioned defense, the history we are writing, right now, may well be about how the Amercan experiment finally ends.

Trump’s hands may be small, but his thumb is huge and its full weight is on the scale that holds our future in the balance. Get involved, get outraged. And stay that way. ‘Til the bitter end.