Monday, December 04, 2023

Kagan's Warning

Robert Kagan is not optimistic about the future of the United States. He writes

Let’s stop the wishful thinking and face the stark reality: There is a clear path to dictatorship in the United States, and it is getting shorter every day. In 13 weeks, Donald Trump will have locked up the Republican nomination. In the RealClearPolitics poll average (for the period from Nov. 9 to 20), Trump leads his nearest competitor by 47 points and leads the rest of the field combined by 27 points. The idea that he is unelectable in the general election is nonsense — he is tied or ahead of President Biden in all the latest polls — stripping other Republican challengers of their own stated reasons for existence. The fact that many Americans might prefer other candidates, much ballyhooed by such political sages as Karl Rove, will soon become irrelevant when millions of Republican voters turn out to choose the person whom no one allegedly wants.

For many months now, we have been living in a world of self-delusion, rich with imagined possibilities. Maybe it will be Ron DeSantis, or maybe Nikki Haley. Maybe the myriad indictments of Trump will doom him with Republican suburbanites. Such hopeful speculation has allowed us to drift along passively, conducting business as usual, taking no dramatic action to change course, in the hope and expectation that something will happen. Like people on a riverboat, we have long known there is a waterfall ahead but assume we will somehow find our way to shore before we go over the edge. But now the actions required to get us to shore are looking harder and harder, if not downright impossible.

Barring some miracle, Trump will soon be the presumptive Republican nominee for president. When that happens, there will be a swift and dramatic shift in the political power dynamic, in his favor. Until now, Republicans and conservatives have enjoyed relative freedom to express anti-Trump sentiments, to speak openly and positively about alternative candidates, to vent criticisms of Trump’s behavior past and present. Donors who find Trump distasteful have been free to spread their money around to help his competitors. Establishment Republicans have made no secret of their hope that Trump will be convicted and thus removed from the equation without their having to take a stand against him.

Trump will not be contained by the courts or the rule of law. On the contrary, he is going to use the trials to display his power. That’s why he wants them televised. Trump’s power comes from his following, not from the institutions of American government, and his devoted voters love him precisely because he crosses lines and ignores the old boundaries. They feel empowered by it, and that in turn empowers him. Even before the trials begin, he is toying with the judges, forcing them to try to muzzle him, defying their orders. He is a bit like King Kong testing the chains on his arms, sensing that he can break free whenever he chooses.

Given the way the Electoral College functions, there is a good chance Trump could win again. If he does win, he'll not only be a problem for Americans. He'll be a problem for the world.

Image: The Washington Post


zoombats said...

"He'll be a problem for the world". Think about our position as the neighbour to the north.Every Canadian should take notice because our open border socialist attitudes and all that clean water will be hard to ignore. Our lifestyle flies in the face of the lunatic fringe and they won't be able to contain their quest to save us from ourselves and the commie threat

Owen Gray said...

There's a rising tide of anger everywhere, PoV. In such an environment, it's easy to take a wrong turn.

Owen Gray said...

Trump's base is religious zealots, zoombats. They will most certainly seek to convert us.

Owen Gray said...

Myopia and tunnel vision abound, TB. There is no future if you can't see it.

Cap said...

If we get Trump as prez and PP as PM, can Anschluss be far behind?

jrkrideau said...

This is the Robert Kagan of the Project for the New American Century? The man whose wife, Victoria Nuland, organized and financed the Maidan Coup in Kiev in 2014?

He is worried about "a clear path to dictatorship in the United States"? Well he must know what he is talking about since he has supported dictatorships everywhere else in the world.

Owen Gray said...

Those who refuse to learn from history repeat it, Cap.

Owen Gray said...

Kagan is a hard-right conservative, jrk. If he's worried we all should be worried.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I remember a line in a poem in Grade 7 English: “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. DJF

Owen Gray said...

That's from the Book of Proverbs, DJF.

e.a.f. said...

Yes, a problem for the world but especially for Canada and Mexico. we might want to build a wall.
Was reading an article today which reported on a question asked of Michael Cohen, what would he do if Trump is re elected. Cohen's response was, he'd seek asylum im another country because Trump would have him killed to get even. When reporters asked about this, Cohen responded they didn't know Trump like he knew him.

Trump has been clear he will persecute those who opposed him. He has been clear he wants to "clean house" and one could expect some Americans to leave their country. Wonder what Trump will do if they do leave the country. Will he have various government agencies try to bring them back, how will other countries deal with that. Will Trump "invade Mexico". If he does how will the cartels react.

I'm sure Trump would be looking to divide a lot of the world up between himself, Xi and Putin.

Trump is old. He might have a heart attack and expire. He might wind up in jail.
Trump has been clear he wil use the military against American citizens. He thinks he can fire Generals who do not agree with him. Usually that results in a civil war.

The best we can hope for is he goes to jail. Heard enough about fascist dictators as a child while eavesdropping on adults talking about life in Europe during WW II. I'm really not interested in going through what our parents went through.

We ought not to forget that the convoyers in Ottawa, wanted the federal government to resign adn they, the truckers would take over government with the G.G. Yes, we have our wack jobs also and then we have politicians like PP, Smith, etc.

Owen Gray said...

We should not forget that, among the protesters, there were those who carried Trump flags, e.a.f.

Owen Gray said...

jrkrideau commented

Kagan is a hard-right conservative, jrk. If he's worried we all should be worried.

I am not sure about that. Kagan is a member of "The Establishment". Trump threatens them. There are probably all sorts of reasons to worry about Trump as US president but Kagan is more worried about losing power and status than anything else.

Trump is too incompetent to be a real dictator. He can do real damage to the current US mess, possibly setting the stage for a tyranny, but he, himself, lacks the skills to be a dictator.

What is the alternative, Genocide Joe, who has managed to encourage and support wars in Ukraine and Israel/Gaza. Trump, despite a few very stupid moves, did not start even one new war.

And, let's not forget "labour loving Joe" tossed the railway unions under the bus.

The USA makes Germany in the 1920's look like a staid and stable democracy.

Owen Gray said...

The United States likes to throw its weight around, jrk. But, in my book, Biden and Trump are not equivalents. Biden's a much better president than Trump.

Anonymous said...

The "Deplorable"! What a moron!


Owen Gray said...

Hilary Clinton took a lot of flack for using that word, PW. But it was spot on.