America First … hear a distant echo: “Deutschland über alles” …
If you want to gradually turn the USA into a neo-fascist state, assuming that you already hold immense executive power (the Presidency), then first you must undermine the essential pillars of democracy. These include a free press and media, an independent judiciary and public confidence in democracy itself.
Confidence in democracy itself (the fair counting of votes):
When it comes to voting rights, Democrats push voter protection while Republicans shout voter fraud in a crowded polling place. Democrats think anyone who can vote should vote; Republicans think everyone who should vote can vote. ~ Christine Pelosi
Trump and his advisors continue, even after winning the election and despite still not providing any evidence of vote rigging, to try and undermine public confidence in the voting system.
- “I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time) …”
- “… there are 24 million voter registrations in the United States that are either invalid or significantly inaccurate.”
- “There are 1.8 million dead people that are registered right now to vote .. And folks, folks, some of them vote.”
White House adviser, Stephen Miller: “Voter fraud is a serious problem in this country.”
An independent, free press and media:
Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter. ~Thomas Jefferson, 1787
Donald Trump (in a speech at the CIA’s headquarters): “I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”
This “war” now has now extended to banning some media organisations – including the BBC, CNN and the New York Times – from a press briefing. Authoritarian regimes around the world will be familiar with such moves.
And more …
- “The media — much of the media, not all of it — is very, very dishonest. Honestly, it’s fake news. It’s fake. They make things up.”
- “… disgusting and corrupt media …”
- The media is “out of control.”
- “The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people.”
- “It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want.”
- Reporters “are part of the corrupt system”.
- “The FAKE NEWS media (failing New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS, CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon: “The media should be … humiliated and keep its mouth shut … The media here is the opposition party.”
An independent judiciary:
The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law and that means we have to have an independent judiciary, judges who can make decisions independent of the political winds that are blowing. ~ Caroline Kennedy
- “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system.”
- “The opinion of this so-called judge … is ridiculous.”
- “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban …”
- “… he is Hispanic … He is a very hostile judge to me”
When a federal appeals court rejected his appeal against an earlier court decision that ended his attempted blanket ban on travel into the USA from seven Muslim countries, Donald Trump said “It’s a political decision”, whilst a White House adviser, Stephen Miller, called it a “judicial usurpation of power”.
* * * * * *
To repeat, to turn the USA a neo-fascist state ruled by edict from a “strong man” (see Trump: neo-fascist) you must first convince the American people that their enemies include a free press/media, an independent judiciary and the voting system itself.
The more successful this propaganda message is, the more licence you have to sweep these pillars of democracy away … or perhaps “drain the bigger swamp” as Trump might well describe it.
As history has shown repeatedly, the more hierarchical and centralised that a governing system seeks to become, the more that alleged ‘threats to national security’ are used as justification to impose ever-stronger measures towards ‘law and order’ and the restriction of freedoms, and the more that alleged ‘enemies’ are needed as scapegoats to divert attention away from the “strong man’s” failings.
Trump already had Mexicans and Muslims firmly on his scapegoat list. Now he’s including judges and reporters.
How long before he adds Congress itself to his list of “enemies of the people”?