Reading: trump failing be an actual authoritarian

From trump failing be an actual authoritarian

Not exactly reassuring but this observation strikes a note that’s been subtonal for a while: he’s about looking big, and we’re his toys. A feckless, flailing president.

Trump has never been shy about his authoritarian impulses. He regularly voices admiration for dictators and has expressed his belief that Article II of the Constitution allows him to do “whatever I want.” Yet that authoritarianism has not manifested with as much force as some might have feared (or desired). Trump has exerted power aggressively in the realms where he is least restrained, most notably immigration enforcement, but he has not pushed far beyond that: There have been no jackboots deployed against dissidents, no shipping off of presidential enemies to Guantánamo Bay. And in some instances, such as the ongoing pandemic, Trump has largely declined to exert federal power at all—instead shrugging his shoulders and leaving the work of actually governing to the states.

All of which makes this past week an important cautionary tale for the election itself if Trump does, in fact, lose. The authoritarian instinct will still be there, of course. So will the flailing weakness, we suspect, and the effort to get his administration to take wildly inappropriate, even illegal steps. His degree of panic will presumably be even higher then than it is now, as will the stakes—which will be nothing less than the peaceful transition of power. We can only hope that, once again, the weakness will overwhelm the authoritarianism, the ineffectuality will triumph over the menace, and the president will emerge as a figure of contempt and ridicule, rather than of fear and consolidated power.

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What I’m reading 11 Mar 2018 – 21 Apr 2018

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What I’m reading 25 Aug 2017 – 28 Aug 2017

  • As Harvey Drowns Houston, Trump Struggles to Contain Himself | Vanity Fair – Who knew leadership could be so HARD! Cultural tourism can be so tedious. Especially at a distance. Look to the sequence of statements.

    > Since the rain began falling, however, Trump has struggled to respond to the first natural disaster of his presidency with anything other than contrived seriousness at best, morbid fascination at worst.

    > “Record setting rainfall,” Trump observed, before quickly getting in a plug for a friend’s book. “Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen. Good news is that we have great talent on the ground,” he noted. “Wow – Now experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood! We have an all out effort going, and going well!” – (rhetoric politics trump )

  • What authoritarianism experts think of Trump’s decision to pardon Joe Arpaio – – (authoritarianism politics trump power )
  • notes very necessary || Barbara Bridger & J. R. Carpenter – > Notes Very Necessary is a collaboratively authored web-based multi-media essay that aims to addresses climate change by remixing images, text, and data generated by centuries imperialist, colonialist, capitalist, and scientific exploration in the Arctic. The title is borrowed from an essay authored in 1580 by the Englishmen Arthur Pet and Charles Jackman offering detailed instructions on how to conquer new territories by taking copious notes. In 2015 Barbara Bridger and J. R. Carpenter attempted to follow these instructions by making, finding, and faking notes, images, data, and diagrams online and reconfiguring them into a new narrative. – (DH digitallierature en3177 WCW mapping psychogeography )
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What I’m reading 15 Jan 2017 through 24 Jan 2017

  • Getting Started on Academic Twitter v2.0 – A current introduction and advice. – (twitter en3177 )
  • Editing wars at London Bridge Street – When procedures are offered up as irony, it's art. – (strunknwhite grammar )
  • The Music Donald Trump Can’t Hear – The New Yorker – The New Yorker weighs in on authoritarianism in the 21st century: "at that terrifying first press conference of Trump’s, on Wednesday, we saw the looming face of pure authoritarianism. Rewards are promised to the obedient: those good states that voted the right way, the “responsible” press. Punishments are threatened to the bad: “They’re going to suffer the consequences!” Intimidation is the greeting to any critic. And look! There’s a claque alongside to cheer the big boss and deride his doubters. This is what was once called Bonapartism: I won and I can now do anything I choose. Victory, however narrow, is license for all. Autocracy, after all, has always been compatible with plebiscitary endorsement. The point of constitutional government is to make even the victors subject to the rules." – (authoritarianism politics trump )