An American Version of the Night of the Long Knives

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John Dean via Youtube Screen Grab

Analysis (April 9, 2019) I am hardly the first one to say that Donald Trump is an authoritarian. However, I am starting to have my doubts that our system will save us. Why? Congress, which has a few fellow travelers.

Trump is taking the most alarming steps yet to consolidate power. He is also granting vast amounts of power to a white supremacist Jew. The mere thought that a Jew can be racist sends some people into fits. Stephen Miller is such a creature, proving that oppressed people can adopt the hate ideology that would love to exterminate them…as their own.

It is baffling, but Miller is not the first member of an oppressed group to internalize the ideology of hate. He will not be the last either. Nor, ironically, is he the first Jew to embrace fascism and white supremacy. Emil Maurice was a founder of the SS, that is not a typo.

Trump is engaging in a purge of the Department of Homeland Security, to bring in more ideologues that will obey his orders without question. He is showing us how much of an authoritarian he is. He may have run on law and order, but he is hardly constrained by either.

I am aware that Richard Nixon was an authoritarian. I realize he was quite paranoid, and also saw the press as the enemy of the people. He saw institutions in the same light. However, those institutions were far more resilient. When the time came, members of the Republican Party told Nixon the gig was up. They decided to put their nation, albeit reluctantly, ahead of partisan issues. I cannot say the same about the current crop.

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell shares the same tendencies as Trump. He has done all he can to stifle regular order. He blocked the nomination of Merrick Garland because he was one of President Barack Obama’s nominees. Garland was eminently qualified, and McConnell did that under the dubious legal theory that it was within a year of a presidential election.

Now he is ready to break the Senate further and ratify judges endorsed by the Federalist Society, but not by the American Bar Association. It is an effort to pack the courts with ideologues. Many of these ideologues will be sitting in judgment, however, have never stepped into a courtroom. Some could surprise us and become very capable, however, experience in the actual practice of the law matters.

He is also ready to give cover to the president. He will block the release of the Robert Mueller report as long as he can. For something that fully exonerated the president, it seems it is dangerous. It should be released if indeed it is such a good thing. Just my view and the majority of the country agrees.

Miller is getting all responsibility for immigration. McConnell is giving cover. The president believes there are no limits to his power. Why he has ordered cabinet members are law enforcement officers to break the law. This is how authoritarian states behave.

If we are going to prevent this long night, the first step is to admit this is worse than Watergate. Perhaps enough in the Senate will go from a nothing-burger to crisis. It happened in 1973 after enough hearings were held and the public finally got engaged. It is time we recognize that history rhymes, and perhaps it will not lead to the same results. And if it does, he must learn from it and teach this history. Looking forward is one reason we are in this hole.

The damn broke when John Dean testified in 1973. We hope that Michael Cohen’s testimony plays a similar role. But so far, we are seeing a coverup. Incidentally, every major scandal in recent American history had had a special counsel report as a midpoint. This may explain why the Trump White House is concerned, and why McConnell is playing interference.

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