4 New Signs That the Trump Administration Is Approaching Authoritarianism

President Donald Trump has always had a penchant for dictators. As Care2′s Llowell Williams noted this summer, cozying up to problematic authoritarian regimes has been a favorite pastime of the president since entering the White House, and his admiration of these leaders is undeniable. Now it appears that President Trump is moving a few steps closer to establishing his own authoritarian regime — and it’s unclear if there is anyone willing to stop him.

Here are four new signs that the current president is going full-on authoritarian.

1. He’s asking Congress to undermine the Russia investigation.

It’s been clear from the start that President Trump is uncomfortable with Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation into whether the Trump team colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Now the president is blatantly asking GOP leaders in Congress to make the entire thing go away.

“President Trump assailed the Russia investigation Wednesday as a distraction, a waste of time and a ‘witch hunt’ – and appeared to call on congressional Republicans to do something about it,” USA Today reports, adding that, “…While Trump suggested that congressional Republicans act more forcefully, he didn’t say how. ‘Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. Republicans should finally take control!’ Trump said.”

2. And he’s using his own Justice Department to threaten enemies.

While the president wants Congress to make his own legal troubles disappear, his administration is focused on investigating President Trump’s enemies. The Department of Justice is now reopening cases involving former rival Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and the man who wrote the controversial “Steele Dossier” proving that the president has deep ties to Russia.

According to Talking Points Memo, the DOJ’s moves suggest a partisan motive for the investigations and indicate that the Department is moving at the will of the president — and that’s alarming. “If we are slowly sliding from a fully democratic country to a more totalitarian, pseudo-democratic one,” said [Trump critic and former prosecutor Kevin] McCallion, “one of the signs of that will be politicization of the decisions of the judicial process.”

3. He tried to block publication of a book criticizing him.

It’s unclear whether the White House insider book “Fire and Fury” would have been such a viral hit if the president himself hadn’t attempted to block the tome from being published to begin with. It was that action that made so many people wonder what could be inside, and spurred them to buy copies. But banning books — especially when they are still being published, to try to keep them off the shelves? That’s pretty unsettling.

“If Trump could only press a big button and snuff out the book, surely he would. After all, he has shown little understanding of and appreciation for the limitations on executive power programmed into the Constitution,” writes Erik Wemple of the Washington Post. “Just over the holiday break, he riffed to the New York Times, ‘I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.’ Lacking that ability, Trump the president is behaving pretty much like Trump the businessman. Suing people, or, failing that, threatening to sue people.”

4. He wants to change laws to protect himself.

Obviously the book banning didn’t work, but that isn’t stopping the president from looking for other ways to protect himself from being criticized — including changing the laws on libel.

“President Donald Trump says his administration is taking a look at the nation’s libel laws. He’s calling the current laws ‘a sham and a disgrace,’” the Associate Press reports. “Trump says during a Cabinet meeting that people shouldn’t be able to say things that are false and then ‘smile as money pours into your bank account.’”

Of course, changing the laws to punish those who speak ill of you goes completely in check with authoritarian regimes, where the leader must be incessantly flattered and praised. And President Trump is getting that daily by his cadre of yes men. “We can see similar dynamics in some authoritarian regimes, where elite subordinates excessively praise the leader. What can this tell us about flattery outbreaks in the Trump administration?” asks Xavier Marquez.

Marquez adds, “While the Trump White House is not a personalistic regime, its chaotic environment displays some similarities to the ‘courts’ of personal rulers; decisions appear to be made outside formal lines of authority and the president puts great emphasis on personal loyalty. In such circumstances, staff may find flattery useful to gain Trump’s favor and get things done. Given Trump’s sensitivity to slights and desires for praise, those who don’t overpraise may risk being marginalized.”

Photo Credit: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr

101 comments

Amanda M
Amanda M22 days ago

Leanne K, it's more like a sinister mix of "1984" with "The Handmaid's Tale." Individually the books are scary enough, but the combination of the two is the ultimate nightmare for anyone who values their rights and freedoms! What's even more scary is that those books are fiction-Twitler and his Religious Reich minions want to make that combination REAL LIFE! Be afraid, America-be VERY afraid!

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Carole R
Carole Rabout a month ago

What a mess.

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Magdalen B
Magdalen Babout a month ago

‘Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing." No argument there.

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Danii P
Danii Pabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing

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Angela J
Angela Jabout a month ago

Thanks

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Jonathan H
Jonathan Habout a month ago

Noted

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caroline l
caroline lordabout a month ago

absolutely

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Julie D
Julie Dabout a month ago

Trump is a Fascist, plain and simple. He and the GOP have been working very hard to turn our country into a one party dictatorship with themselves at the helm. Bit by bit, repealing as many protections rights and freedoms we have that they can, attempting to eradicate and discredit the free press, and many other things the fascist agenda follows. It has been clear from before day one that this is their agenda. The question is what are we going to do about it?

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta Eabout a month ago

david f
You're just as wrong as before your disappearance. I would say it's YOU who isn't up to date. Step away from fox and all your youtube propaganda because as you can plainly see, Janis k is wrong and so are you.
I hope you're out marching with the millions of other men and women on trumps anniversary failure.

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Henry M
Henry Mabout a month ago

Trump already spends 5+ hours a day watching Fox News Trump propaganda.

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