- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A Yale history professor, Timothy Snyder, warned in an interview with Salon about his new book, “On Tyranny,” that President Donald Trump is — seriously now — trying to take over the U.S. government.

And time’s a ticking, he warns. Citizens need to get in the game before it’s too late and the country’s gone.

Cue coup alert.

(Only technically, since Trump’s already leader of the free world, wouldn’t his coup be — what, of himself??) Just picture the headlines.

Here’s one: Trump, Dissatisfied With Leadership, Ousts Self From Office.

Or this: Rampaging Trump Delivers Pink Slip to — Self

Or even this: Crazed Commander-in-Chief Sics Self on Self to Haul from White House

Anyhow, Snyder’s concerned about the “opening up” of libel laws that Trump might consider — meaning, giving government more powers to go after libelous journalists — as well as his penchant for executive orders.

“It’s pretty much inevitable,” he told Salon, speaking of the demise of America under Trump.

It’s pretty much crazy-talk, that’s what it is.

But read for yourself — first, the question from Salon: “In my writing and interviews, I have consistently referred to Donald Trump as a fascist. I have received a great deal of resistance to that claim. Do you think this description is correct? If not, then what language would we use to describe Donald Trump?”

No, that’s not a leading question at all — don’t be silly. But here’s Snyder’s response: “One of the problems with American discourse is that we just assume everybody is a friendly democratic parliamentarian pluralist until proven otherwise. And then even when it’s proven otherwise we don’t have any vocabulary for it.”

Well, first off — do we? Do we really assume everybody is a “friendly democratic parliamentarian pluralist” when we first meet them? ‘Cause it seems pretty sure that most Americans have never strung those words together in one sentence in their minds, never mind assumed the individuals they meet to actually fit that role or title.

But Snyder’s a liberal, obviously, and that makes him smarter than the rest.

He then said, answering a followup question, that “there are certainly elements of [Trump’s] approach which are fascistic. The straight-on confrontation with the truth is at the center of the fascist worldview. The attempt to undo the Enlightenment as a way to undo institutions, that is fascism. Whether he realizes it or not is a different question, but that’s what fascists did. … Another thing that’s clearly fascist about Trump were the rallies. The way he used the language, the blunt repetitions, the naming of the enemies.”

Oh, you mean like Hillary Clinton, constantly calling out the specter of the vast right wing conspiracy? Or Barack Obama, blaming Fox News for all that ailed his White House?

No, no, not like that at all.

Again, question from Salon: “In your book you discuss the idea that Donald Trump will have his own version of Hitler’s Reichstag fire to expand his power and take full control of the government by declaring a state of emergency. How do you think that would play out?”

And Snyder’s answer?

“I think it’s pretty much inevitable that they will try,” he said. “I don’t think 2018 is looking very good for the Republicans … This means they could be seduced by the notion of getting into a new rhythm of politics, one that does not depend upon popular policies and electoral cycles. … Whether it works or not depends upon whether when something terrible happens to this country, we are aware that the main significance of it is whether or not we are going to be more or less free citizens in the future. My gut feeling is that Trump and his administration will try and that it won’t work.”

Whew. That’s a relief, right?

But it’d still be interesting to know why Snyder thinks Trump and his Republican minions won’t be successful in overthrowing the U.S. government — just in case it comes up again. A learn from your history opportunity, so to speak.

Happily, Snyder offers some insight.

“We have a little bit of time to prepare,” he said, explaining why Trump will ultimately fail.

Laughable? You decide. But remember: Snyder is what the left would consider an intellectual, accomplished scholar with impressive educational credentials.

 

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