Commentary: Trump Intends Dictatorship and the End of Liberal Democratic Norms*
Trump’s actions to tear down America’s alliances reached new heights when he cancelled his signature to the G-7 communiqué issued on June 9. Not only did he insult this coalition of democracies, which once was proudly led by America, but also he was particularly insulting to the prime minister of our main ally, Canada. This dismissal of our longtime allies came just as Trump made nice to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un – a dictator who has killed his close relatives, puts large numbers of his citizens in concentration camps, and can call out the military to kill anyone at any time or on a whim.
What does this tell us about Trump, and what should be our response to him? Is Trump’s behavior to fulfill campaign promises, and, if so, what do we learn from his electorate’s reaction? Are these actions from a desire to accrue dictatorial powers?
Trump has indeed explicitly renounced human rights and democracy as factors in his foreign policy and supported the practice of torture. He also insists he is above the law, able to pardon himself. Trump clearly prefers not to deal with the leader of a democracy like Justin Trudeau, by Trump’s definition “weak.” Trump does not want to deal with European societies who have chosen not to militarize their societies, instead mistakenly castigating them for their small average tariff of 3%. Instead, he has chosen to consort with fellow dictators Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, China’s President for life.
America will have no chance of returning to its norms and values and democratic institutions if Trump isn’t curbed soon. We must take back the Senate and the House of Representatives to effectuate these curbs and prevent his reelection – if he is still in office in 2020. Hopefully not.
–Elizabeth Spiro Clark, Chair, Committee on Public Policy and Political Action
* This Commentary first appeared in our Issues Watch, June 15, 2018