Trump, The Donald, and the Authoritarian Illogic of Governor LePage
Trump and his supporters are increasingly demonstrating a disregard for the very basic concept of democracy. Democracy means a pluralistic society in which the government derives its power from the bottom up, rather than ruling top down. Democracy goes hand in hand with freedom, and is predicated on the idea of having a right to criticize the government and express dissent publicly.
Trump has little time for these basic aspects of democracy, as demonstrated by his continual calls for censorship. He’s well known for saying that he would ask Bill Gates to shut down parts of the internet that he didn’t like. On Saturday night, he fired off this tweet:
Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me.Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2016
A comedy show mocking both Donald and Hillary, and Trump’s response is that it should be censored and that the media is conspiring against him. This is the talk of an authoritarian who hates democracy. The desire to quash all public mockery and criticism, even when it is comedic and playful, is the basis of authoritarianism.
What’s scary is that Trump’s fans seem to revel in this sort of behavior. They don’t just want a president; they want an authoritarian dictator who will rule over them. One of the biggest Trump fansites on the internet is the Reddit subforum the_donald. Trump is commonly referred to as “God Emperor” and even “daddy” on this forum which has over 230,000 subscribers. These are people who want to blindly follow a dictator, not be engaged critical citizens who wish to exercise their democratic rights. Everyone says they like democracy, but in reality a large portion of Americans have thoroughly turned against it.
If you think a forum of random internet users is not a good example, then consider the words of Maine governor Paul LePage, who is a big Trump supporter. LePage has gone on record stating that he wants Trump to “show some authoritarian power”. To further underscore the lack of political sophistication from Trump supporters such as Paul LePage, in the same interview, LePage then criticizes Obama for being too authoritarian and then contradictorily claims that Obama’s autocratic ways are leading to anarchy.
So for Trump supporters such as Governor LePage, Obama’s problem is that he is too authoritarian, and all that authority is leading to a lack of authority (logical contradiction), which can only be solved by electing someone who will act like an authoritarian (inconsistency). He manages to stuff two logically invalid statements into a short sentence, demonstrating that LePage really has no understanding of basic political concepts such as democracy and authority.
LePage also claims that Trumps statements about women mean that he’s likely a slimeball he doesn’t want his daughter to date, but that’s ok, because he wouldn’t be like Bill Clinton, who he says is bad because of Clinton’s past bad behavior toward women. So even though LePage directly compares Trump to Bill Clinton, it’s only bad when Clinton did it, not when Trump did it. How it’s even possible to make so many illogical statements without your head exploding like a confused robot from Star Trek is beyond me. But this is how Trump supporters work, they have abandoned the science of logic and simply create their own fantasy in place of reality.