New York Times political reporter Matt Flegenheimer filed a panicky “Political Memo” for Wednesday’s edition: “Trump’s Bible Photo Op Further Divides Debate On State of Democracy.” It’s another brick in the edifice the paper is trying to construct portraying Trump as a danger to American democracy.
Flegenheimer opened with a thought experiment (since The Times’s news pages are resembling writing class assignments more each day):
If another leader of another nation stood in another simmering capital and instructed police and law enforcement to “dominate the streets” against protesters, then walked through a park where government officers had forcibly cleared demonstrators from his path, then arrived outside a church to hold a Bible aloft like a championship trophy for the cameras -- well, what would America think of that?
It is time, some opponents and academics agree, to have the conversation.
Haven't they been having this conversation even before Trump won in 2016? He continued (click “expand”):
From the earliest days of this norm-smashing administration, fretful critics, scholars and foreign policy experts have kept watch for signals of President Trump’s anti-democratic streak. This has not always required an exhaustive search.
But the White House response to the gushing national traumas of this moment appears to have registered on another plane, producing the kinds of scenes and sound bites that some doomsayers had long prophesied and adding to the mounting social and public health crises a festering concern about the state of American democracy itself.
And presiding over it all was the man who had threatened to send the American military to states where governors could not restore calm, labeling demonstrators who have used violence to draw attention to police brutality against black people as “organizers” of terror.
No criticism of Democratic hysteria made the story:
All the while, some Democrats are deploying a term that they have turned to occasionally in these three and a half years, but perhaps never with such frequency and conviction.
“The words of a dictator,” Senator Kamala Harris of California said.
“He behaves like a dictator,” Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts tweeted.
Ahem: One huge hint that you are not living under a dictator....is that you feel free to say that you are living under a dictator:
Yascha Mounk, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University who has written extensively about threats to liberal democracy, said that Mr. Trump was best understood as “an authoritarian populist.” In Mr. Trump’s conception of authority, Mr. Mounk said, “what that means is that he and he alone truly represents the people. And anybody who disagrees with them, anybody who criticizes him, by virtue of that fact is an enemy of the people.”
Flegenheimer also threw in some more scary and non-objective adjectives: “There is little indication of that to date -- and little political incentive, it seems, for party leaders to condemn a figure who remains widely popular with their base (and whose rampaging conduct has been well-known since before his election).”