Will Trump reveal his authoritarian bent?
- Many commentators are worried that Trump will try to govern as an authoritarian
- In the United States we tout about our democratic institutions and credentials
- Does Trump represent an authoritarian threat to Western liberal democracy?
Many Europeans are currently promoting Christian beliefs and values to counterbalance the increasing presence of Muslim refugees in Europe.
They feel that their identity has been adulterated and a reawakening of Christian particularism would curb the rising Muslim influence in Europe.
For many Americans and Europeans, their brand of Christianity has more political and cultural connotations than religious and spiritual ones.
They are using cultural symbols to entice and inspire like-minded individuals who are disheartened by the status quo.
Christianity’s universal and “love your neighbor” values and behaviors are thrown out the window or, worse yet, wildly and unabashedly misinterpreted.
Although some sociologists assert that religious fundamentalists in the United States have largely lost the culture war, conservatives have been trying to build coalitions with socioeconomic groups that do not necessarily espouse their religious and cultural views.
They are undeniably metamorphosing.
Authoritarian states throughout the world are trying to manipulate international organizations and reshape them from within.
One of their primary purposes is to weaken the role of international human rights monitors.
China, Russia, and Turkey, among other authoritarian regimes, currently face tremendous hurdles trying to convince Western societies that their worldview is more promising and desirable.
However, they are gradually influencing key policies and elections in Western countries, especially when people in those countries are disappointed and angry (the U.K., the U.S., etc.).
Furthermore, some Western newspapers have hailed Russian bombers as they were destroying entire neighborhoods in Aleppo, Syria, under the guise of killing jihadists.
So far, China has shown the world that economic growth and authoritarianism can go hand in hand despite economic theories expounded in the Western world that challenge Beijing’s policy.
No matter how you feel about the NSA, the Department of Homeland Security, etc., in China thousands of spies monitor hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens who are online and surfing the web. This is known as the Great Firewall of China.
Russia and Iran have followed suit and have adopted the Chinese method to spot any divergent views or anti-government denunciations posted on websites and/or the social media.
Some China experts contend that the seeming U.S.-Russia rapprochement could exacerbate Beijing’s strategic partnership with Moscow.
Rather than, like Trump, antagonizing friends and foes alike, China will probably try to win friends and invigorate Beijing’s global leadership aspirations.
China will also try to hijack the leadership of the Western-led institutions and eventually discredit democratic values and vitiate Washington’s image as a paragon of prosperity, stability, and liberalism.
TRUMP AND THE AUTHORITARIAN TEMPTATION
Many commentators are worried that Trump will try to govern as an authoritarian while pretending to deliver on his campaign promises.
Others contend that he will eventually temper his controversial proposals and will not resort to radical policies to solve domestic issues and international conflicts.
In the United States we tout about our democratic institutions and credentials and how they have worked, so far, to stave off the authoritarian impulses of chief executives.
In many emerging democracies (Turkey, Poland, Venezuela, etc.), authoritarian-minded populists have adopted “illiberal democracy” (practicing democracy sans the social-cultural liberalism).
Does Trump represent an authoritarian threat to Western liberal democracy?
For some, democracy is no longer the only option, at least not the liberal version.
Will the U.S. president engage in antidemocratic behavior and erode the American institutions that have jealously protected the U.S. Constitution (and vice versa) for more than two centuries?
A key question is: will civil society, with its multitude of networks and socioeconomic groups, be able to oppose Trump’s and his administration’s tentacular attempts to curb fundamental civil liberties, including the philosophical and conceptual harassment of the independent press and free expression?
The Democratic National Committee has a new chairman, Tom Perez. Will the former secretary of labor be able to galvanize the Democratic and labor movement grassroots (especially the white working class) and engage and challenge some of the new administration’s controversial behaviors and practices?
The next few weeks and months are critical in terms of gauging the level of political mobilization and participation of the opposition.