Trump Adviser Stephen Miller is one of the true ideologues of the Administration, a dweeb eager to encourage a demagogue’s worst impulses.
In a 2016 Politico profile by Julie Ioffe, Miller said of his liberal high school that “a number of students lacked basic English skills,” and commented about his alma mater Duke that “many professors had radical beliefs and engaged in outrageous behavior.”
Now he’s the willing marionette of an Administration in which most seem to lack basic English skills, have radical beliefs and engage in outrageous behavior–a Pinocchio to Gestapo-ish Geppettos.
What’s worst about the bald-faced lies he offers on TV news shows as he did over the weekend is they’re meant to confer upon the occupant of the Oval Office an unimpeachable authoritarian status. “The President’s powers here are beyond question,” he commented in immigration on ABC’s This Week, trying to cut a path for the Simon Cowell-ish strongman to do what he pleases with no dissent brooked.
In a smart Vox interview conducted by Alexander Bisley, Garry Kasparov reminds that the “U.S. President shouldn’t need to speak like a tyrant.” He also offers tips on how to stop the birth of dictatorship in America based on Russia’s descent under Putin. An excerpt:
What can Trump opponents do?
You have to reinforce the institutions, steadily and legally, and work through them. If you go too far, and react violently, it will only play into the hands of the Trump administration, which is already portraying all opposition as paid agitators and other ridiculousness straight from Putin’s playbook. When I talk about these things on Twitter or Facebook, I immediately receive a bunch of “Here too!” responses from people living in other authoritarian regimes, from Venezuela to Vietnam.
Riots will only frighten the “moderate middle” you will need as allies sooner or later. If Trump convinces them with lies that the opposition is controlled by dangerous thugs, you’re going to have eight years of Trump and another of his kind to follow. Stick to the facts, repeat them boldly and frequently, so his supporters see the would-be emperor has no bathrobe!
The courts are important, but things won’t really change unless enough Republicans start to see Trump as a liability to their fundraising and reelection chances. That could be quite soon if he can’t fulfill his many campaign promises. Making him look like a loser is crucial. Either the GOP will turn on him or he will be chastened and more likely to compromise. If a demagogue succeeds in claiming credit for wins and scapegoating his enemies for losses, he’s very hard to stop.
Trump will continue to push the limits, to find the cracks in the system that constrains him. America is finding out the hard way that much of its government is based on tradition and the honor system, and not explicit laws. There will be a crisis every day.
Everyone must do what they can themselves and not wait for others to act. If you want change, you have to initiate action, even at a personal level that might seem insignificant. As the motto of Soviet dissidents went: “Do what you must, and so be it.”•