Donald Trump appears destined to follow in the tyrannical footsteps of Augustus before him.
As Donald Trump rampaged through the Republican primaries last March, I argue here and on the New York National Public Radio station’s Brian Lehrer Show that neoliberal Democrats as well as free-marketerring Republicans were leaving it to Trump to do what his Inaugural Address has given him no choice but to do: become the dictator of the nationalist, plutocratic regime that he is installing under the banner of what he called “a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
He vowed to vindicate forgotten Americans and, through them, American greatness: “January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer…I will never, ever let you down. America will start winning again, winning like never before.”
Never? Ever? Like never before? As Trump puts his forgotten Americans to work while rolling back their overtime pay, benefits, and union-organizing rights and while protecting those who have already enriched themsleves at their expense, he’ll try to channel the resentment against only certain neoliberal elites who were complicit in the theft. The word “dictator” will be no euphemism. We’ll be left breathless by swift, forceful moves (or lurches) toward an authoritarian, Constitution-warping presidentialism.
Trump’s inaugural denunciations of “politicians who prospered as jobs left and factories closed” — coupled with his vow that “American carnage” caused by hiring and buying of non-American people and products and deepened by crime, gangs, and drugs, “stops right here, stops right now” — leave him no choice but to humble or destroy “politicians” who resist him.