Political strategist Steve Schmidt, who worked for George W. Bush and John McCain, painted a grim picture on Tuesday of the direction in which Donald Trump is taking the country.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, the former Republican listed five ways democracies collapse and said Trump appears to be checking off each one of them.
“This president is an autocrat,” Schmidt said. “He doesn’t believe in liberal democracy.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) June 27, 2018
Schmidt tore into the president:
This president is an autocrat. He is not a small-d democrat. He doesn’t believe in liberal democracy. And what we’re seeing here every day are five behaviors. One, he incites fervor in a base through constant lying. Two, he scapegoats minority populations and he affixes blame for complex problems to them and them alone. Three, he alleges conspiracies that are hidden and nefarious and linked to those scapegoated populations. Four, he spreads a sense of victimizations among those fervent supporters. And five, he asserts the need to exert heretofore unprecedented power to protect his victim class from the conspiracies and the scapegoated populations. Through all of history, you understand totalitarianism, you understand how democracies fall. You will find those five behaviors.
It’s time for Republicans to stand up
Donald Trump has been a threat to democracy for some time, but that danger continues to grow with each passing day. The longer he is in office, the more emboldened he becomes.
Trump doesn’t even flinch before crossing some of the dangerous lines cited by Steve Schmidt, and there are two reasons for this.
First, this president is no longer surrounded by anybody who pretends to be a responsible adult. If there was ever anyone in the administration who tried to safeguard democracy from Trump, they are long gone.
Second and most importantly, Republicans in Congress have done nothing to hold the president accountable or act as a check on his power. Every step of the way, these spineless GOP lawmakers have either turned the other way or helped him in his efforts to dismantle core democratic institutions.
If this dynamic doesn’t change soon – if Trump’s MAGA-wearing supporters and GOP lapdogs don’t wake up – then the grim picture Steve Schmidt painted on Tuesday won’t just be a growing possibility. It will be the new American reality.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.