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To his supporters, Trump's shamelessness became a badge of honesty and strength, and he still lost

4 min read

There’s an agitated Trump up late tweeting more conspiracy nonsense as the Electoral College has voted and the sedition attempt has failed with the so-called longshot of a Congressional maneuver on 6 January the last gasp available. What remains is grift and unhingery.

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— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) December 16, 2020

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— James Urbaniak (@JamesUrbaniak) December 16, 2020

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— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) December 16, 2020

Trump and his team of collaborators and ideologues (including the authoritarian prosecutor William Barr, extremist migration adviser Stephen Miller, and far-right international alliance promoter Steve Bannon) were capturing the state from within, trying to destroy its institutions and tamper with the federal system.

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— SafetyPin-Daily (@SafetyPinDaily) December 16, 2020

For four years it has been repeatedly argued that Trump is a self-centered pragmatist without a consistent ideology. According to New York Times commentator David Brooks, for example, Trump did not divide the world into right and left but into winners and losers. His past if fleeting adherence to the Democratic Party and frivolous lifestyle helped to generate the misunderstanding, leading to expectations of an aimless presidency.

But this was a widespread error of analysis. Coming from two strong pillars of American popular culture, self-made-man individualism and television, Trump found his place, acting steadfastly as a far-right authoritarian politician in the context of the multi-dimensional crisis ravaging America. Professor Christopher Browning has written that he created “a coalition of discontents” like Adolf Hitler.

Trump found his place, acting steadfastly as a far-right authoritarian politician in the context of the multi-dimensional crisis ravaging America.

There have been four years of academic debate over whether Trump is a fascist leader. Experts agree that his career does not have all the characteristics, but that it has morphed into the pursuit of dangerous policies that are highly authoritarian, undemocratic and that promote violence.

Regardless of whether Trump is a fascist or a makeshift upstart, his presidency has combined pragmatism with creating ideology. Benito Mussolini wrote in 1933 that fascism “was not a child of a doctrine developed in advance in a very detailed way; it was born out of the need to act, and from the beginning it was in itself something more practical than theoretical”. The philosopher Enzo Traverso suggests that “in our days, politics no longer derives from ideology; instead, the latter is improvised, a posteriori, in search of legitimizing a policy”. Trump has not elaborated an ideology, but with his policies he has generated a paradigm, a far-right ideological frame of reference that, at the same time, is part of a global authoritarian trend in the discrediting of democracy and attack on inclusive societies.

www.opendemocracy.net/…

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— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) December 16, 2020

Then Republicans said it would be over when Trump had exhausted his legal options. Judges at every level roundly rejected the president's fanciful claims, including a Trump-appointed U.S. federal judge in Wisconsin, Brett Ludwig, who took a rhetorical blowtorch to the Trump team's specious arguments about voting procedures.
Surely, then, Republicans would universally acknowledge Biden as president-elect after the electoral college cast its ballots? Of course not. While the electors voted, lost-cause die hards were already looking ahead to Jan. 6, when the new Congress will officially count the electoral votes.
There is no reason to believe this will ever end.
There is no reason to believe Trump will ever accept his loss. His attempt to stage what amounts to a coup d'etat is being defeated, but the battle is not yet over. Do not expect Trump's cries of anguished grievance to fade. Defenders of our democracy are going to have to drown him out.

www.washingtonpost.com/…

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