Musing about law, books, and politics

Responding to Nikki Haley

First Trump tweeted this:

Then Nikki Haley tweeted this:

That’s telling him off, Nikki! I mean, you really let him know how wrong he is! (sarcasm)

[View my response as a Twitter thread]

Actually, Nikki, attacking Baltimore and others is a necessary and vital part of what Trump takes to be his role as president. Surely you’ve noticed. He’s been doing this for years. The best explanation of Trump’s governing style I know of comes from Timothy Snyder.

I really suggest you read this book to help understand the president you’ve been supporting:

Snyder’s credentials are impeccable: A Yale professor who speaks lots of languages, a super smart expert on how Putin (and Trump) govern.

Or I can offer a summary.

As Timothy Snyder explains, the role of a Putin-style fascist leader is different from the role of a leader in democracy.

In a liberal democracy, a leader (like Obama) looks for ways to improve the lives of the citizens.

But a would-be oligarch can’t do that. The oligarch needs to concentrate power in the hands of a few rich buddies, so enacting politics that help his constituents is counterproductive to his goals.

So, if a would-be oligarch doesn’t govern in the usual sense (devising policy to better the lives of the citizens) what does he do?

He creates crisis and spectacle by identifying enemies and “neutralizing” them. News becomes reality TV. It’s all a show. It’s Us v. Them.

His team cheers as he “protects” them from minority communities and immigrants who want to take what they have.

Let’s play a mind game. Just imagine that Putin is the mastermind who selected and helped install Trump as US president. Putin couldn’t have found a more perfect tool: Trump is a natural at identifying enemies, creating spectacle, and lurching from one crisis to another.

Without enemies to attack, Trump’s followers wouldn’t put up with policies that enrich Trump and pals while robbing them blind.

And by the way, Trump could never have happened with those who consider themselves “conservatives” enabling him. From former Republican Congressman Justin Amash: