State of the Race

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin and Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

Vox.com released an article discussing the rise of authoritarianism among Americans and its relationship to Donald Trump’s political success. Vox cites numerous political science studies and theorizes that Trump’s success correlates to a large number of Americans (mostly identifying as “conservative”) who are apparently desperate for a dictator-like leader to stop social changes perceived as dangerous – by force.

Vox cites studies that showed Trump supporters flock to him because he will 1) use military force over diplomacy against countries that threaten America; 2) change the Constitution to bar citizenship for children of illegal immigrants; 3) impose extra airport checks on passengers who appear Middle Eastern to curb terrorism; 4) require citizens to carry a national ID card to show police on request; and 5) allow the government to scan all phone calls supposedly linked to terrorism.

The Vox article raises valid points. Many Trump supporters, like Trump, express the idea that the president should use force to “make America great again,” foregoing time-tested and explicit constitutional checks and balances. They would rather the president force America’s “remaking” instead of allowing change through peoples’ choice and reflection. In short, they demand their way and now.

History shows, democratic nations have fallen because of the authoritarian mentality (as well as government abuse). Vox predicts Trump is the beginning of the authoritarian movement and not an anomaly. Should the rest of us be worried?

By Joe Carbonari

As you may have noticed, as a country, we have become somewhat dysfunctional. The humor in it is insufficient. It needs to be addressed. The downside risks are too great to ignore.

We have a lot of irritated, impatient, angry and insecure voters who don’t trust and don’t like our current leadership. They think that the deck of life is stacked against them, that the fix is in. They want to change the fix. Yes, this involves income redistribution.

This line of thinking resonates with many of us. For the financially concerned a smoothly functioning economy, with job and income growth more evenly distributed, sounds good. We want our politicians to quit bickering, strike a deal, and get to work. Some turn to Bernie Sanders, some to Donald Trump. The Sanders group seems less agitated.

Trump’s supporters tend to think that we need to be tougher, less sensitive, in the way we deal with our problems. Crime, disruption, and disorder threaten us at home and abroad. “We” need to protect ourselves from “them.” “We” are good. “They” are bad. Stop, please. Our fears must not overrun our decency. Strong leadership? Yes, but not The Donald.

Worldwide, there is disorder and insecurity. In Europe refugees abound, expletives explode, and Nationalist movements grow. It could happen here. The cards are being shuffled. All lives matter. You vote for your stack.

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