A Tale of Two Trumps II. Which Is the Real One?


From a reader of my blog:

One thing you should think about (very seriously) is whether Trump is set to become an autocrat and whether the institutions in the US are able to prevent this. There is the constitution, laws and norms (by which all Presidents or all Presidents for the vast majority) have conformed to. Trump is a master at recognizing the norms and blowing them off. The truth matters and when Trump says the press is the enemy of the people, you need to think about this. Very scary. Maybe, perhaps likely, our democracy is very fragile and not able to contain him. When I think of economic progress, my first thought is how long it took the Germans to overcome Hitler’s rule, 50-60 years. You seem to be willing to cut him a break, thinking our institutions will contain him. I think the German intelligentsia in the 30’s felt the same way about Hitler.


 My last post, “A Tale of Two Trumps,” compared what Trump is doing well with what he is doing poorly and how he has modified some of his extreme rhetoric. Of course the truth matters but the truth is highly subjective.  To say that the press is “an enemy of the people” is asinine but Trump has made a lot of outrageous statements and will surely continue to do so.  I simply ignore them.  He backs down when it matters.
I think it is farfetched (for the time being) to compare Trump to Hitler.  Hitler arose in a Germany devastated by WWI, with terrible economic conditions including extreme hyper-inflation.  The U.S. is still the world’s overwhelmingly dominant superpower and enjoys the highest level of prosperity in the world.
Trump was elected because this prosperity is enjoyed most prominently by the elite professional class.  He has convinced blue-collar workers that he will be able to improve their lot.  If he succeeds his grossness won’t matter.  In the meantime the courts will continue to slap him down when he steps out of line.

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