by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Eli Lake devotes a Bloomberg column to the common concerns among left-of-center partisans that President Trump will use the nation’s highest elected office to do Russia’s bidding or to install a fascist regime.
Before Donald Trump won the election in November we were warned: He is a Russian stooge. He is a fascist. He will upend the protocols and traditions that make governing possible. This is not normal.
Now that we are approaching the 100-day mark, it’s worth noting that the president is defying the expectations of his resistance. And while there is plenty to oppose in Trump’s young presidency, he is neither the Siberian Candidate nor the second coming of Mussolini.
Let’s start with Russia. The FBI is still investigating whether and how his campaign may have colluded with Moscow’s efforts to influence the presidential election. And yet in terms of actual policy, Trump has settled on a much tougher line with Russia than how he campaigned or in his first few weeks. …
… This gets to the second resistance narrative about Trump, that he is an authoritarian or fascist in waiting. To be sure, Trump during the campaign gave his critics something to work with on this front. He at times encouraged his supporters at rallies to do violence to protesters. He promised to bring back waterboarding “and much worse,” for terrorists captured on the battlefield. He campaigned on banning Muslims from entering the country and he promised to build a wall on the Mexican border. More recently, Trump has cozied up to the strong men ruling Egypt and Turkey. His semi-endorsement of the far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is part of this theme as well.
All of that is alarming. That said, real fascists are much better at consolidating power and implementing an agenda. On this score, Trump has been no Caesar.