02 November 2018 ~ 0 Comentarios

If conservatives love liberal democracy, they should vote against Trump’s GOP in midterm elections (II)

Por Manuel Castro-Rodríguez

It is important that young people should know how populism is born. I think of Hitler last century, who had promised the development of Germany. That we know how populism starts: by sowing hate. You can’t live sowing hate.” (emphasis mine)

Pope Francis

I suppose it’s nice that Trump and the Mercers have turned on Steve Bannon. But Trump and the Mercers made it possible for Bannon to infuse alt-right bigotry and illiberal authoritarianism into the mainstream of American politics, and for that they shouldn’t be easily forgiven.” (emphasis mine)

Bill Kristol, who is a veteran Republican White House official.

Compiling the list made us understand why some historians believe Trump’s administration is the most corrupt since at least Warren Harding’s, of 1920s Teapot Dome fame.”

The biggest scandal of all, however, is not even the corruption of the Trump administration. It’s the inaction of Congress.” (emphasis mine)

Trump’s Corruption: The Definitive List

I know the world thinks of us, we are Communists, and of course I have said very clear that we are not Communists; very clear.” (emphasis mine)

Fidel Castro

According to revised and certified final election results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, outpaced Donald Trump by almost 2.9 million votes, with 65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%). But Trump won the electoral college, which determines the presidency.

With Republicans in control of the Executive, the Senate and the House of Representatives, only had lacked the GOP’s control of the Supreme Court so that a ruler with authoritarian aspirations achieve his dream. Because of this, Trump leads aggressive, all-out GOP drive to save Kavanaugh and the president achieved it, even though as reported by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll,

Just 1 in 4 people thinks Brett Kavanaugh was completely honest when he heatedly rebuffed charges of sexual assault and heavy drinking during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, and Republicans and Democrats hold starkly divergent views of whether his sworn testimony to senators was credible.”

According to other poll,

Americans by a 51-41 percent margin disapprove of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court  and a majority favors further investigation by Congress that could lead to efforts to remove him from office.”

Since the election of Trump, many leaders and experts consider that liberal democracy is in danger around the world, besieged by authoritarianism, nationalism, and other illiberal forces. For instance, Pope Francis said on October 25, that populism starts by sowing hate. He noted Hitler and Nazi Germany rose to power through the use of populism.


What ‘populism’ means? ‘Populism’ has been defined in many different ways, but the context in which the term is most frequently used today aligns with the definition proposed by Cas Mudde in The Populist Zeitgeist (emphasis mine),

an ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, ‘the pure people’ versus ‘the corrupt elite.’”

Populist leaders like Adolf HitlerFidel Castro and Donald Trump have shown no hesitation in sowing hate and division, for which they used the ‘big lie’ technique to deceive people. The expression was coined by Hitler, when he dictated his book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

The ‘big lie’ technique takes advantage of a very common belief among most people that very few people tell enormous lies, this is really a psychopathology. Hitler was famous for telling big lies. Just one of the lies he told was that all Germany’s problems were the fault of the Jewish people. Today, populist leaders do similar things. For example, Viktor Orban, Matteo Salvini, Giuseppe Conte, Marine Le Pen, Norbert Hoffer, Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders, and Donald Trump.

For instance, many blame their nation’s problems on a previous administration. On October 31, 2016, eight days from Election Day, “when we win on November 8 we are going to Washington D.C. and we are going drain the swamp,” Trump said at a rally in Albuquerque, charging that Hillary Clinton represents a corrupt political system. He uses it and its offshoots — ‘corruption’, ‘corrupted’, and ‘corrupt’ — a lot.

He’ll begin by referring to specific Clinton activities he charges are corrupt, such as her use of a private email server as secretary of State. Two months ago, the FBI said it had found no evidence about Trump’s claim that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server was compromised by hackers working for the Chinese government. But the damage was done. This is an example of how Trump used the ‘big lie’ technique to deceive to the voters.

When I can, I tell the truth’: Trump pushes back against his peddling of falsehoods,

President Trump defended his proclivity to spread misleading statements and falsehoods, saying in a television interview Wednesday that he tells the truth when he can.

“‘Well, I try. I do try . . . and I always want to tell the truth,’ Trump said in an interview with ABC News. ‘When I can, I tell the truth. And sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that’s different or there’s a change, but I always like to be truthful.’”

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker reported last month that Trump had made more than 5,000 false or misleading claims in the first 601 days of his presidency — an average of 8.3 claims a day — and that the pace is picking up.”

Donald Trump lies. And he is doing a lot more of it lately,

President Donald Trump has always had a very casual relationship with the truth. From his roots as a self-promoting businessman in New York City to his late-in-life political career, he’s showed a penchant for prevarication, to purposely misleading for his business or political benefit.”

Populist abuses of nationalist rhetoric and manipulates the political message. The national-populist exhalation of the nation and the virtues of ‘the people’ against elites has been present in the discourses of Fidel Castro and Donald Trump.

Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, noted for its anti-establishment rhetoric, was characterized as that of a right-wing populist, which is a political ideology which combines right-wing politics and populist rhetoric and themes. The rhetoric often consists of anti-elitist sentiments, opposition to the system and speaking for the common people.

Now, at a rally in Houston for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, President Trump said this: “You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, OK? I’m a nationalist.” But, what‘nationalism’ means? According to Merriam-Webster (emphasis mine),

a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”

George Orwell, in his essay Notes on Nationalism, offered a much better answer, (emphasis mine),

Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”

Typically the populist leadership is charismatic: there is no populism without a leader capable of solving at once (that’s to say, in the short term) and forever, the problems of the people. With the passing of time every populist becomes a tyrant.

One of the main characteristics of populist discourse is the division of society in two irreconcilable camps: ‘the people’ versus ‘the enemy’. Populist appeals to ‘the people’, challenge the dominant ideas and values of society and, therefore, go against the structure of power that supports them, including democratic institutions, the academic world and the mass media.

The construction of ‘the people’ is often accompanied by the unifying symbolism of a leader that is able to connect with popular demands and to temporarily disguise their own incompleteness, becoming himself an empty signifier. Whereas populists argue that the leader is the only person capable of faithfully representing the popular will, they hide the fact that they are mediating the popular will themselves and, consciously or unconsciously, distorting it.

Populist leaders try to break the gap between the represented and the representatives, claiming to speak in the name of ‘the people’ through an antithetic ‘us’ and ‘them’. This situation can be more obvious in audience democracies, in which ‘virtual immediacy’ produces an imaginary identification with the leader, thereby enhancing popular trust.

There must be an external enemy, clear and present. Nothing unites a people better than the fear and hate of a foe abroad, and unscrupulous leaders fabricate such a foe, to have unthinking ranks line up behind them and forget their problem of daily bread. Think Donald Trump’s lie of rapists and murderers to build a wall against Hispanic immigrants.

Is Trump draining the swamp?

In the hyperpolarized world of the last U.S. presidential election, one of the best markers of political division may be three words: ‘corruption’, ‘corrupted’, and ‘corrupt’. Corruption “is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.”

Transparency International (TI) is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. Annually, publishes an index where the least corrupt countries are those score approaches 100. The Corruption Perceptions Index was first launched in 1995, when TI was two years old. According to TI,

rise of populist politicians in many countries is a warning signal. Corruption and inequality feed off each other, creating a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth.”

As reported by Corruption Perceptions Index 2016, Germany was the 10 least corrupt nation out of 176 countries(Rank: 10 / 176. Score: 81 / 100). Canadawas the 9 least corrupt country (Rank: 9 / 176. Score: 82 / 100). Netherlands was the 8 least corrupt nation (Rank: 8 / 176. Score: 83 / 100). Singaporewas the 7 least corrupt country (Rank: 7 / 176. Score: 84 / 100). Norway was the 6 least corrupt nation (Rank: 6 / 176. Score: 85 / 100). Switzerland was the 5 least corrupt country (Rank: 5 / 176. Score: 86 / 100). Sweden was the 4 least corrupt nation (Rank: 6 / 176. Score: 88 / 100). Finland was the 3 least corrupt country (Rank: 3 / 176. Score: 89 / 100). New Zealand and Denmark were the 2 countries least corrupt in the world (Rank: 1 / 176. Score: 90 / 100).

Cuba was a moderately corrupt country (Rank: 60 / 176. Score: 47 / 100), while that the United States of America was the 18 least corrupt nation (Rank: 18 / 176. Score: 74 / 100).

According to Transparency International,

rise of populist politicians in many countries is a warning signal. Corruption and inequality feed off each other, creating a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth.”

Corruption is both a cause and an effect of today’s populist surge around the world. Rise in populism risks worsening corruption, warns transparency watchdog

Corruption and inequality: how populists mislead people,

With the launch of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 just five days after Donald Trump’s inauguration as US President, it’s timely to look at the links between populism, socio-economic malaise and the anti-corruption agenda. Indeed, Trump and many other populist leaders regularly make a connection between a “corrupt elite” interested only in enriching themselves and their (rich) supporters and the marginalisation of “working people”.

Is there evidence to back this up? Yes. Corruption and social inequality are indeed closely related and provide a source for popular discontent. Yet, the track record of populist leaders in tackling this problem is dismal; they use the corruption-inequality message to drum up support but have no intention of tackling the problem seriously. But, first, let’s look at what corruption has to do with inequality and vice versa.

When the corruption is accompanied by systematic discrediting of state institutions, this can only lead to the degradation of political culture and the collapse of authority. During the last United States presidential campaign, a major and striking difference between candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was their view of present-day America. Trump drew a virtually apocalyptic picture of our times, invoking economic collapse, rampant carnage, and Washington corruption. Harkening back to a more idyllic past, he promised to ‘Make America Great Again’ if elected.

Trump’s campaign capitalized on a widespread notion that the political establishment in Washington was corrupt: “I want the entire corrupt Washington establishment to hear and to hear and to heed the words I am about to say,” he said at a North Carolina rally. “If we win on Nov. 8, we are going to Washington, D.C., and we are going to drain the swamp.”

On October 31, 2016, eight days from Election Day, “when we win on Nov. 8 we are going to Washington D.C. and we are going drain the swamp,” Trumpsaid at a rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, charging that Hillary Clinton represents a corrupt political system.

Trump made this the centerpiece of his campaign. He uses it and its offshoots — ‘corruption’, ‘corrupted’, and ‘corrupt’ — a lot. He’ll begin by referring to specific Clinton activities he charges are corrupt, such as her use of a private email server as secretary of State. Two months ago, the FBI said it had found no evidence about Trump’s claim that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server was compromised by hackers working for the Chinese government. But the damage was done.

Populist leaders often add to corruption they vow to remove from governments

The Proud Corruption of Donald Trump,

The president has finally stated it plainly: He believes the government should subjugate rule of law to his political needs.

Trump’s tweet is so blunt one is almost tempted to look for deeper meaning. He’s saying the U.S. Department of Justice should be most concerned not with enforcement of laws but with aiding the Republican Party. Plenty of politicians are corrupt, but few announce it proudly from their Twitter accounts.”


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