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Authoritarianism

“The Leader is the Party and the Party is the Leader”

Embed from Getty Images Trumpist Kayleigh McEnany has left CNN (where she appeared as a Trump surrogate), for both Trump TV and the Republican National Committee as the RNC spokesperson. Evan McMullin, a conservative opponent of Trumpism, rightly (but too optimistically, I think) observes that “[i]nstead of doubling down on Trumpism, GOP leadership would be well served…

‘Very Brazen About It’

In the video above, Dr. Sarah Kendzior describes the brazen nature of autocracy: not merely does an autocrat flaunt norms, but he does so to remind others of his power, and to attempt to instill in normal, freedom-loving people a feeling of hopelessness in the face of power aberrantly exercised. In response to these tactics,…

Rubin & Kendzior on Trump-Russia

Jennifer Rubin and Sarah Kendzior offer complimentary observations on Trump-Russia, that compound word for the evident association between Trump and Putin’s authoritarian state. Rubin’s remarks are from yesterday, Kendzior’s from May 20th. Rubin asks, of Trump, Would a spy for Russia be acting any differently?: By whatever means, Russia has reaped unexpected and unparalleled benefits from…

Sarah Kendzior Ponders Foreign Affairs ‘In the Shadow of Putin’

Sarah Kendzior, an anthropologist with a background studying the dictatorships in the former Soviet republics of central Asia, speaks to Lindsay Beyerstein on Beyerstein’s The Breach podcast: This week on The Breach, journalist Sarah Kendzior joins us to talk about the weaponization of information in Putin’s Russia. The full extent of Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential election…

What Grant’s Overland Campaign Teaches for Grave Political Conflict

For matters far removed from warfare, including ones concerning severe political conflict, Grant’s Overland Campaign offers useful lessons. It’s typically a poor idea to describe political affairs in military terms, but grave threats to the political order sadly call for a different approach. One fights in more than one way: sometimes using maneuver, at other times…

An Eminent Psychiatrist on Trump

Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical College, who served as chairman of the task force that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (D.S.M.-IV), on 2.14.17 sent a letter to the New York Times in which he addresses questions about Donald Trump’s mental state. (See, An Eminent Psychiatrist…

A Grand Coalition Forms

Conservative Jennifer Rubin describes, in E Pluribus Unum vs. Trump, both the building coalition against Trump and the powerful nature of that coalition. She’s right that what seemed unlikely a few weeks ago is real now: Just a couple of weeks ago, critics of post-inaugural protesters argued the anti-President Trump movement lacked coherence. Too many small,…

Why Trump Press Secretary Spicer Lies

Anna Rascouët-Paz relates an explanation (from someone who worked in a past administration) for Trump press secretary Spicer’s repeated lies about inaugural crowd size.  It’s spot on: For more on a disinformation strategy based on insisting that nothing is knowable, see The Russian Conspiracy on Behalf of Conspiracy Theorist Donald Trump (“there is a coherent pattern…