December 3, 2023

"Trump attempts to spin anti-democracy, authoritarian criticism against Biden/The former president declared his 2024 campaign as a 'righteous crusade' against 'tyrants and villains.'"

That's the headline at The Washington Post.

Form your own impression. Here's the entire tirade (yesterday, in Cedar Rapids):


I listened to the speech yesterday, a bit inattentively, because it struck me as a typical Trump speech, not any new concept. 

But the Post's idea is that he's responding to recent criticism:
“Biden and his radical left allies like to pose as defenders of democracy,” Trump told a raucous crowd of a couple thousand supporters here. “But Joe Biden is not the defender of American democracy. Joe Biden is the destroyer of American democracy. … This campaign is a righteous crusade to liberate our republic from Biden and the criminals and the Biden administration.”

The speech showed that Biden’s framing of the 2024 election as democracy versus authoritarianism is resonating with voters, according to Jennifer Mercieca, a historian of American political rhetoric at Texas A&M University. Trump’s strategy to “accuse the accuser” could confuse voters about the real threat and help reassure his own supporters, she said.

“Trump’s Iowa speech continues his use of fascist rhetoric: it’s us versus them, he tells his supporters, and ‘they’ are enemies who cheat,” she said. “Authoritarians have a lot of rhetorical tricks for explaining away anti-democratic actions as actually ‘democratic.’”
Meanwhile, in the sidebar next to the article, there's this:


That's by Robert Kagan. If you want to read it — here. Sample:
If Trump does win the election, he will immediately become the most powerful person ever to hold that office. Not only will he wield the awesome powers of the American executive — powers that, as conservatives used to complain, have grown over the decades — but he will do so with the fewest constraints of any president, fewer even than in his own first term....

Let me pause to observe how ludicrous it is to use "fewest" like that. Overcorrection of the worst sort. We're not looking at a number of constraints and counting them.

But isn't it funny that those who have supported expansive executive power over the decades are now crying over the prospect of its falling into the hands of a President they loathe? You had a system of checks and balances, but you didn't like it.

63 comments:

wendybar said...

They are just pissed off that Trump is correct. Now let him do an article about Bidens "fascist rhetoric". Sick and tired of listening to the same people bitch and complain, when they are thrilled when their side does it.

“Trump’s Iowa speech continues his use of fascist rhetoric: it’s us versus them, he tells his supporters, and ‘they’ are enemies who cheat,” she said. “Authoritarians have a lot of rhetorical tricks for explaining away anti-democratic actions as actually ‘democratic.’”

The Crack Emcee said...

Trump is the first president, I've ever seen, who wasn't allowed a 'honeymoon' period. For that, alone, the Democrats deserve what they get.

Jersey Fled said...

Ann:

Do you find yourself holding your nose as you read the Washington Post?

The tyrants are those who put hundreds of people in jail, many going for months and years without even a trial, over a fake insurrection.

Hassayamper said...

This is ridiculous. Trump will have little power apart from the ability to veto legislation and appoint judges, and I wouldn’t bet on the latter if the Dems hold the Senate.

He will be undermined constantly by the most openly mutinous civil service any President has ever faced, who will be eager to run to the most viciously partisan press any President has ever faced, leaking any story that will cast him In a bad light.

If the Dems hold the House too, he can expect to be impeached ten times over in his term.

tim in vermont said...

“ Accuse the accuser “ has been a favorite Democrat trick since the day one of them opened Goebbel’s book. Obviously it is no defense of democracy to make it impossible to verify the result of an election, and to make seeking redress in the courts or state legislatures a criminal act, but that is what the Democrats are trying to sell.

Kevin said...

Yet again the Dems are rigging their primary while claiming to stand for “democracy”.

They set the frame, Trump should keep asking how they look in it.

tim in vermont said...

Robert Kagan is at the center of the neocon world. It’s kind of funny to see the Democrats fall in bed with Dick Cheney and George W Bush. You guys can have them, but it’s going to take more than hand sanitizer to get the blood off your hands from voting for Biden and empowering those guys.

rhhardin said...

Constraints are typically counted.

The important thing about contraints is that they do no work so the system is free to work within them.

JaimeRoberto said...

"Trump’s strategy to 'accuse the accuser' could confuse voters about the real threat". Oh no, those poor, stupid voters might be confused. I guess it betters will just have to fortify the election again. For Our Democracy.

These people truly live in a bubble.

michaele said...

I happened to read the Kagan piece before I opened Althouse. So much of his fear mongering concerns about Trump's second term are already true in Biden's first term. Biden has literally cost this country billions upon billions of dollars (probably trillions) with his executive decisions and how his administration is not enforcing laws. Trump obeyed court decisions and had his people go back to the drawing board and rewrite things so they would comply. The whole reason "the wall" was never significantly built was because of Congressional obstruction and court decisions. Biden has c rated a national emergency with his open border policy and Trump could officially declare it so and take action. That's not being a dictator...that's helping the country be a country.

rastajenk said...

It's always been us vs. them. Recently, it's been the enlightened and the woke vs. the deplorables.

John henry said...

The Brandon regime meets all of mussolini's definitions and principles of "fascism"

I challenge anyone here to read his pamphlet "the doctrine of fascism" and show us how Brandon's action over the past 3 years differ.

Mussolini here https://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/mussolini.htm

John Henry

Sebastian said...

"fascist rhetoric: it’s us versus them"

So, whatabout, whatabout, when Joe goes after MAGA?

We're all used to TDS and prog BS, of course, but can't they occasionally make a good-faith argument? Why does the continuous bad-faith shoveling work so well on anti-Trumpers? Like many here, I think Trump is an ineffective clown who will be a yuge loser once again in 2024. But the effing BS just confirms me as a diehard anti-anti-Trumper.

And as I said in a comment on the later post (sorry): how exactly is Trump going to be the dictatorial fascist if elected?

John henry said...

Now do president, president emeritus and future president Trump.

Show us how he is fascist by mussolonis definition.

Hell, if you want to show us how he is fascist by your own definition, do that.

Just be so good as to tell us what your definition is.

John Henry

John henry said...

Liberalism (classic liberalism, libertarianism, minarchist) is pretty much the opposite of fascism. It is "next to no state at all" as opposed to "everthing within the state".

Donald Trump was probably our most liberal president in the past 200 years. Coolidge a possible exception.

Not as liberal as some of us might like of course. But the best so far.

John Henry

mezzrow said...

It will be interesting to see how the agencies react to America's review of their handiwork. Is it possible that things reach a place beyond their control? I doubt it.

So many shoes remain to be dropped that Imelda Marcos's shoe closet would be sorely taxed to supply what is to come. Politics may step into a period of a sort of "singularity" of its own. Things change so drastically and so quickly that it would be impossible to describe or outline before the event itself.

Remember the Sixties? Like that, but all at once. Kagan's just preparing the ground.

tim in vermont said...

Someone reposted an Yglesias tweet from 2016 where he predicted that if Trump won, there would be crowds of Republicans going around beating up gays and blacks. Did it happen? Who cares? It’s not a lie if you believe it.

Quaestor said...

What's going on here, one may well ask. Does an allegedly educated American like Robert Kagan sincerely believe what he has written? Of course not. But he does believe Trump will defeat Biden. He also believes the GOP will gain borrow control of the House and Senate. Kagan has access to polling data the WaPoo will never publish. So what's the purpose of such crude and transparent lies? The purpose is to inspire an assassin.

Think of it as Kagan's wet dream. What near-future incident would most neatly serve the Democratic Party's most cherished ends better than a borderline psychopath armed with an AR-15 murdering Donald Trump? With a single bullet, the Democrats achieve their long-sought dictatorship -- The White House for decades to come, a universal firearms ban, and marshal law in the restive red states where rats will be clearly smelled. Call it the Quaestor Single Bullet Theory.

This is not far-fetched. Something very similar happened on an April night in 1865. While I do not suggest the Republican Party conspired to eliminate Abraham Lincoln, many in positions of authority were strongly dismayed by Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. They wanted to punish the South, to cripple it politically and economically, and to upend its society -- to make it conquered territory rather than a member of the United States. Upon Lincoln's death, Edwin M. Stanton became the most powerful figure in the administration in charge of nearly one million soldiers eager to do his bidding. With Lincoln removed and the ineffectual Andrew Johnson in nominal command only, the Republicans were free to do what Lincoln would have never permitted. The Republicans didn't arrange Lincoln's murder, but they reaped the benefit.

The same could be true for the Democrats, all they need is a Brutus to usher in their principate.

rhhardin said...

The Bulwark channel is a great source of daily anti-Trump intellectualism. Cognitive dissonance in waiting.

JaimeRoberto said...

I'm old enough to remember when one of Hillary's campaign slogans was "Stronger Together". Like a bundle of sticks, otherwise known as a fascio.

Leland said...

I remember when Trump was President that Congress tossed out a member of the opposition party and joked about it using sexist terminology. Oh wait, that just happened.

Wilbur said...

This nonsense is just red meat for the Leftist True believers.

“There is perhaps no surer way of infecting ourselves with virulent hatred toward a person than by doing him a grave injustice.”
― Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

Ann Althouse said...

"Do you find yourself holding your nose as you read the Washington Post?"

Wrong metaphor. I am physically incapable of smelling anything bad.

But in any case, haven't you noticed that I like to write about things I find questionable. For me to be "holding my nose" would just mean I'm not cut out to do the work I am choosing to do. I'd be like a squeamish surgeon, squealing "ew!" I'd find other work.

Ann Althouse said...

Plus, I'm retired. I don't need to do any work I don't want to do. If you see me doing it, you know it's what I want.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

The little woman and I also listened/watched Trump’s entire speech yesterday and had the same reactions as Althouse, that it was like his standard speeches, albeit longer and especially near the end more repetitive. But OMG what a difference to Biden! Trump is so naturally humorous and has a knack for honing in on the essential aspects of this campaign. He doesn’t get lost on the stage or break into a trot or bungle the script. Hell it sounded unscripted and went for 80 minutes.

But the hugest shared reaction we had was that Trump speeches sound nothing like the way they are reported on by Big Media. The fact that the three highest rated cable networks refuse to broadcast him is just a sad reflection of the way they try to shape news rather than report it. An honest media would compare the Dark Brandon speech drenched in red lighting to this one and let the viewer decide which is more divisive and angry and threatening and especially more fascist in tone and content.

Ann Althouse said...

"Constraints are typically counted."

That's a bland abstraction. In this actual discussion of constraints on the President, it's not numbered items that matter at all, but the strength and effectiveness of the items.

For example, there's something called the nondelegation doctrine, which has in recent decades been so weak that it's practically no constraint on the executive branch at all. But it's one item on the list of constraints. To take it away would mean one less constraint on the President. But the Supreme Court is threatening to strengthen that doctrine, and liberals are extremely anxious about that. If the Court does strengthens the doctrine, it will still be one item on a list of "constraints." But it will be far more of a constraint.

It's not the number that is at issue here.

Ann Althouse said...

Again, we're not counting "constraints."

We're looking at the amount of constraint.

"Fewer" as used by Kagan looks like somebody following a rule he's heard of and failing to think like a human being.

The significant scholars of usage have written about this problem. I could look it up. I find it very irritating. The overcorrectness problem.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's Follett's discussion of "fewer."

Big Mike said...

The speech showed that Biden’s framing of the 2024 election as democracy versus authoritarianism is resonating with voters, according to Jennifer Mercieca, a historian of American political rhetoric at Texas A&M University. Trump’s strategy to “accuse the accuser” could confuse voters about the real threat and help reassure his own supporters, she said.

Yeah! Because Trump’s Attorney General tried to make it a federal crime for parents to protest at school board meeting.

Or was that Merrick Garland and Joe Biden?

And then there was Donald Trump unilateral and bitched departure from Afghanistan, not coordinated with our allies.

Oops, that was Lloyd Austin and Joe Biden.

Then there was Trump’s abuse of the War Powers Act to bypass Congress and issue climate regulations.

Ah, no, that was Joe Biden again.

Shall I go on?

Yes, the 2024 election really is all about democracy vs. authoritarianism. And if you love the former then you dare not vote for Democrats! Such a paradox.

Ann Althouse said...

Follett says that when you're talking about the overall amount — when that's what's most important — then "less" can be better than "fewer" even when there are countable items.

For example, compare:

I could buy that house for fewer than a million dollars OR I could buy that house for less than a million dollars.

The right choice there is "less."

Ann Althouse said...

But I do think "less constraints" sounds worse than "fewer constraints." The best solution is to say "less constraint." It really is the overall amount. Most people can't even think of what the countable items of constraint might be.

Ann Althouse said...

Would you like fewer spaghetti?

stlcdr said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Do you find yourself holding your nose as you read the Washington Post?"

Wrong metaphor. I am physically incapable of smelling anything bad.

...


And that's why you can do it! I honestly thought it was a good comment after a few seconds: "...wait, doesn't Althouse have a smelling things issue?"

Dude1394 said...

"tim in vermont said...
“ Accuse the accuser “ has been a favorite Democrat trick since the day one of them opened Goebbel’s book."

Yes, democrats consistently blame others of what they are actually doing. Always.

Milo Minderbinder said...

If the current administration weren't tyrants and thieves they wouldn't have to spy on us and censor us.

James K said...

To take it away would mean one less constraint on the President.

Though Follett doesn't mention it, "less" is normally used when the number is "one," as in "I want ten volunteers, and not one less." "Not One Less" was the title of a pretty good Chinese movie I saw ten or fifteen years ago.

Aggie said...

..."according to Jennifer Mercieca, a historian of American political rhetoric at Texas A&M University."

Waitaminute. Isn't this that same dope that was quoted here a few weeks ago saying something equally inane? What is this, the new Salena Zito of the Left, the Progressive clarion of the 2024 election? She seems to be getting some Legacy Media allotments here. Bah!

Omaha1 said...

What a hysterical man-baby. The whole time I was reading that article, of which the WaPo published many in the same genre prior to the 2016 election, I was wanting to slap the author Godfather style and tell him to "ACT LIKE A MAN!"

AMDG said...

The hysteria about Trump becoming a dictator is idiotic.

The real danger in Trump becoming President again is that it will pave the way for a dictatorship by the Democratic Party. If his first term is any indication he will leave the Democrats stronger and the Republicans much weaker.

Trump is too much of a lazy, incompetent, stubborn buffoon to become a dictator. One only need look at COVID. Instead of seizing the reins of power he subcontracted it to the likes of Fauci. We all know he is a liar but what people don’t comprehend that one of the biggest victims of his lies is himself. I believe his narcissism will not let him admit mistakes and if you can’t see the error of your ways you are doomed to repeat your mistakes. The danger isn’t that he becomes Napoleon, it is that he will be President Costanza.

In the clips of last nights speech that I saw it was vintage Trump but he seems to have lost his fastball. He aired his personal grievances, aimed gratuitous insults at people whom he perceives as disloyal, made promises he was unable to fulfill in his first term, and a bunch of tRump Swabs lapping it up like all the old ladies swooning at an 80+ year old Frankie Valli as he poorly lip syncs through all his old hits.

If Trump weren’t such a lying, wife cheating, untrustworthy, disloyal, golf cheating, incompetent, self centered scum bag I might feel sorry for him.

Howard said...

AMDG: "President Costanza"

That's the best characterization of Trump I've seen. I'm going to use that to calm my TDS friends and family over the prospect of his reelection.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

The only way the corrupt left win is if they cheat.

yeah sure - the left have a base - but they are morons. morons who love communism and who want a Marxist totalitarian single party state.... and non-stop climate hysteria religion.

Joe Smith said...

"Would you like fewer spaghetti?"

No. No is more...

Old and slow said...

Anyone who uses phrases like "tRump Swabs" immediately loses all credibility. The same applies to people who write "DemonRats" or the like. What do you imagine you are accomplishing with this stupidity?

Hey Skipper said...

For example, compare:

I could buy that house for fewer than a million dollars OR I could buy that house for less than a million dollars.

The right choice there is "less."


The distinction is between number and amount.

A million dollars is a conceptual amount. You wouldn't say "... less than $1,100,250".

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

Indeed- Trump is such a dictator - he let Hillary off the hook.
Thus breaking his #1 2016 campaign promise to drain the swamp.

You drain the swamp by going hard after corrupt money grubbing liars on the left - and keeping your promises.

Jupiter said...

"But the Post's idea is that he's responding to recent criticism:"

It's funny, but my idea is that the baloney-slicers and shit-shovelers at the WaPo are responding to recent massive job cuts. Massive! Ahhhhh-hah-hah-ha! And with the promise of even more to come!

Drago said...

Its clear from his spittle flecked post at 9:51AM that AMDG, the now even more pathetic Steve Deace of Althouse blog, is not handling the implosion of the DeSantis campaign very well at all.

The complete collapse of Never Back Down, the migration of the globalist/pro-dem policy early funders of DeSantis to either Nikki or a neutral position, the accelerating endorsements of Trump by republican groups that matter (whether you care for him or not) along with the utter failure, nay, the astonishing negative impact the moronic DeSantis Online Influencer group and wannabe DeSantis Online Influencer groupies like AMDG have had on voters that are paying attention, will be analyzed in the future as The Case Study of how an astroturfed, top down, out of touch, voter base hating, America Last crew failed to fool voters that have never been more engaged and informed about the ins and outs of the shenanigans of political "insiders".

The jig is up AMDG. But you do you while the slightly smarter morons start trying to claw their way back to relevance, such as Bill Mitchell this very morning on X.

But all hope is not yet lost AMDG! There is still a chance your democratical/GOPe corrupt lawfare allies may yet railroad Trump out of the race altogether...which has been the DeSantis strategy since 2021.

Unfortunately, DeSantis has been exposed and can never convert sufficient base voters to win after a lawfare takedown of Trump.

So, good news and bad news, eh? Isn't that always the way?

rcocean said...

I love how they always appeal to authority by quoting some left-wing, Trump hating Historian, like she has some great objective insight.

Also, Biden is trying to put Trump in jail. Talking about how Trump is authoritarian is litterally insane.

We know how Trump will behave. He was POTUS for 4 years and didn't do much of anything to hurt the opposition. Remember?

Rabel said...

Kagan in 2016.

Just amazing. Someone asked if people like Kagan actually believe the things thy write about Trump. If they do then it seems no amount of contrary evidence will change their minds.

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

Ann - 8:21.

Indeed!

Greg the Class Traitor said...

"Fascism" was so named because of the latin word Fasces, which is a bundle of stick, made strong because they're bound together.

The "sticks" that fascism "bound together" were labor, corporations, and the government. The "binding" was done by the Fascist party.

The modern Democrats, with their "corporate public partnerships" and joining in the labor unions, all bound together by the Democrat Party, are the American Fascists.

Democrats calling Trump a fascist is just more left wing projection of their evils on others


And the people who are fighting to get Trump removed from teh ballot (because of a total lack of understanding of the 14th Amendment) are pretty much the epitome of "anti-democracy", since they are the ones fighting to deny people the right to vote for who they want to. So more projection yet again

BamaBadgOR said...

Kagan doesn't believe what he wrote. If he does, he will draw a warm bath and end it all.

Greg the Class Traitor said...

Drago said...
Its clear from his spittle flecked post at 9:51AM that AMDG, the now even more pathetic Steve Deace of Althouse blog, is not handling the implosion of the DeSantis campaign very well at all.

1: I note you have no response to any of the true and correct things AMDG had to say about Trump.
Does it every get tiring, trying to "defend Trump" from charges you know are true?
2: The "implosion" of the DeSantis campaign? Do tell!
Kim Reynolds, GOP Governor of IA, the State where the first votes will happen, endorsed DeSantis, and then put herself and her political machine to work supporting DeSantis for teh upcoming caucuses. That's a really impressive "implosion"

The complete collapse of Never Back Down, the migration of the globalist/pro-dem policy early funders of DeSantis to either Nikki or a neutral position, the accelerating endorsements of Trump by republican groups that matter

1: Which "complete collapse" is that?
2: Wow, you mean all the people whose"support" you claimed "proved" that DeSantis was a GOPe tool have gone over to Haley, the GOPe tool who wants to be Trumps next VP? Almost like they discovered that DeSantis is NOT a GOPe tool, so went over to someone who is? Does the cognitive dissonance ever hurt?
3: Which "republican groups that matter" are those? I note you dont' bother to name any of them.
I saw that Greg Abbot endorsed Trump. But I also saw that, unlike Kim Reynolds, he isn't actually DOING anything to support Trump, unlike Reynolds is with DeSantis

"astroturfed, top down, out of touch, voter base hating, America Last crew" That's impressively delusional, even for you

Joe Biden, America's Putin said...

AMDG - You're not wrong.


Drago - we know you love Trump with all your heart and soul. Like a teenage girl/Elvis. In your world- Trump can do no wrong. He is a perfect sentient being. Whatever will you do without him? After 2024 - win or lose - this is the end of the road for Trummp. Will you Join the democrats? please do.

Michael K said...

If Trump weren’t such a lying, wife cheating, untrustworthy, disloyal, golf cheating, incompetent, self centered scum bag I might feel sorry for him.

Something James Hodgkinson might have written.

"On May 22, 2017, Hodgkinson wrote "Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co." above his repost of a Change.org petition demanding "the legal removal" of Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for "treason". He belonged to numerous political Facebook groups, including those named "Terminate the Republican Party", "The Road To Hell Is Paved With Republicans", and "Donald Trump is not my President."[60]"

NMObjectivist said...

I'm glad Ann taught writing. It adds a whole new level to blogging.
Me: "whole new"

Drago said...

I stand w Isreal. Leftists, Mullahs, Hamas-Palistinian terrorists can suck it: "Drago - we know you love Trump with all your heart and soul. Like a teenage girl/Elvis. In your world- Trump can do no wrong. He is a perfect sentient being. Whatever will you do without him? After 2024 - win or lose - this is the end of the road for Trummp. Will you Join the democrats? please do."

Uh oh.

I criticized the this chick's beloved GOPe-ers again and I see it gas triggered her....again. She really, really hates criticism of them.

Why aren't you happy GOPe gal? Your GOPe heroes dumped due process to get rid of Santos and just this morning Rep Comer has indicated that getting rid of Santos makes it very difficult to get the votes needed for an impeachment inquiry into Biden!

Another spectacular win for you and Team GOPe and the dems!

Congratulations to you!

The only question remaining: how will you blame this one in Trump?

Not to worry. You'll figure it out. Thats the one area you've shown some creativity in.

tim in vermont said...

"we know you love Trump with all your heart and soul. Like a teenage girl/Elvis."

Mark Twain said that the way we understand other people is to look inside ourselves, but I think that this might be a miss.

tim in vermont said...

We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies. - Robert Kagan - 2016

What a f*g liar. What is more pointless machismo than the neocon's endless wars?

Drago said...

Boulder CO GOPe Suckup: "we know you love Trump with all your heart and soul. Like a teenage girl/Elvis."

Tim in Vermont: "Mark Twain said that the way we understand other people is to look inside ourselves, but I think that this might be a miss."

Boulder buffoon is so wrapped up in defending GOPe backstabbers she literally cannot fathom anyone supporting a set of policies and simply selecting the candidate that best represents those policies.

Its all emotion, no thinking, 24/7.

Mike said...

Well, only one of these two men attempted a coup to stay in power. So that should be a guide stars to who the real authoritarian is.

Bunkypotatohead said...

Why does anyone think Biden will vacate the white house if Trump wins? Especially if the house of representatives goes Dem? A Dem congress won't force the issue. The chairman of the JCOS is a Biden appointee, so he won't do anything. Every one employed in the executive branch opposes Trump.
Every news organization will publish editorials saying it would be the end of "our democracy" if Trump were allowed back in.
Seriously...how could Biden be made to leave?

wendybar said...

Mike said...
Well, only one of these two men attempted a coup to stay in power. So that should be a guide stars to who the real authoritarian is.

12/3/23, 10:46 PM

Joe Biden?? The coup was Nancy Pelosi's J6 plan. She planned this, and got exactly what she wanted, fools like you believing it was an insurrection, when it was a set up.