A friend and former student sent me a message objecting to my January 3rd Passing Scene post. (Readers using a computer only have to glance to the right to see what I’m talking about. If you’re using a mobile phone, you have to scroll down to get to the Passing Scene column.)
My friend has a point. Comparing Trump to Mussolini is inflammatory rather than persuasive. By the same token, the comparison is more than just idle talk.
Trump’s rhetoric is authoritarian: We’ll make America great again, the country has been run by fools and we’ll fix it.
Already Trump is up against a problem with rhetoric like that. He wants to kill “Obamacare” and replace it with a better plan. Given that the Affordable Care Act is already loaded down with expensive concessions to drug companies it won’t be easy to come up with a credible program acceptable to Republicans.
For that reason and others, it’s highly unlikely that Trump will be able to make good on his authoritarian rhetoric regarding the Affordable Care Act, even with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. The likelier outcome is more gridlock. But that presages even more frustration, possibly followed by even more authoritarian rhetoric.
Trump is not Mussolini, but his approach to politics is worrisome.