The Tipping Point. Is Trump on the Verge of a Dictatorship?

  • November 17, 2020
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The Tipping Point. Is Trump on the Verge of a Dictatorship? – Democratic Article

Alea iacta est. This prophetic Latin phrase was uttered by Julius Caesar as he crossed the Rubicon river. It effectively started a civil war that led to the downfall of the Roman Republic. Alea iacta est translates to ‘the die is cast’ and is used today as a means of indicating an act that has led to a point of no return.

Now, more than ever, I believe this phrase is relevant to the current situation unfolding in our country. For the first time, we are facing a sitting American President who has refused to concede after losing a legitimate election. If we allow Trump to behave in a way that is so damaging to our democracy, it won’t matter if he succeeds or not. We will have passed a point of decency and normalcy that will likely never return to American politics.

You may be thinking to yourself; this guy is overreacting. Trump isn’t actually going to try and usurp power from the American people. He may be a clown, but he’s no Adolf Hitler or Mussolini. While I would agree that Trump is a clown, he’s a clown that’s comically selfish and irresponsible. This is the same guy that fired the Director of the FBI after he refused to stop investigating his campaign’s involvement with the Russian government during the 2016 election. While his sloppy demeanor and cheap suits may fool you into believing he’s not capable of something as dramatic as the destruction of American democracy, I know what he’s capable of.

The most recent and alarming action Trump has taken since the election has been his purge of top Pentagon leadership. By firing those in positions of power and replacing them with loyalists, Trump has diminished our ability to react to existential threats. This puts us in a precarious situation during this transition.

While it’s clear that Trump is settling scores with those in his administration that he’s disagreed with in the past, what’s not evident is what he intends to accomplish with having these people in power for a few months. It’s possible his intentions are to put key people in power so that when he tries to stay in office, he’ll have the support of the military.

If, and I stress if, Trump tries to do this. If he tries to use the support of the military to stay in power, then he will have essentially crossed the Rubicon. The question would then remain, what next? What would the people do?

While writing this, I’m reminded of an old propaganda poster from the First World War. In the poster, a little girl asks her father: “Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?”. The power behind such a question is that it invites us to examine our own self-worth and courage. What did you do when your country demanded your help and service? Did you sit by while others fought for your safety and security? Or did you do what was necessary to fight for what so many have died to establish?

I’m not saying that anyone who doesn’t want to fight or die for their country is a coward. What I am saying is that there will be a time when your children ask you what you did when Trump refused to accept the results of our democracy. Did you let him destroy over 200 years of peaceful transfers of power? Or, did you do something to stop him? I imagine many, myself included, would prefer to tell their children the latter.

While I express great concern that Trump may try to stay in power, I have hope that this country would not let him. The Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli wrote in his most famous work The Prince that “whoever becomes the master of a city accustomed to living in freedom and does not destroy it, may reckon on being destroyed by it.” The main point is that those who were born into freedom and have lived in a society that values individual liberties will never accept the rule of a dictator. They will fight until either they or the tyrant is destroyed.

For any American, it’s not about whether you voted for Trump or Biden. It’s about the future of this country. It’s bigger than party politics. We have to ensure that our democracy stays intact; we must be prepared to do whatever’s necessary to protect it.

Written by Democratic Writer, Christopher Norman

Point of Information

The American Experiment will not fall to the hands of Trump – A Republican Response

American Democracy has stood strong for nearly 250 years. There have been times where it has been tested; some times greater than others. The war of 1812, when this country was just in its infancy, or the Civil War, when half of the nation seceded and formed its own Confederation of states. There was not one, but two World Wars, countless internal conflicts, as well as external threats. Throughout all of these tests, the US, and its people, only came out stronger and better prepared for the obstacles that lay ahead.

Donald Trump will not be the weak link that leads this country in chaos. And no matter how much he tries, we shouldn’t let him either.

What my colleague Chris writes is truly alarming. The firing of Mark Esper marks yet another move by Trump to remove those who speak out against him. He simply replaces them with someone else who will fall in line and keep their mouth shut. But, while Caesar had a legion of soldiers as he crossed the Rubicon, Trump will find himself alone and without the support of any military or law enforcement entity should he try to force himself into a second term.

Following his disrespectful comments about buried US soldiers in Europe, Trump’s already low popularity with the military has almost certainly diminished even further. Like my Foreign colleague Kieran highlights, the only group who will truly support him is his cult-like band of followers; the conspiracy theorists, those who sit on Facebook all day reading malarkey. This ragtag band of die-hard followers are the only group I see as a potential threat and cause of unrest. On the bright side, they’ll be no match for the US military or any law enforcement agency in the country should they, stupidly, decide to support Trump in some armed insurrection. There will be sporadic attacks and unrest surely, but a full-blown coup is just out of the question.

Biden has a monumental job. A job not only to revive the mystique of the US in the world as a beacon of hope but more importantly to revive a sense of fraternity and unity among the American people. As Mark Twain once said, “Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it”.

The American people are better than this. My colleague Chris and I share this same belief that the American populous knows better than to follow some despot towards death.

Written by Republican Writer, Sebastian Calcopietro

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Trump is creating problems, not prepping a coup – A Foreign Perspective

What is being suggested above is hugely scary. However, I don’t believe Trump is prepping a coup; that would be extremely overt. Trump would not be able to remove other key institutions in American society like Congress or the Supreme Court, and also the FBI and CIA. The American democratic system was built on checks and balances, it won’t die with a president’s mad grab for power.

He will also struggle to constrain the media, though he definitely has been trying during his presidency.

What I think is more likely to happen is what a CNN article suggested. I think that he will quell future protests using the Insurrection Act. This Act would grant the President power to send military forces on domestic territories; something that would be more fitting of Trump. He has threatened to use it before, and in Portland, he showed he wasn’t afraid to send in federal force despite Oregon rejecting it.

This move would be no less authoritarian, but it is slightly easier to defend by crying far-left rioters and the states aren’t stopping them.

Something else he intends to do, despite objections from within the military, is removing troops from Afghanistan by Christmas. This will severely weaken US presence in the Middle East – something that Russia, Iran, and China will be quick to capitalise on.

Him using the army to stay in power would be too far, even for him. That would split the American military into factions; those who follow the loyalists, and those who support democracy. Trump cannot count on the full undying support of the military.

Instead, he can count on his millions of supporters, many of who believe the election was ‘stolen’. If a Trump lawsuit manages to make its way up to the Supreme Court and they rule against him, it won’t defuse the tension surrounding this election. It has been built up for too long. Trump supporters will riot and protest, and even cause a civil war, as our colleague suggested.

Trump is merely creating more problems for Biden by installing loyalists in the military. Just like he is doing on a range of issues, and something he will continue to do until he is forced out.

Written by Foreign Perspective Writer, Kieran Burt

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Christopher Norman
Democrat Writer
Sebastian Calcopietro
Junior Conservative Writer at | Website
Hello, my name is Sebastian or “Seb” and I am currently going into my third year of
studies at the University of Exeter, completing a bachelor’s degree in International
Relations.
Kieran Burt
Conservative writer at | Website

Hello, my name is Kieran Burt and I am going into second year at Nottingham Trent University studying Politics and International Relations. I first developed an interest in politics through reading the Dictator’s Handbook by Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, when I was 16, and have furthered my interest by studying politics at A level and now at university.

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