By Daniel Oliver
Whatever happened to Christmas shopping? The Lefties, instead of supporting local merchants this season, are writing pieces about the coming dictatorship of Donald Trump. George Conway had a piece in the New York Times in November, David Frum has one in The Atlantic, and Robert Kagan (who, perhaps, should know better, has also written one (“A Trump Dictatorship is Increasingly Inevitable”) for the New York Times. His piece really wasn’t fit to print, but then that is true of much—most?—of what the Old Gray Lady puts out these days.
Kagan opens with, “Let’s stop the wishful thinking and face the stark reality: There is a clear path to dictatorship in the United States, and it is getting shorter every day.”
Well, you think, this should be interesting. And since the path is “clear,” Kagan should have no trouble describing in detail just how it leads to dictatorship. Ah, ha! That’s what you think.
And once Trump wins Super Tuesday, Kagan tells us, it’s all over: he’ll be the nominee. No one will stand up to him. Okay. So far, no startling news.
And then, “Trump will not only dominate his party. He will again become the central focus of everyone’s attention.” Well … okay. Yes. Presidential nominees do get a lot of attention. And we’re told Trump will have financial resources. Interesting. This man Kagan is a deep thinker.
“Biden, as some have pointed out, does not enjoy the usual advantages of incumbency. Trump is effectively also an incumbent, after all. That means Biden is unable to make the usual incumbent’s claim that electing his opponent is a leap into the unknown.” That is, perhaps, an interesting point, though not exactly dispositive on Trump’s being a dictator-in-waiting—which, is, er, what the piece is supposed to be about.
Then Kagan tells us that Trump will have momentum going into the election. We can guess that means quite a lot of voters actually like him.
Whereas, au contraire, as tony NYT liberals say, “the president is struggling with double-digit defections among Black Americans and younger voters.” But it gets worse: “The Democratic coalition is likely to remain fractious as the Republicans unify and Trump consolidates his hold.” That’s bad. Really baaaaad. It seems not to have occurred to Kagan to wonder why Black voters are souring on Biden.
Poor Biden: he can’t even claim that his opponent “is too inexperienced to be entrusted” with managing the crises that inevitably arise. Whereas, “on Trump’s watch, there was no full-scale invasion of Ukraine, no major attack on Israel, no runaway inflation, no disastrous retreat from Afghanistan. It is hard to make the case for Trump’s unfitness to anyone who does not already believe it.”
Kagan should know: he’s already a fifth of the way into his piece, and he hasn’t even started to make his case yet that a Trump dictatorship is around the corner.
And, Kagan has to admit, the invasion of Ukraine, the major attack on Israel, the runaway inflation, and the disastrous retreat from Afghanistan are not exactly feathers in Biden’s cap—and the three foreign policy disasters may remind some voters of what former Secretary of State Robert Gates said about Biden: “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Is that surprising? Biden is probably the dumbest person to serve as president in more than a hundred years—or perhaps ever. There’s a memorable exchange between Rudy Giuliani and a news person. Giuliani says Biden was last in his class in law school. He is corrected by the moderator. Okay, Giuliani concedes: he was next to last—and then the other guy died!
No wonder Biden gets everything wrong.
Kagan writes: “In this election, only one candidate is running on the platform of using unprecedented power to get things done, to hell with the rules. And a growing number of Americans claim to want that, in both parties. Trump is running against the system. Biden is the living embodiment of the system. Advantage: Trump.”
That’s balderdash! Biden was perfectly willing—to Hell with the rules—to forgive student loans even while admitting (along with Nancy Pelosi) that he didn’t have the power to do it. So what do we conclude? That if you admit that you don’t have the power to do what you’re doing, it’s not dictatorship?
The Biden administration also unilaterally extended the Centers for Disease Control’s pandemic-related eviction moratorium in August 2021, thereby preventing landlords from evicting tenants who were delinquent in their payments. This came even after Biden admitted that “the bulk of the constitutional scholars say it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.”
And Biden has deliberately not closed the southern border of the U.S., with the result that millions of illegal immigrants have flooded into the country, bringing disease, crime, and fentanyl. Part of the Biden plot is the assumption that they will, legally or otherwise, eventually vote Democrat.
I.e., “to Hell with the rules.” Dictatorship anyone? Anyone?
Kagan writes: “[Trump] certainly committed at least one of the crimes he is charged with; we don’t need a trial to tell us he tried to overturn the 2020 election.” Actually, we do need a trial. Gazillions of people think the charges against Trump are simply manufactured by the Democrats and the deep state to paralyze Trump. It may work, but that doesn’t make the charges true.
“The likeliest outcome of the [Trump] trials,” Kagan writes, “will be to demonstrate our judicial system’s inability to contain someone like Trump and, incidentally, to reveal its impotence as a check should he become president.” Wait a minute: so now it’s not just Trump who is … corrupt or incompetent; it’s the judicial system as well. Is there any American institution Kagan does have faith in?
Then Kagan writes a rather remarkable paragraph: “Another traditional check on a president is the federal bureaucracy, that vast apparatus of career government officials who execute the laws and carry on the operations of government under every president. They are generally in the business of limiting any president’s options. As Harry S. Truman once put it, ‘Poor Ike. He’ll say ‘do this’ and ‘do that’ and nothing at all will happen.”
If that’s true—and remarkably, and disastrously, it is—what’s the point of voting? Eisenhower won a landslide victory in 1952. If Kagan is happy with the civil service acting as a check on the chief executive, able to nullify his program (which is the point of his paragraph), what’s the point of elections? Kagan seems perfectly happy with the dictatorship of the deep state. Why? Because they’re his people, not Donald Trump’s.
After Trump gets elected, he “will have many avenues to persecute its enemies, real and perceived. Think of all the laws now on the books that give the federal government enormous power to surveil people for possible links to terrorism, a dangerously flexible term, not to mention all the usual opportunities to investigate people for alleged tax evasion or violation of foreign agent registration laws.”
Let’s see: how did the IRS behave under President Obama? Oh yes, they investigated and harassed conservative 501(c)(3) charities. And the Justice Department has even admitted that it lacked probable cause to spy on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in at least two of four warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Does Kagan remember that illegal spying? Is he just hoping the reader will have forgotten?