Democracy’s Safeguard: Dissecting the Improbability of a Trump Dictatorship

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Donald Trump professed that if he is elected, he will be a dictator on day one.

What does that mean to American voters?

It’s not possible to trash the Constitution. Congress still has to appropriate money for the things usually associated with coup de grâce, such as nationalizing the military.

A look at actual US dictatorships might shed some light on what Trump might try to do and why all previous attempts at dictatorships have failed.

FDR Would Be A Good Start

We amended the US Constitution to limit US presidents to two terms in office. They do not have to be consecutive terms.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the reason for the 22nd Amendment.

Grover Cleveland was elected, lost, and was elected again.

FDR was the first three-term Democrat in American History. Vice President Harry Truman became president when FDR died in office in 1945.

One of FDR’s goals was to “pack” the Supreme Court with up to 15 justices. He felt he had a better chance of favorable treatment for his policies.

Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.

An in-depth study showed how President Roosevelt’s economic policies during the Great Depression hindered recovery while prolonging the economic downturn.

Roosevelt’s policies had detrimental effects that prolonged the Great Depression by 20 years and hindered any chance for recovery.

Roosevelt was guided by his belief that excessive competition was at the core of the Depression.

To him, decreasing prices and wages would increase employment as demand rose for goods and services; as such, he instituted measures aimed at curbing competition while protecting labor rights.

Using data compiled before the Great Depression’s start in 1929 to establish average wages and prices across industries, accounting for annual productivity increases as an indicator for Depression years prices and wages would have been.

Without Roosevelt’s policies being in place a positive recovery was possible.

Analysis by researchers showed that wages in 11 key industries were, on average, 25 percent higher due to Roosevelt’s intervention than they would have been otherwise. Yet, unemployment rates were 25 percent higher than expected, given productivity gains — suggesting that artificially inflated wages did not lead to sustainable employment growth.

Also, prices in 19 industries were, on average, 23 percent higher than they should have been given the state of the economy, making it more challenging for consumers to afford goods and services, thus decreasing demand. As a result, the gross national product remained 27 percent below its potential level.

Such misguided policies prevented the economy from experiencing an effective recovery.

By permitting businesses to collude without fear of antitrust prosecution and permitting workers to demand wages above market rates, Roosevelt unwittingly disrupted market forces, causing imbalances that prevented long-term growth.

Noteworthy is the fact that this study challenges the widely held narrative regarding Roosevelt’s policies during the Great Depression, challenging its widely held narrative.

Though he intended to promote economic recovery through these measures, their unintended consequences appear to have had negative repercussions instead.

Fast Forward to Joseph McCarthy In 1947

Joseph McCarthy was a Republican Senator from Wisconsin.

He served in the US Senate from 1947 until he died in 1957 at 48.

He headed the Senate Committee on Government Operations, where he went after suspected Communists and homosexuals within the CIA and other government agencies.

He also went after Hollywood causing many writers, actors, and workers to be “blacklisted” and forbidden to work in their chosen fields.

I remember having to sign a statement that I would not work to overthrow the government of the United States before I could be hired at a job.

McCarthy ruined countless lives with nothing more than unsubstantiated allegations.

At that time, no one challenged the government. Not even the powerful studio heads in Hollywood.

He was eventually “censured” by Congress.

There was something called “The House Committee on Un-American Activities.”

Could a committee like that be considered today?

I lived through the history detailed above. It was a time when America wasn’t the “shining city on a hill.”

The Civil Rights Movement was just around the corner.

Some Final Thoughts on Dictatorship

In this era, the distinction between civil liberties and national security became indistinct, leading to uncertainty among US citizens.

While some felt that their freedoms were being eroded, others saw the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and McCarthyism as essential measures to protect national security.

Government officials experienced similar dilemmas domestically, questioning whether their actions constituted an overreach of governmental authority or were necessary precautions to shield America from internal threats.

These issues would have been easy to have wormed their way into current society.

But all were stopped.

Not by Congress but by Americans stepping up to the ballot box and voting for those who would make the necessary corrections.

When I hear Trump’s derangement syndrome remarks about a dictatorship, I think of FDR and Joseph McCarthy.

You could also include Nixon and Watergate.

Those three alone should belay your fears. Even if Trump is elected, he can only serve four years.

Any misstep will be front-page news.

I’ll sleep just fine regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.

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