Saturday, January 7, 2017

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Trump? – “You need some of the major institutions to be with you”

Mark Schmitt in conversation with Robert Wright,, January 5, 2016. Late in the conversation Wright asks: “Are you concerned about the authoritarianism?” Here’s Schmitt’s response (c. 48:35):
Schmitt: I hate to say I’m not, because obviously all those impulses are there. I think the discipline to do it isn’t there. I was thinking the other day, again...Again, if you’re going to be a systematic fascist or a systematic authoritarian, you need some of the major institutions to be with you. You either need public opinion, which he won’t have. You need the military, which he won’t have. You need the sort of ‘deep state’ intelligence apparatus, which he’s alienated and won’t have.

You need the corporate sector in a big way, which I don’t think he’ll have. I think the games he’s playing with corporations are just too abusive to them. He’s bullied and then suddenly messed with the stock price of both Boeing and Lockheed-Martin in the last few weeks. I don’t think they take well to that. I don’t think they’re interested in being part of a fascist-authoritarian state. I think they’re interested in being part of a dynamic globalized global economy, unless they’re like Wilbur Ross* and they’re just bottom feeders. [...]

He’s not going to have enough of Congress to back him up on an authoritarian-fascist direction. So I don’t think you can be a solo fascist. From everything we know about fascism, the conditions [aren’t really here].
The whole conversation is worth listening to.

* Trump has picked Ross for Secretary of Commerce. From Wikipedia:
Wilbur Louis Ross, Jr. (born November 28, 1937) is an American investor, and former banker, known for restructuring failed companies in industries such as steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles. He specializes in leveraged buyouts and distressed businesses. As of August 2014, Forbes magazine lists Ross as one of the world's billionaires with a net worth of $2.9 billion.

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