The Problem: Trump Doesn’t Believe In Democracy That Much More Than Democrats Do

Some prominent progressives are noticing that Democrats are increasingly hostile to the core principles of democracy. Yesterday, for example, actor/activist Tim Robbins issued a tweet condemning the House Democrats who threatened reporter Matt Taibbi with prison following his congressional testimony on the so-called Twitter Files:

A serious, individual liberties-respecting, democratic values-honoring GOP candidate who hadn’t already burned every bridge he came across might have some success turning such previously knee-jerk Democratic voters around. Such a candidate is emphatically not Donald Trump.

In both his social media posts and his recent rally in New Hampshire, Trump implied that he wouldn’t participate in any pre-primary debates among other contenders for the Republican nomination. Describing the debates as giving rivals like Florida governor Ron DeSantis a chance to challenge him, he asked the crowd n Manchester,“Why would you do that?”

Gee, give me a minute; let me think. Oh! You do that because democracy requires an informed public. You do it because voters deserve an opportunity to compare their options. You do it to show respect for the process of American elections and the office Trump is seeking.

Then he said, “I do look forward to the debate with Joe.”

Idiot. Why would Biden agree to debate Trump if he didn’t have to? Trump ducking the primary debates would eliminate any traction he could gain by claiming that Joe was “ducking him.” Trump skipping the GOP candidates debates all but guarantees that Biden will refuse to subject himself to the risks of a debate format.

All of which degrades and undermines the functioning of our system. These guys don’t care, and Trump is seemingly setting himself up to run a Bull Moose-style kamikaze third party assault if the Republican Party doesn’t do his bidding and make him its candidate. Recall that the RNC announced that promising to support the GOP nominee was a prerequisite for participating in the debates. Now Trump is saying, “Debates? I don’t need no stinking debates!” It’s obvious what he’s threatening, isn’t it?

Trump is declaring himself the nominee—Napoleon crowned himself as Emperor, remember—-leaving the rest of the possible contenders with a no-win dilemma: all they can do is knock each other off while Trump coasts to the nomination, only appearing before fawning audiences of deplorables and never having to engage with his critics.

Democrats want to silence and criminalize dissent; Trump wants to block any route to challenging his power.

As divided as Americans are, it doesn’t appear that enough of them care about preserving democracy to do anything to preserve it. They only differ on the means by which they are willing to let it collapse.

23 thoughts on “The Problem: Trump Doesn’t Believe In Democracy That Much More Than Democrats Do

  1. If I recall correctly, Julius Caesar decided to roll the dice and cross the Rubicon when his political adversaries were poised to convict him of a host of crimes. While he roamed as Proconsul in Gaul, thumping around the Gallic tribes, he was a hero to the people and untouchable. But his adversaries finally demanded his recall from Gaul, and knowing that he would face political destruction if he allowed his adversaries to control events, he decided it would be better to march his legions on Rome. Either he would succeed and destroy his enemies, or he would be no worse off by dying in battle than living with the ignominy of criminal convictions.

    The parallels to Trump are obvious, except Trump is nowhere near the brilliant tactician as Caesar, and is nowhere the great orator that Caesar was. However, I do think it worthwhile to note that Caesar’s crossing the Rubicon was essentially the death knell of the Republic.

  2. I think you hit this one right on the head. I do think it will be very hard for President Trump to skip the GOP debates, if for no other reason than to stab verbal pins in the other candidates. His ego will require it. Those attacks worked in 2016, but it’s a tired act. If he wants to be taken seriously, he must participate in the debates and he must debate seriously.

    By-passing the process and making oneself the presumptive Presidential nominee is the surest way to lose my support. An outside-of-politics President exactly fit the bill in 2016. It would be nice to have one of those again…who isn’t an absolute egomaniac.

    • If he does skip the debates, it would give every other candidate an easy target.

      I doubt Trump could stand attacks that he could not rebut, especially if the attack is that he is too scared to participate.


  3. Whatever I appreciated about Trump before has been erased by his latest antics. He sounds just like unethical Democrats all the time now.

    No debate? Great, I guess we’re all supposed to just vote based on claims of personal greatness and platitudes.

    I want to be positive but Trump is making it impossible. He’s helping, along with a lot of Democrats, to make our elections a total showboat fest.

    So sad.

  4. There are no politicians who care about our democracy. They care about money, power over money and control of money. The Democrat/Republican tug of war is over which donors they get to exchange bribes with, not about the country or it’s citizens. Everything but the bribes is just a show to distract the masses from the real government activity. The US economy is a Ponzi scheme. The country hasn’t got any borders. The people who live in the US hate each other, and at least half of them hate the country itself. All this hoopla is a reality television show, not a political race.

    There should be some new parties. The old ones suck.

    As for Trump….sure, he is unethical and narcissistic. So are all the rest of them. Trump is not any better or worse than any of the others. The media just spends 24 hours a day 7 days a week making sure the populace knows every bad thing he does, and 24 hours a day 7 days a week making sure they know about none of the bad things all the other assholes do. It’s a game. A psyop. A film flam. A farce.

    • NP You always seem to capture what is on my mind. Democracy does not die if there are no debates with or without Trump or any other candidate. To have a truly functioning democracy the electorate must be willing and able to evaluate the candidates fairly and have an understanding of the issues at hand. Most Americans cannot or will not do that. They vote for the candidate that promises them resources that have to come from someone else, if not now sometime in the future. These over produced debates are hardly effective in allowing the public to understand the issues. In many cases they are nothing more than uninspired Jerry Springer guests. The public cannot assess any candidate’s merits because the candidate over-promises and the opponent misrepresents the positions on which the other candidate campaigns. How many seniors are told that if a Republican is elected Social Security will be cut or ended when in fact only systemic reform is warranted to ensure continued viability. How many people believe that in Florida teachers cannot say Gay in the classroom. Misinformation pervades our electoral system so what we have is not a functioning democracy we have competing cults who want to retain power so that their privileges can continue.

      Trump can run as a third-party candidate and it will not affect democracy one bit. It will of course send the United States further down the path to destruction if enough people take votes away from a more Presidential Republican candidate that will allow the Manchurian candidate a second 4 years. That is Democracy. Where does it say that democracy will yield the best result.

      I am tired of the claim that we are a democracy. We are a representative republic that elects our leaders through a democratic voting process. If we were a Democracy I would have as much decision-making power as any member of Congress.

      • I must say, Chris, I’m tired of “We are a representative republic that elects our leaders through a democratic voting process.” The US has the values, principles and aspirations of a democracy, with a governmental mechanism that minimizes the obvious drawbacks of a pure democracy. I view that repeated mantra as being in the same category as “freedom of speech is only guaranteed regarding government interference with it” and “The Constitution only requires the right to representation in criminal cases.”

        • America is the values of the people. You and I share similar values regarding hard work, self sufficiency, civic mindedness etc but the vast majority of the electorate will commit very little time to understand the pros and cons of any given issue, are perfectly happy rationalizing unethical behavior from their side while condemning the Theo opponents. My representatives in the state ad federal legislature told me to my face they oppose my every opinion on matters of personal responsibility and equity because they stand for giving people stuff for votes. My opinions and values like so many others like me have been plowed under by the left to such a degree that what I thought were aspirational American values no longer exist. Initially, Trump gave me hope that maybe he could restore those values but has squandered that opportunity. I will not give him another chance.
          Democracy and the America’s creed -that I can recite from memory -are not the same thing. America’s values have been corrupted by far too many self serving interests to be representative of our culture anymore. The only way to get back to those values is for the electorate to have equal skin in the game. Right now only the middle class near the lions share of the burdens (not specifically tax burdens) imposed by the elite at the top and bottom of our society.

      • Thanks, CM! I’m glad I make sense to someone! A lot of the time, with all the ruptures in reality people are creating, I don’t even always make sense to myself. Trying to keep all the conflicting narratives and gaslighting in perspective makes me feel a little crazy.

        There should be debates and serious analysis of the issues the nation is facing. Unfortunately, what is presented as “debates” for the public are just controlled propaganda. I’d like to say it is unethical for Trump to refuse to participate, but the debates are so manufactured and controlled I think it might be even more unethical to agree to participate in them. The moderators in the last 3 or 4 cycles have spent so much time influencing them to support a particular perspective that I think anyone who agrees to play along is only contributing to the destruction of democracy. They don’t serve to inform or educate the population, they only serve to enhance the propaganda campaigns. Participation in unfair fights implies consent to the unfairness, right? At least, that was what was stated when discussing the women who participate in sports with biological men claiming to be women in an earlier post. If that logic is correct, and women agreeing to participate in contests on unfair playing fields with men implies consent to the unfair playing field, then it follows that republican candidates agreeing to participate in debates moderated by democrat activists are consenting to participate on unfair playing fields as well. Fair debates would educate, but unfair debates indoctrinate. There is a huge difference.

  5. I pray the “cultists” on both sides will step aside and the parties will present us with adequate candidates. I would like the opportunity to choose between two good rather than two bad potential presidents. I am tired of having to choose the lesser of two evils.

  6. Instead of constantly bashing Trump, remember that he’s no different than any of the other candidates from either party, except he’s considered an outsider by them. Trump is much of what people portray him as: blustery, crude at times, etc. but as for capability, his record as president speaks for itself.
    As president we enjoyed a robust economy running on all cylinders, historically low unemployment rates for minorities, rising wages, virtually nonexistent inflation, a coherent foreign policy, one that stabilized NATO through increased funding, the Abraham accords, and adversaries such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran refraining from belligerent acts, a secure border, or as secure as he could make it considering virulent democrat opposition to everything he did or wanted to do. His insulating America from inevitable economic world pitfalls was the all-important energy independence, the last time we had that was in the early 50’s.
    Yes, Trump was at times considered bombastic and somewhat toxic in his responses to attacks on him, and he’s said things at times that made me cringe, but I’ll take mean tweets any day for an opportunity to return to his era of peace and prosperity for all.
    Some here insist Trump was and will be a bad president which to me seems like an assessment based solely on emotion. Trump’s inner strength is undeniable. Who else could have withstood the constant barrage of media attacks, accusations, false claims, investigations year after year and not simply given up?
    To elect someone less capable just because he’s perceived as a nice guy, or a nicer guy than Trump is in my mind an irrational act, but this is something that we may very well do in 2024.

    • Ed. Come on. “Instead of constantly bashing Trump, remember that he’s no different than any of the other candidates from either party, except he’s considered an outsider by them.” That’s gaslighting. No President or presidential candidate has ever behaved like he does, say the kind of things he does, and engage in undignified, offensive, gratuitously nasty conduct like he does. He is completely different from any candidate from any party EVER. That’s because such poor character and unethical conduct have not been tolerated and would not be tolerated in the past, and should not be tolerated in the present or future.

      That’s a list of rationalizations. Half of the POTUS job is policy, the other half is symbolism and representing the United States to its citizens and to the world. Both are equally important, and neither functions well without the other. You’re saying one whole said doesn’t matter. Trump is living proof that it does.

      • Sorry Jack, I think you’ve bought into the media narrative of Trump a bit too much. I never said he wouldn’t be a SOB whenever it suited him which in your mind disqualifies him from being president.

        It is or at least should be evident that Trump had a successful foreign policy which is something he couldn’t have achieved without the respect of other world leaders.
        Domestically, all he had was disdain from democrats and their leftist controlled media and he responded in his own way which was at times exactly the way you described him.

        That said, I’ll be voting for whoever the GOP selects for its candidate in 2024, even if it’s Trump. If it is Trump, can you honestly say you’d then vote for biden?

        • Do NOT insult me by using that “bought into the media” crap. My positions and analysis here are never driven by the media, and I was flagging Trump’s miserable character long before the news media stopped treating him as just a fun celebrity. He’s a bad man—unethical, cruel, ruthless, impulsive, untrustworthy. Bad people can be effective leaders, until they’re not, but deliberately giving such people power is risky and reckless. I held my nose and voted for Trump in 2020, but I had no illusions about him, except, perhaps, that he was only as bad as a I thought at the time, when in fact he was worse.

          And the foreign policy myth IS a media-driven narrative, usually used to attack Trump. Nations respond to whoever is President, not because he’s liked or respected, but because the US is the 800 pound gorilla, we give away a lot of money and military support, and they need us more than we need them. Everybody loved Kennedy, but Russia assessed him as weak, and we nearly ended up in a war. Nobody liked Nixon, but nobody wanted to mess with him either—same with Trump. Sometimes the less-admired POTUS’s are feared more, and that can be a plus. I don’t believe Trump’s assholery hurt the US abroad at all…which still doesn’t make him a fit President.

          • We hold two different philosophies Jack, I’m willing to accept Trump for what he is in exchange for results. If someone else should appear that promises to be as capable, I would certainly entertain the thought of supporting and voting for hm. But thus far, I see no such person.

            • But Ed—the “results” are the mess you are seeing now. Biden was only nominated because he presented a “nice” image in comparison to Trump. If Trump had only made a minimum effort, he would not have made permanent foes of the neocons and tweedy conservative set. He comment that he did not regard prisoners of war as much more than failed soldiers would have lost him the support of my dad forever, and alienated many veterans. Trump’s character is why the Democrats control the Senate; its why half the nation would never accept him as a legitimate President, and why the divisions in the nation appear unbridgeable. Sure he fights, but so did Ronald Reagan without being a jerk about it. Lots of other people and institutions have contributed, but Trump has been the catalyst. The economic benefits of Trump could be achieved by many other conservatives without the social maladies Trump inflicts by his leadership style.

              • “ The economic benefits of Trump could be achieved by many other conservatives without the social maladies Trump inflicts by his leadership style.”

                Sure, but the alternative candidates WON’T achieve the economic benefits that Trump did because they get paid not to by donors who prefer to bleed the middle class dry. From “read my lips, no new taxes” Bush to all the neocons agreeing to
                $28 trillion deficits, obviously no conservatives agree that the US economy should work for the American people.

                Republicans spent way to much time bitching about Trump and his politicizes to be believed when they say they care about what the people care about. Republicans spent a lot of time locking people down and throwing people who didn’t want to be injected with experimental drugs out of work. Republicans spend a lot of time arguing for the “merits” of illegal immigration and the benefits of “free trade” while watching all the decent paying jobs drain out of the country, and now no one believes they mean anything they say. Arguments that Trump is rude and mean and crass don’t go very far with people who are watching the value of their money fly down the drain or their jobs disappear or their money fly into the hands of people who didn’t earn it.

                Actions have consequences and reality exists. Republicans need to start acknowledging both, or watch Trump sweep the field. That is just reality.

                • “Arguments that Trump is rude and mean and crass don’t go very far with people who are watching the value of their money fly down the drain or their jobs disappear or their money fly into the hands of people who didn’t earn it.”

                  And that’s why we don’t typically elect 7-11 clerks as Presidents. There is a lot more to national leadership than what the average voter considers important—and Trump’s view of the office is often similar that of a 7-11 clerk. That’s why Democrats do so well by offering free stuff and ignoring the national debt (which Trump rather dramatically and irresponsibly increased as well, just not as irresponsibly as Bush, Obama and Biden). You’ve succinctly described the coarse rationale that brought Trump to power; it’s also brought and almost brought other demagogues and loose cannons to power throughout our history and that of other nations—Huey Long, Bobby Kennedy, Boris Johnson, Bernie Sanders, AOC, some guy in Germany I can’t quite recall. Some are even sincere—I think Trump is. But essentially they succeed by creating a cult, and cult leaders get reckless, careless, and become convinced of their own infallibility and intrinsic. Trump passed that stage before he was elected.

                  • I noticed that Trump increased the deficit. That would be a good point for an opponent to make. Trump did a lot of things I don’t approve of, and if someone else were to address the economic issues and sound like they meant it I would consider voting for them. So far I haven’t heard a single candidate do so.

                    If ignoring economic issues leads to the rise of cult leaders it seems to me that it would be rather important for leaders not to do so.

                    • Pedantic note: let’s always use the debt, not the deficit. The Deficit feeds into the Biden deceit, as in “I reduced the deficit,” meaning that this year we spent a lot more money that we had in the budget, but not as MUCH more as last year, even though last year was far, far too much. Nobody has significantly reduced the debt since Andrew Jackson—it keeps getting bigger and bigger, and eventually, it wrecks the economy. Obama promised to address the debt, and so did Trump. As long as we’re talking about crucial matters none of the pols care about…

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