Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic
a book by David Frum
(our site's book review)
The Amazon blurb says: A New York Times Bestseller!
Bestselling author, former White House speechwriter, and Atlantic columnist and media commentator David Frum explains why President Trump has undermined our most important institutions in ways even the most critical media has missed, in this thoughtful and hard-hitting book that is a warning for democracy and America’s future.
"From Russia to South Africa, from Turkey to the Philippines, from Venezuela to Hungary, authoritarian leaders have smashed restraints on their power. Media freedom and judicial independence have eroded. The right to vote remains, but the right to have one’s vote counted fairly may not. Until the U.S. presidential election of 2016, the global decline of democracy seemed a concern for other peoples in other lands. . . . That complacent optimism has been upended by the political rise of Donald Trump. The crisis is upon Americans, here and now."
Until the US presidential election of 2016, the global decline of democracy seemed a concern for other peoples in other lands, but that complacent optimism has been upended by the political rise of Donald Trump: the crisis is upon Americans, here and now
Quietly, steadily, Trump and his administration are damaging the tenets and accepted practices of American democracy, perhaps irrevocably. As he and his family enrich themselves, the presidency itself falls into the hands of the generals and financiers who surround him.
While much of the country has been focused on Russia, David Frum has been collecting the lies, obfuscations, and flagrant disregard for the traditional limits placed on the office of the presidency. In Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic, he documents how Trump and his administration are steadily damaging the tenets and accepted practices of American democracy. During his own White House tenure as George W. Bush’s speechwriter, Frum witnessed the ways the presidency is limited not by law but by tradition, propriety, and public outcry, all now weakened. Whether the Trump presidency lasts two, four, or eight more years, he has changed the nature of the office for the worse, and likely for decades.
In this powerful and eye-opening book, Frum makes clear that the hard work of recovery starts at home. Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic outlines how Trump could push America toward illiberalism, what the consequences could be for our nation and our everyday lives, and what we can do to prevent it. See The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It, Discarding Democracy: Return to the Iron Fist, Freedom House
Wrecking ball Republicans are coconspiring with Trump to wreck democracy to rig the game so they get even richer—enough of this and our democracy may simply collapse
"One [danger to democracy] is the growing size of the state. The relentless expansion of government is reducing liberty and handing ever more power to special interests. The other comes from government’s habit of making promises that it cannot fulfil, either by creating entitlements it cannot pay for or by waging wars that it cannot win, such as that on drugs. Both voters and governments must be persuaded of the merits of accepting restraints on the state’s natural tendency to overreach. Giving control of monetary policy to independent central banks tamed the rampant inflation of the 1980s, for example. It is time to apply the same principle of limited government to a broader range of policies. Mature democracies, just like nascent ones, require appropriate checks and balances on the power of elected government. . . . But if democracy is to remain as successful in the 21st century as it was in the 20th, it must be both assiduously nurtured when it is young—and carefully maintained when it is mature." (Source: What’s gone wrong with democracy, The Economist)
As Frum sees it, under Trump "The government of the United States seems to have made common cause with the planet’s thugs, crooks, and dictators against its own ideals—and in fact to have imported the spirit of thuggery, crookedness, and dictatorship into the very core of the American state, into the most solemn symbolic oval center of its law and liberty. Trump’s hope was that an unconstrained America could grab more power for itself (and thereby for him). He never understood that America’s power arose not only from its own wealth and its own military force, but from its centrality to a network of friends and allies."
Trump uses real and imagined power along with blunt bullying and lying to force people not his natural allies to line up with him and do his bidding
Trump uses real and imagined power along with blunt bullying and lying to force people not his natural allies to line up with him and do his bidding.
For Trump there is no win-win, he can only win if someone else loses, and he will never share his wins with anyone. See Flat-gradient Nurturance versus Steep-gradient Nurturance to understand the following: "Donald Trump's board game Trump, states 'it's not whether you win or lose, but whether you win!' which is a way of saying that there is no intrinsic joy in doing or playing anything, there's only real joy if you kick someone's ass. This win-lose context is a perfect example of the hollowness of most steep-gradient-nurturance-raised people, who are run by oedipal and sibling rivalry emotions that drive them to succeed by climbing over the corpses of rivals, and in the process completely missing the point to life." See It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.
Putting America first, which Trump claims to do, is not about using the demagogic tactics of the authoritarians, totalitarians and fascists of the first half of the 20th Century, which he does because he respects raw power and strongmen but not American democracy. It is not about being a liar and telling your core supporters that all news against Der Führer is 'fake news.' It is not lying about lying and lying as a normal practice. In our current circumstances, putting America first is about successfully blocking our president's merciless assault on our democracy, our media, our values, and truth itself.
The Trump presidency was the death of truth itself
- Welcome to the Revolution: Universalizing Resistance for Social Justice and Democracy in Perilous Times
- Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt
- 8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the U.S. Crushed Youth Resistance
- Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World
If you love this country, resist, and never ever give up!
The new ayatollah of the alt-right and white supremacists: the Ayatollah Trumpowski
- The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy
- No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need
- It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America
- One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported
- Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump
- Demagoguery and Democracy
- The Coup D'état Against President Donald J. Trump
Trump believes that reality is something that can be bent into any shape you choose (like balloon animals) provided that you have enough power
"Frum thinks the combination of Trump’s drive for self-aggrandizement and America’s current weaknesses is nothing less than a threat to the democratic order. 'The thing to fear from the Trump presidency is not the bold overthrow of the Constitution, but the stealthy paralysis of governance; not the open defiance of law, but an accumulating subversion of norms; not the deployment of state power to intimidate dissidents, but the incitement of private violence to radicalize supporters.' [What Trump wants to do with the power of the president is] the aggrandizement of one domineering man and his shamelessly grasping extended family. . . . The immediate task facing the American republic is to limit the damage that Trump can cause: Here the checks and balances are already playing the role that the founders intended. But the bigger task is to eliminate the weaknesses that have produced Trumpism." (Source: A Conservative’s Case Against Donald Trump, Adrian Wooldridge, NY Times)
What Trump wants to do with the power of the president is self-aggrandizement
"His attributions are meticulous, his footnotes are extensive, his willingness to call out deviations from his conservative brethren is commendable.
"Therein lies the power and credibility of Frum’s conclusions. They are supported by verifiable facts, grounded in historical context, devoid of ideological hue. A senior editor at the Atlantic, he is a former special assistant and speechwriter for President George W. Bush and an alumnus of right-of-center think tanks.
"Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic is a must-read for Americans who are in denial about the threat to democracy posed by a president absorbed in narcissism and recklessly indifferent to the institutions and norms of ethics and propriety that have sustained the great American experiment for 2½ centuries."
Frum does not attempt to psychoanalyze Trump, but the author pointedly identifies his shortcomings, especially his one-way view of loyalty. It helps explain why the Trump White House has been beset by so many leaks, a sense of betrayal that is underscored by the biting anecdotes of the Wolff book. [Note: Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is filled with insults, intrigue, backstabbing and dysfunction—like soap operas are.]
“Everyone who entered the Trump administration for nonselfish motives would sooner or later find himself or herself betrayed by a president who demanded loyalty in its most servile form, but who never returned it,” Frum writes." (Source: ‘Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic,’ by David Frum, John Diaz, The San Francisco Chronicle)
Trump's petty tweet-storms are ego driven, impulsive, and often childish
"Presidents usually experience declining influence (as the honeymoon ends) and improved effectiveness (as they learn the job), he explains. But Trump’s lack of preparation, his “brutalistic campaign,” his petty tweeting and his inability to attract top talent all make him an exception. There was no honeymoon and precious little on-the-job training for a president who does not care to learn what he does not know. Even Trump’s supposed dealmaking was unsuited to his new gig. . . . 'Trump is among the beneficiaries of modern America’s silent plutocratic system of redistribution upward,' [David Cay] Johnston [author of It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America] concludes, and he is governing accordingly. . . . Journalists continue to hold his administration accountable, even if Congress does not." (Source: American democracy is on a break. Welcome to 'Trumpocracy.', Carlos Lozada, Washington Post)
Trump won't necessarily topple our democracy in one violent move . . .
. . . it is easier to chip away at the structures of government like a cement-eating termite
Frum presents his case against Trump, his worldview, his associates, his supporters, his enablers, his funders and his publicists in this book. The book is a dark portent of the future as well as a dire warning that despotism doesn't necessarily begin with a violent stroke. Sometimes it just sneaks in and begins rotting and undermining the foundations of democracy, truth, fairness, and politics. This is the case with Trump, who has chipped away at the government one blow at a time, and perhaps all this foundational damage will eventually cause a disastrous collapse as the undermined republic topples and we all state that we didn't see it coming. But we did, as dozens of ebooks testify unequivocally. We DID see it coming! Also see How Donald Trump turned the United States into a headless giant.
Think of Frum as a trumpeter sounding a call to action with this book
"'Trumpocracy as a system of power rests not on deregulation but on nonregulation, not on deconstructing the state but on breaking the state in order to plunder the state,' Frum asserts from the onset. . . . Frum argues the president’s prerogative is dismantling American institutions to enrich himself and his family. Trumpocracy threatens liberal democracy and American empire. To ardent leaders of the neoconservative movement like Frum, the empire is a vehicle to spread democratic ideals; its collapse is not just a national crisis, but also a global catastrophe. . . . The Trump era has further blurred the line between reality and fallacy, along with political affiliations. When neoconservatism’s values merge with progressivism, history is rewritten to romanticize regimes of atrocity. Trumpocracy is the empire naked, stripped from neoconservatism’s noble rhetoric, exposing our own hypocrisy in welcoming solutions from men like Frum." [It's not as though the Clintons, Dubya, and Obama didn't use their positions to enrich themselves. But they were a bit subtle—not blatant like Trump.] (Source: David Frum rewrites the narrative of American empire (and himself) in 'Trumpocracy', Davis Richardson, Washington Examiner)
In the Trumpocracy, Trump wants you to respect his authoritah
Having looked at what Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic says about Trump, and what Davis Richardson says Frum is really all about, we cannot help but feel we're watching an episode of Fox and Friends on the Fox News Network. Frum's book is good and it is wonderful to see a conservative break ranks with the Trumpsters (which, interestingly, rhymes with dumpsters) and tell the common man the truth about the scam that is the Trumpocracy circus. Having said that, is it not now time to look at the Big Lie Frum swallowed hook, line, and sinker?
The Trumpocracy circus furnishes bread and circuses to distract us from the nonrich robbery he supports while the warmongering neocon empire building proceeds apace
Frum's book is good and it is wonderful to see a conservative break ranks with the Trumpsters (which, interestingly, rhymes with dumpsters) and tell the common man the truth about the scam that is the Trumpocracy circus
Frum has been a co-conspiritor with the warmongering neocon empire builders for many years and during all of their tragic reign he kept drinking the Kool-Aid (and the neocons kept up the empire building violence, cleverly disguised as a "war on terror"). The mainstream media kept publishing the CIA memos that contained the propaganda the shadow government wanted them to publish, and Frum—not realizing the truths about U.S. propaganda even to the degree of failing to realize that it exists—bought it lock, stock, and barrel.
Frum has been a co-conspiritor with the warmongering neocon empire builders for many years and during all of their tragic reign he kept drinking the Kool-Aid
As Davis Richardson says, "To ardent leaders of the neoconservative movement like Frum, the empire is a vehicle to spread democratic ideals; its collapse is not just a national crisis, but also a global catastrophe." Frum either did not know the real truth or he did and supported the imperialistic murdering regardless. Either one of these is seriously damning to Frum, since it is terribly irresponsible to support something you don't even understand, and it is terribly irresponsible to support something you DO understand that has such a disastrous record of murder, torture, human rights abuses and war crimes. By the way, not only did the empire builders NOT spread democratic ideals, they replaced democracy and freedom with the tyranny of exploitation and rule by greedy dictators wherever they could, since this gave the best profitability to our corporatocracy, all the while spreading death, impoverishment, misery, maiming, pollution and greedy exploitation wherever they went.
When the corporatocracy prevails, democracy takes it on the chin