The demagogue is still very much with us.

What is the most powerful evidence of the failure of public education?

Well that’s easy, it’s the failure of the schools to liberally educate the citizenry. And then what is the evidence for the school’s failure? Again easy — that we have an unenlightened and ignorant group of people representing us in Washington and running the affairs of the country. Is there any more proof needed of the failure of the schools than this?

Today the greatest indictment of the public schools just has to be the fact that Donald Trump is our president. Only an ignorant citizenry could have managed to bring that about.

And Donald Trump himself is the most well known and most recent member of a long line of politicians, the demagogue. One who has been with us for hundreds of years, and well recognized since the time of the Greeks and Romans, if not before.

If you don’t believe me about that, about Trump’s demagoguery, let me run through for you very quickly the methods of the demagogue, methods that are widely recognized, the very methods that brought Trump to power and that so far have kept him in power (and if we’re not careful the same methods that will enable him to win yet again in 2020).

According to our own James Fenimore Cooper, the central feature of demagoguery is persuasion by means of emotions, while shutting down reasoned deliberation and a consideration of fact based alternative points of views, all the time pandering to passion, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than reason. Demagoguery will utilize all or some combination of the following methods. (For the origin of “my” list see the demagoguery article in Wikipedia.)

* Scapegoating,
* Fear mongering,
* Lying,
* Emotional oratory and personal charisma,
* Accusing opponents of weakness and disloyalty,
* Violence and physical intimidation,
* Personal insults and ridicule,
* Vulgarity and outrageous behavior,
* Folksy posturing,
* Gross oversimplification,
* Attacking the news media.

How quickly from this list might you come up with examples of Trump’s demagoguery, illustrating one or more of these methods, during, say, the first 18 months of his presidency? There is but one that I would not apply to Trump himself, and that’s the “folksy posturing.”

Why is that? Well because while a demagogue Trump is also a snob. In that regard he’s always putting people down, for no other reason than to bring himself up. This is also why his vulgarity and outrageous behavior, so much a part of his behavior before being elected president, has since then been somewhat toned down, or at least not seen as much in public because he wants people to think well of him, and to that end he is very preoccupied with his looks, starting with the hair on his head.

But now and turning to the other methods of the demagogue, Trump makes use of all of them, although some much more than others.  Some a lot more than others. Those at the top of his, and my list for him, have to be scapegoating, or blaming others for his own problems, and lying (according to those who follow this sort of thing not a day goes by without Trump ‘s lies, mostly appearing in his Tweets or at the rallies or in his rare interviews and press conferences, and probably also when in the privacy of the Oval Office with his own WH staff.)

The other three most well used methods are accusing his opponents of weakness and disloyalty, personal induced insults and ridicule, and attacking the news media. Sometimes I think his favorite word for his opponents is “weak.” This probably because he never has in his own life showed any particular strength, and probably even thought of himself as weak and he’s getting back at that unpleasant thought about himself by calling his enemies weak. As for his using personal insults and ridicule, there are countless examples, beginning with “crooked Hillary.”

Finally, and perhaps what most concerns him is the so-called liberal and elitist and legitimate press, the Times, the Post, the WSJ (but less) and all the other hundreds of media voices that are always critical of Trump in almost everything he does. The fact of so much of the press being so against him has resulted in Trump’s constantly attacking the media. To get back at them also.

He’s right to do this, in respect to his own survival. Because if the demagogue is to be ultimately defeated it will be the press, and the liberty of expression that the press in our country represents, that brings about Trump’s downfall and defeat. Trump senses this and that’s why almost from the first day of his presidency, no, I take that back, even before that, during the campaign, Trump distinguished between what he called fake news and real news. Fake news being the Times and Post et al. And real news being the few outlets beginning with Fox and friends who do seem to take his side, why? Because there always have to be two sides?…

 

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