I take the following from a recent cover article in the Economist Magazine, The corrupting of democracy. The writer is speaking of Hungary, and Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.
Take Hungary, where Fidesz, the ruling party, has used its parliamentary majority to capture regulators, dominate business, control the courts, buy the media and manipulate the rules for elections. The prime minister, Viktor Orban, does not have to break the law, because he can get parliament to change it instead. He does not need secret police to take his enemies away in the night. They can be cut down to size without violence, by the tame press or the taxman. In form, Hungary is a thriving democracy; in spirit, it is a one-party state.
While speaking of the Hungarian pirme minister, Victor Orban, the Ecoomist writer might have been speaking of Donald Trump:
At the heart of the degradation of Hungarian democracy is cynicism. After the head of a socialist government popularly seen as corrupt admitted that he had lied to the electorate in 2006, voters learned to assume the worst of their politicians. Orban-Trump has enthusiastically exploited this tendency.
This political theatre, of which, if of nothing else, Orban-Trump is a master, is designed to be a distraction from their real purpose, which is the artful manipulation of obscure rules and institutions to guarantee their hold on power.
Rather than appeal to his compatriots’ better nature, Orban-Trump sows division, stokes resentment and exploits their prejudices, especially over immigration.
Now we see this sort of political theatre happening here, almost on a daily basis.
I take what follows from the NYTimes of August 28:
President Trump’s signature campaign promise to build a wall along the southwestern border is far behind schedule. So he has told his aides to get the job done by whatever means necessary, including by seizing land on the Mexican frontier. The president has repeatedly suggested during meetings on immigration policy that aides “take the land” and “get it done,” according to a person who has heard him say it. The Washington Post first reported that Mr. Trump had brought up the land seizures and had floated the idea of offering pardons to aides willing to break the law, a suggestion he has made previously when exploring ways to fulfill his campaign promises.
And our president, Donald Trump takes this sort of irresponsible behavior ever further than Victor Orban, who has not, I believe kowtowed to Vladimir Putin. In the Business Insider of August 30, 2019 we read:
- Current and former spies are floored by President Donald Trump’s fervent defense of Russia at this year’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
- President Trump Is Either A ‘Russian Asset’ Or A ‘Useful Idiot’ For Putin
- At the summit, Trump aggressively lobbied for Russia to be readmitted into the G7, refused to hold it accountable for violating international law, blamed former President Barack Obama for Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and expressed sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- One former senior Justice Department official, who worked closely with the former special counsel Robert Mueller when he was the FBI director, told Insider Trump’s behavior was “directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office.”
- A former CIA operative told Insider the evidence is “overwhelming” that Trump is a Russian agent, but another CIA and NSA veteran said it was more likely Trump was currying favor with Putin for future business deals.
- Meanwhile, a recently retired FBI special agent told Insider that Trump’s freewheeling and often unfounded statements make it more likely that he’s a “useful idiot” for the Russians. But “it would not surprise me in the least if the Russians had at least one asset in Trump’s inner circle.”
The Economist writer does go on to say that the old-established polities of the United States and Britain are not about to become one-party states, but they are already showing signs of decay. Once the rot sets in, it is formidably hard to stop. So yes, it is happening here , the “rot” that Trump has brought with him to the Oval Office..