In January 2016, political scientist Matthew MacWilliams said:
Trump’s electoral strength — and his staying power — have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations
This assertion was backed up by an online poll of 1,800 Americans, which found that a belief in obedience to authority was the only “statistically significant variable” that helped to predict support for Trump.
On 5 July, voters got a taste of what Trump would be prepared to do as president. Praising former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, he said:
you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights, they didn’t talk. They were a terrorist – it was over.
In other words, the rule of law matters very little for Donald Trump. Whoever is deemed to be a terrorist (or in the case of Hussein, read ‘opponent’) is immediately imprisoned or killed. Many innocent Iraqis bore testament to such hard-line rule.
One example of his lack of respect for due process was in 1989, when he launched an ad campaign urging the rapid execution of five African-Americans who had been falsely accused of a rape in New York.
The billionaire’s policies have also betrayed his authoritarian tendencies. For example, he has:
- Promised to “open up” libel laws which would make it easier for rich individuals or government officials to protect themselves from media scrutiny.
- Praised the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War.
- Called for parts of the internet to be shut down.
- Promised to deport US citizens whose parents came to the USA illegally.
- Called repeatedly for the use of more torture by the US government.
Does America really want that?