Notes on Creeping Authoritarianism: A party can only control 2 branches of government

Hi Joel,

I think we need a new regular series in which we observe the creeping authoritarianism of the Republican party and citizens’ acquiescence to it.

I’ll go first.

Saturday’s tweet from Trump regarding DACA. In it, Trump argues that Republicans have done more to fix DACA than have Democrats. His evidence is that the Democrats had all three branches of government from 2008-2011 and didn’t do anything about DACA.

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 11.08.14 AM

Like, every word here is a lie, the most obvious being that Bush was the president in 20018 and that DACA didn’t exist until Obama.

But what really jumps out at me isn’t Trump’s ignorance of recent electoral history.

Where I see the creeping fascism is in Trump’s claim that the Democrats controlled all three branches of government: the executive, Congress, and the judicial branch.

The judicial branch is independent of political party. While federal judges are appointed by politicians, they are supposed to be independent of party. At the Supreme Court level, this has proven to be basically true in practice. Indeed, Republican-appointed SCOTUS Justices are particularly (and, for Republicans, often frustratingly) immune from influence by their parties.

What does it mean that Trump made this mistake?

On the one hand, it’s entirely plausible that he doesn’t understand how government works. He certainly doesn’t understand how the economy or businesses or marriages or the White House works. He certainly couldn’t pass a citizenship test, and I doubt he could pass 8th grade civics even if he took the course again.

On the other hand…

Republicans who love liberty need to vote against this man and all those who will try to ride his coattails.


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