The Trump election has been as shocking and disorienting to mainstream opinion as the Brexit vote in the UK last year. Indeed, it is tempting to think there is no “mainstream” any more as the public appears divided into rightwing and leftwing populists and radicals.
One reaction to Trump, and especially his “alt-right” hangers-on like Bannon, has been to demonize them by screaming “fascist” at their populist, authoritarian, white nationalism. The “Muslim ban”, attacks on the media, on the institutions of government, especially the Courts but also parts of the executive branch like the intelligence agencies, all speak to an authoritarian agenda.
Alternatively some seek to normalize Trump and suggest what he’s doing is just a slightly exaggerated version of “normal” politics – all politicians lie, make outrageous claims, denounce their opponents, moan about the media misrepresenting them, etc. The realities of office will soon bring him down to earth and it’ll be more or less business as usual. Continue reading