I spoke to experts on authoritarian rule about Trump’s behavior this week. They say 2020 could be our last free election

 

‘Inevitably, the people who last in the cabinet of an authoritarian leader are people who end up doing his personal-slash-official business, because you can no longer separate the two’

Andrew Feinberg
Washington DC
@AndrewFeinberg

It’s not like we weren’t warned.

Over the course of President Trump’s impeachment trial, Democrats warned the Republican-controlled Senate that acquitting Trump would mean he had successfully stymied most attempts to subject him or his administration to even a modicum of Congressional oversight. They warned that an acquittal would embolden him to finally exert full control over the entirety of the executive branch; norms, customs or guardrails be damned.

That’s exactly what Americans have seen in the days since Senate Republicans (minus Utah’s Mitt Romney) voted to absolve him of responsibility for his attempt to blackmail a foreign government.

According to several people closest to the President, he has internalized the exact lesson that Democrats feared he would, and for some time now has been intent on using the flexibility provided him by his acquittal and a compliant cohort of aides to begin settling scores.

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