Authoritarian sounds less inflammatory than “Nazi” or “fascist,” but when we hear this word we know exactly where it’s coming from and what it means.
Hitler is old school Democratic politics
Our politics doesn’t reward subtlety. Steve Cohen (D-TN) compared the Charlottesville protests to Kristallnacht.1 When speaking of ICE detainees Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) told us:
As the child of parents whose families found refuge in America from the terrors of Nazi Germany, I strongly believe Donald Trump’s cruel and callous treatment of human beings seeking asylum flies in the face of America’s core humanitarian values,” Wyden said.2
Symbols used for shock value eventually lose their power, so now Democrats want us to fear a Trump authoritarian government. It sounds more contemporary than repeatedly bringing up Hitler. The problem is they don’t see that their party’s plans for a totalitarian regime aren’t much different because they are too busy throwing autocratic barbs at the president.
Authoritarian Trump and his buddies?
After Trump’s one on one with Vladimir Putin Texas Democratic Lloyd Doggett claimed:
the one person he [Trump] routinely praises is a ruthless dictator. Vladimir Putin, who poisons his enemies, invades Ukraine, facilitates war crimes in Syria, and disrupts democracies. Perhaps more shocking than Trump’s weakness is the deafening silence of his Republican enablers in Congress.3
Ukraine, Syria, North Korea, and Russia were weaknesses on Obama’s watch that were dumped on Trump, but it hardly matters. This isn’t about quelling international tensions or finding a solution to Russian aggression. It’s about lumping the president together with the villains Doggett calls Trump’s “autocratic buddies.”4
Charging Trump with authoritarian rule is de rigueur thinking in contemporary liberal circles. When the president fired FBI Director Comey we heard this:
[Congressman Seth] Moulton: “It’s no secret what’s going on here — just look at any autocratic regime across the world.”5
His budget didn’t fare much better with a grandiloquent Jerrold Nadler (D-NY):
It’s time to wake up to the malignant lies of the Trump Administration before he turns this country into an autocratic state that sacrifices the health, safety, and security of American families in favor of an agenda fueled by nationalist propaganda.6
What Nadler said doesn’t make much sense. His party can be accused of the same thing, albeit fueled by progressive propaganda.
What we are offered in exchange for authoritarian Trump is Democratic totalitarianism. Democrats want obedience to the government in exchange for a lifestyle chosen by a pack of liberal bullies.
Totalitarian Democrats are not your friends
Time-honored Democratic thinking holds that accumulating too much wealth makes you an enemy of the people. The wealthy and corporations are behind everything wrong with America, whether it’s Trump’s new pick for the Supreme Court or the Republican tax bill.
A Better Deal for the people
Like the Republican Better Way, Democrats have their Better Deal.
Changing the label on the same bad ideas doesn’t make them better.
More jobs and higher wages are the best arguments for Democratic totalitarianism you are going to hear this year even if they are hollow and false. The loss of jobs during Obama’s Great Recession was such a boon to the party that members will never let it go even though the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2008. Weekly and hourly earnings are also the highest they have been since 2008.
No matter. The jobs aren’t good enough and wages aren’t high enough.
The cost to employers for creating and maintaining these jobs and providing benefits like Obamacare is also up.7 Despite what Democrats want you to believe, most employers are not huge corporations sucking the life out of working families. 99.7% of employer firms are small businesses8 that will struggle under the weight of regulation that will be part of any Democratic totalitarian package. The more the party fashions its values from social trends the more businesses should worry what they will have to cope with if the party gets the upper hand.
What does Democratic totalitarianism look like?
It starts with a simple premise: Americans have the right to be given things for free because a few people make too much money.
It sounds stupid, unfair, and unreasonable. That doesn’t mean it won’t fly with voters who prefer that government takes on the responsibility for managing their lives.
The giveaway list is basic progressive politics on steroids because of Trump.
National, single payer health care (“Medicare for All”)
This is the real deal, not a sham substitute like the Affordable Care Act. Government, not doctors will decide what’s affordable as soon as the politicians behind this scheme realize they can’t pay for it.
Icing on the cake: you can bet undocumented immigrants will qualify. Politicians in California, where many of our worst, most irresponsible ideas come from, are panting to get illegals on state health care rolls. If Democrats are ever in a position to turn an idea like national single payer health care into law, everyone above ground will qualify.
Free higher education
The Aim Higher Act was unveiled on July 24, 2018 to bring
“every student an opportunity to earn a debt-free degree that leads to a rewarding career.”9
The bill seeks to cut costs and make financial aid cheaper and easier to come by.
It’s something Democrats and the GOP might be able to negotiate, unlike the College for All Act which gives college away, punishes wealth, and is another shining example of progressive totalitarianism:
The estimated $600 billion cost of the legislation would be paid for by a separate bill to tax Wall Street speculation.10
Stop laughing. The bill was introduced by extremist Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Socialist Bernie Sanders. With the rise of Democratic Socialism in the U.S. there is nothing far-fetched about passing this or similar legislation. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.
When anyone who asks gets free college we will devalue the worth of a degree and establish a two-tier higher education system. People with more money who pay for private schools will stand out and get those rewarding careers Democrats promise which will open the door wide to left-wing social engineering.
Higher education is about competition, not guaranteed access to an upper middle-class or any income, for that matter.
Since the goal is a giveaway society there are plans for that, too.
Remember Obama’s plan to top off salaries of workers who lost out during the recession and were reemployed at lower wages? Now, with historically low unemployment we have “The Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act of 2018.”
H.R. 6467 and its Senate counterpart S. 2746 establish a test program to match people with jobs.
Jobs created through the program will include a minimum wage phased to $15/hour, paid family and sick leave, and health coverage like that enjoyed by Members of Congress. The bill also expands the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to incentivize private employers to recruit and hire participants out of the pilot program.11
In short, the government will pay employers to compensate people who can’t find work at 4% unemployment at wages higher than what the market will bear for those who are not employable.
The good news is that if the bill ever passes Democrats get to trade votes for their benchmark $30,000 guaranteed standard of living financed by taxpayers and businesses.
The bad news is that the job market isn’t stupid and neither are employers. The tax credits will have to be enormous for businesses to bear the cost of training workers and paying an income more than double the current federal minimum wage.
Business is about profit, not benevolence.
In a nutshell, Democratic totalitarianism is a cleverly disguised bailout package and a roadmap for dependence. We already know that the most important part of this package is that the people it is supposed to benefit never get ahead. If they do they will need Republicans like Trump, not Democrats.
The economic consequences of A Better Deal and other progressive fantasies will ensure what the left is threatening: higher costs, job loss, anger and resentment from the middle and working classes which will again be blamed on higher earners not paying enough in taxes.
Not my revolution, thanks
Our Revolution is a progressive organization that hits all the right notes for those backing Democratic totalitarianism. The organization endorses a wide range of political candidates including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Liuba Grechen, and New York gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon.
The first item on the issues list: more money.12
This is the hopeful new face of progressivism: higher taxes, universal childcare, union empowerment, free tuition, enhanced Social Security, Medicare for All, paid family leave, $15.00 minimum wage, job creation, and busting up big banks.13
Forcing Americans to pay the tab for this agenda to keep extremist politicians entrenched is what Democratic totalitarianism is all about.
Why authoritarian Trump is the better option
When a president oversteps his or her bounds there is always impeachment. Democrats figured that out on January 20, 2017. When a political party takes over the legislature and the Oval Office there’s not a lot we can do until the next election. That’s what happened with Barack Obama and why we have a national health care system we can’t afford that doesn’t cover everyone Democrats claimed it would cover.
Whether or not Trump is an authoritarian depends on your politics. One way or the other the people have an option we don’t have with an entrenched Democratic Party.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus sums up the problem with its progressive promise:
It also embodies national priorities that are consistent with the values, needs, and hopes of all our people, not just the powerful and the privileged.14
What the promise should guarantee is national priorities dictated by powerful and privileged left wing politicians, not the people. Convincing the people to believe that this is what they want is how Democratic totalitarianism gets underway.
UPDATE July 27, 2018: jobs are bad news
We found out today that the economy grew at the rate of 4.1% in the second quarter of 2018. Couple that with a 4.0% unemployment rate and there isn’t a lot to complain about unless you need reality to match your suspicious agenda.
Don’t expect any applause from Democrats who need the economy to fail. Bobby Scott (D-VA) had already expressed his disappointment at June’s jobs report:
Six months after Republicans spent nearly $2 trillion on a tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, the benefits they promised to workers have not materialized. The mirage of one-time bonuses has given way to the realization that many workers are still not getting a fair return on their work. Rather than pursuing another failed experiment in trickle-down economics, we should be setting policies that are proven to improve the quality of life for workers and their families.15
Does he mean more policies that create things like economic growth and more jobs, or policies that make workers and their families dependent on the state for their standard of living?
No doubt there will be unhappiness that the economy is surging ahead. We’ll share the remarks when Democrats regroup and commence their whining.
UPDATE November 18, 2019: Democrats don’t see totalitarianism in their actions
Last summer Democrats were incensed when the president planned a military celebration for the Fourth of July. Virginia Rep. Don Beyer blasted the “authoritarian-style marshal display.”16 Did he forget about America’s struggle for independence and how we got to where we are now? It wasn’t by being nice to those who sought to oppress us.
A few tanks on the streets of the capital can’t hold an authoritarian candle to the totalitarianism endorsed by Beyer’s party. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s remarks on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall seethe with hypocrisy, considering what his party is up to now:
His [President John F. Kennedy’s] powerful words chipped like figurative hammers against the system of totalitarian Communism, which cast a shadow of fear and repression across Eastern and Central Europe and much of the world. Thirty years ago today, literal hammers in the hands of ordinary Germans, yearning for freedom and to choose their own future, tore down the wall that stood as a symbol of that evil system.17
Nancy Pelosi echoed those remarks ten years earlier:
Twenty years later, leaders in the United States and around the world must continue to work to tear down the walls of injustice and barriers to freedom that still exist.18
As you read this those barriers to freedom are being constructed right here in America. Democrats seek to overthrow a president who they know is our best bet to stop the extremist elements in Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s party that are determined to enforce a socialist agenda on the nation.
Say what you will about Donald Trump, he is not a totalitarian threat. Democrats are. They seek to control every element of our lives from health care to how much of our incomes are fair to keep and how much must go to fund their base’s liberal demands. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has gone so far as to propose an exit tax for Americans who seek to escape the country if she becomes president. That sounds a lot like a prison and not the free society we fought so hard to build.
Unlike the Berlin Wall, America has always enjoyed our own wall of freedom against far left totalitarianism. This wall is being torn down by extremist politicians who extend their hands and offer to trade that freedom for loyalty to the Democratic Party and what it stands for.
Trump stands in the way, so Democrats are tearing him down first.
UPDATE November 29, 2019: weaponizing money guilt is a prelude to totalitarianism
A lot has been said about Donald Trump over the past few weeks. Much of it is bad. The one thing we haven’t heard is that Trump plans to do the things that totalitarian Democrats are promising.
Democrats are totalitarian monsters. They make campaign and media appearances with smiles and extended hands. They tell us with a straight face what they plan to do. Americans eager for subservience are duped into signing up.
Money guilt has been used against Americans for longer than many of us have been on this earth. We shouldn’t be surprised when it manifests as policy proposals, campaign talking points, and the never ending push for Trump’s tax returns to support a conclusion about wealth that the party reached long ago.
What’s different now is that Democrats have weaponized money guilt. California Rep. Jimmy Gomez’s house version of Bernie Sanders’ For the 99.8 Percent Act is another strong signal to America that we need to put the brakes on Democratic Party totalitarianism before it goes too far. Money guilt is the calling card for totalitarian liberals. Nothing satisfies an angry left-wing mob like promising to seize the accumulated wealth of hard working Americans. That’s what a recent press release from Gomez promises when it quotes Bernie Sanders, who compared wealthy Americans to robber barons and stated:
The richest 400 billionaires pay lower taxes than everyone else. In my view, this obscene inequality in wealth and political power is not compatible with a democratic society. I am proud that Representative Gomez is leading three dozen members of the House in introducing the For The 99.8% Act to tax today’s dynasty trusts and curb their power, while raising trillions of dollars for the essential programs we need as a country.19
Since many Democrats are also obscenely wealthy compared to their base, we can rest assured that political power is really what’s in play.
Sanders and his colleagues like to talk about a democratic society. They pat themselves on the back for defending American democracy, but they shamelessly reveal what they really believe when they target groups of Americans and declare them enemies of the people.
On his House website Rep. Gomez cites an article from Common Dreams that discusses his bill and going after “Trust Fund Babies.”20 Ironically, his party argues that these individuals have little or no right to the wealth they inherit because they didn’t work for it, but
Democrats support generous handouts and become angry at the thought of welfare for work laws.
Declaring Americans enemies of the people at birth has nothing to do with a free, democratic society. It certainly isn’t about the America we know. This is a prelude to totalitarianism. It’s what Democrats are selling for 2020.
UPDATE December 20, 2019: Blackshirts? Totalitarian Democrats’ reckless nod to history.
It’s not the first time they’ve done it. Select Democrats wore black when they attended Donald Trump’s 2018 SOTU. As Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) observed, this was in support of the #MeToo movement and a protest against sexual assault and harassment.21
Using that protest against Trump faded after the Russia investigation went full bore. The black attire came out again on Wednesday for the world to see, but crimes against women were off the table. This time it was about high crimes and misdemeanors committed against America, or at least that’s what Democrats begged the country to believe.
Whether this was a grim confirmation of the obligation Pelosi’s party repeatedly told us they were duty bound to carry out, or a blackly comic nod to their self-assigned role as Trump presidency executioners-in-chief, Pelosi and company’s black wardrobes recall another chapter in history Democrats should shy away from.
If you recall your high school history, Blackshirts were the paramilitary wing of the Italian Fascists under Mussolini. Do I believe Nancy Pelosi took this historical reference into account before she took up the gavel and Democrats took the next step towards disenfranchising 63 million Americans? No, but I do think that their reckless disregard for what a black shirt in politics can represent is a perfect example of the equally reckless disregard for this nation that the Democratic Party has shown through its impeachment shenanigans.
If you don’t agree, ask yourself: what would the response be if Donald Trump wore a black shirt to the State of the Union?
UPDATE February 18, 2020: is totalitarianism environmentally friendly?
The Nevada caucuses loom after a primary victory in New Hampshire and a near miss in Iowa by a socialist candidate. That’s a tough one to explain for a Democratic Party that spent the past few years vowing to defend our democracy. Democratic Socialists claim we can have it both ways with an economy based on socialism and a political system that remains the founders’ legacy that Democrats used as an excuse to impeach our president.
Do primary voters understand what they are getting into when they cast a ballot for Sanders? If you believe socialism and American democracy can co-exist, you aren’t paying attention to what he says about the climate crisis:
In July, Senator Sanders introduced a Senate resolution to declare that the climate emergency facing the planet demands a “national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States.22
How do you accomplish all of these things without demanding submission to the state? We can’t and we don’t have time to consider the consequences, either. In a joint release with far left House members Earl Blumenauer and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders warns:
The time is now for Congress to declare a climate emergency and swiftly mobilize federal resources in response to protect the interests of our nation and its people.23
Political might is the solution:
The issue before us is not that we cannot address this problem—it is a lack of political will.24
The country must be transformed and all it takes is a majority on the Hill to do it:
What we need is Congressional leadership to stand up to them and begin a process of transformation.25
What will remain if the government flexes its political muscle to mobilize and transform every facet of our society to align with the far left’s agenda? We can only hope we still have the right to vote by whatever environmentally friendly system is put in place. If it takes too much energy to drive to a polling place or use our computers to vote we’ll have to transform our elections, too. In the end it won’t matter much. If this ever gets started we’ll only have one choice and it will be for green, environmentally-friendly totalitarian government.
UPDATE March 21, 2020: Democrat suggests Trump “autocratic tendencies” while totalitarian state shutdowns continue
New York Senator Charles Schumer’s state is under lockdown by the order of a Democratic Party governor. The Democratic mayor of the nation’s largest city requested this measure days before it was set in stone. Just before states ruled by Democrats began enforcing draconian and some would say totalitarian restrictions on the freedom of their residents, Schumer took a swipe at our Republican president:
As other steps are considered, the president must not overstep his authority or indulge his autocratic tendencies for purposes not truly related to this public health crisis.”26
Trump has not imposed a national shutdown, or at least not yet. The actions of Democratic public officials who are waiting for huge cash infusions from Washington cannot be judged until this is over, but one thing is certain. This kind of partisan criticism while everyone tackles a problem the nation has never dealt with before is unhelpful, damaging, and dangerous. It’s what Schumer does best, but it’s time for him to shut up and remember what they say about glass houses.
Footnotes and photo
1. “Ranking Member Cohen to Introduce Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald Trump After Comments on Charlottesville.” Steve Cohen. August 17, 2017. https://cohen.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/ranking-member-cohen-introduce-articles-impeachment-against-president, retrieved July 23, 2018.
2. “Merkley, Wyden, Bonamici, Blumenauer Visit ICE Detainees in Oregon Federal Prison.” Suzanne Bonamici. June 18, 2018. https://bonamici.house.gov/media/press-releases/merkley-wyden-bonamici-blumenauer-visit-ice-detainees-oregon-federal-prison, retrieved July 23, 2018.
3. “Trump-Putin Summit: “In the struggle to preserve the free world, Trump proudly yields right of way to the oppressor.” Lloyd Doggett. July 16, 2018. https://doggett.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/trump-putin-summit-struggle-preserve-free-world-trump-proudly-yields, retrieved July 23, 2018.
5. “Moulton Statement on President Trump’s Firing of FBI Director Comey.” Seth Moulton. May 10, 2017. https://moulton.house.gov/6th-district/moulton-statement-president-trumps-firing-fbi-director-comey/, retrieved July 23, 2018.
6. “Congressman Nadler Blasts Trump Budget as “Absurd.” Jerrold Nadler. March 16, 2017. https://nadler.house.gov/press-release/congressman-nadler-blasts-trump-budget-absurd, retrieved July 23, 2018.
7. “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation – March 2018.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. June 8, 2018. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf, retrieved July 25, 2018.
8. “Frequently Asked Questions.” SBA Office of Advocacy. https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf, retrieved July 25, 2018.
9. “All 17 Committee Democrats Unveil Debt-Free College Plan.” Education & the Workforce Committee Democrats. July 24, 2018. https://democrats-edworkforce.house.gov/media/press-releases/all-17-committee-democrats-unveil-debt-free-college-plan, retrieved July 26, 2018.
10. “Jayapal and Sanders Introduce College for All Act.” Pramila Jayapal. April 3, 2017. https://jayapal.house.gov/media/press-releases/jayapal-and-sanders-introduce-college-all-act, retrieved July 26, 2018.
11. “Watson Coleman, Khanna Focus on Jobless Workers with New Bills.” Bonnie Watson Coleman. July 24, 2018. https://watsoncoleman.house.gov/newsroom/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=482, retrieved July 25, 2018.
12. “Income and Wealth Inequality.” Our Revolution. https://ourrevolution.com/issues/, retrieved July 26, 2018.
14. “Congressional Progressive Caucus.” The Progressive Promise. https://cpc-grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=63§iontree=2,63, retrieved July 23, 2018.
15. “Scott Statement on June Jobs Report.” Scott Statement on June Jobs Report. July 6, 2018. https://democrats-edworkforce.house.gov/media/press-releases/07/06/2018/scott-statement-on-june-jobs-report, retrieved July 27, 2018.
16. “Beyer Calls On Trump To Personally Reimburse Taxpayers For Any Damage To Local Infrastructure At July 4th Event.” Don Beyer. July 2, 2019. https://beyer.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=4456, retrieved November 18, 2019.
17. “Hoyer Statement on the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. November 9, 2019. https://democraticwhip.house.gov/content/hoyer-statement-30th-anniversary-fall-berlin-wall, retrieved November 18, 2019.
18. “Pelosi Statement on 20th Anniversary of Fall of Berlin Wall.” Nancy Pelosi. Speaker of the House. November 9, 2009. https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/pelosi-statement-20th-anniversary-fall-berlin-wall, retrieved November 18, 2019.
19. “Rep. Gomez Introduces the For the 99.8% Act to Address America’s Wealth Gap.” Jimmy Gomez. October 25, 2019. https://gomez.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=1783, retrieved November 29, 2019.
20. “Common Dreams: House Dems Take Aim at ‘Trust Fund Babies’ With Estate Tax Designed to Combat Obscene Wealth Inequality.” Jimmy Gomez. October 25, 2019. https://gomez.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=1788, retrieved November 29, 2019.
21. “Menendez to Recognize #MeToo Movement at SOTU; Announces Anti-Sexual Assault Advocate as SOTU Guest.” Bob Menendez. January 26, 2018. https://www.menendez.senate.gov/news-and-events/press/menendez-to-recognize-metoo-movement-at-sotu-announces-anti-sexual-assault-advocate-as-sotu-guest, retrieved December 20, 2019.
22. “Sanders Office Holds Roundtable with Vermonters on Agriculture and the Green New Deal.” Bernie Sanders. October 10, 2019. https://www.sanders.senate.gov/vermont/sanders-office-holds-roundtable-with-vermonters-on-agriculture-and-the-green-new-deal, retrieved February 18, 2020.
23. “Blumenauer, Ocasio-Cortez, and Sanders Introduce Resolution to Declare the Climate Crisis a National Emergency.” U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer. July 9, 2019. https://blumenauer.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/blumenauer-ocasio-cortez-and-sanders-introduce-resolution-declare, retrieved February 18, 2020.
26. “Schumer Statement On President Trump Declaring Coronavirus a National Emergency.” Senate Democrats. March 13, 2020. https://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/schumer-statement-on-president-trump-declaring-coronavirus-a-national-emergency, retrieved March 17, 2020.
Photo by Julius Drost, Unsplash.