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:
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.
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.
Photo by Julius Drost, Unsplash.