in today’s New York Times, Krugman goes there, propelled to that place by Trumpr’s pardon of Arpaio. In a column titled Fascism, American Style, he goes through what it is Arpaio did, and Trump’s pardon of him for “doing his job” (at least according to the President), while in fact failing to do his job to pursue hundreds of cases of sexual crimes, then writes:
Let’s call things by their proper names here. Arpaio is, of course, a white supremacist. But he’s more than that. There’s a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps, while rejecting the rule of law: What Arpaio brought to Maricopa, and what the president of the United States has just endorsed, was fascism, American style.
He reminds us that Trump’s “base” is a distinct minority of Americans. Fifteen years ago Krugman had suggested that what he calls the hard core of angry voters was about 20% of the American population (which would be a little over half of Trump’s current approval), a share he still considers probably accurate, then tells us:
What makes it possible for someone like Trump to attain power and hold it is the acquiescence of people, both voters and politicians, who aren’t white supremacists, who sort-of kind-of believe in the rule of law, but are willing to go along with racists and lawbreakers if it seems to serve their interests.
That of course includes far too many of the Republicans on the Hill. And of course, it is frightening to consider that one in 5 Americans is prepared to deny rights to people of color, seeing them as less than fully human in many cases. It is worth noting that thanks to the election they have come out of the woodwork and from under the rocks where they had lurked in much of the past half century.
After warning us that Trump would not have won without a good share of highly educated whites who still chose to vote for him for whatever reasons (some of which was clearly misogyny), Krugman reminds us of the awesome power of our chief executive officer:
Given the powers we grant to the president, who in some ways is almost like an elected dictator, giving the office to someone likely to abuse that power invites catastrophe. The only real check comes from Congress, which retains the power to impeach; even the potential for impeachment can constrain a bad president. But Republicans control Congress; how many of them besides John McCain have offered full-throated denunciations of the Arpaio pardon?
The lack of such open denunciations clearly will embolden Trump, and perhaps head us into a full-blown constitutional crisis, especially — as Krugman notes — should Trump move to fire Mueller and try to shut down the various investigations, of Russian meddling and of Trump’s personal corruption.
That brings us to Krugman’s final paragraph, which I believe should be read while keeping in mind that Republican leadership on the Hill is apparently now warning Republicans in both chambers not to even talk about the possibillty of impeachment:
As I said, there’s a word for people who round up members of ethnic minorities and send them to concentration camps, or praise such actions. There’s also a word for people who, out of cowardice or self-interest, go along with such abuses: collaborators. How many such collaborators will there be? I’m afraid we’ll soon find out.
It is a pointed column.
I think it is very much worth sharing.
So go read the entire thing and then share it.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.