- Americans have run out of time to stop President Donald Trump's authoritarian decline, experts warned.
- "There must be mass protests," a professor of Yale philosophy and an expert on fascism told Insider. "The Republican Party betrays democracy, and these are historical times. Someone has to push back."
- Since he was acquitted in the GOP-controlled Senate earlier this month, the president has overseen the purge of the White House witnesses and the attorney general has intervened in the trial of a Trump official.
- The Republicans largely sat back, and at least one senator admitted that Trump's behavior did not appear to have changed following the impeachment.
- "There is absolutely no reason for him to stop pushing. This contradicts both his personality and his experience," Cas Mudde, political scientist at the University of Georgia, told Insider.
- You can find more stories on the Insider homepage,
When the Americans fear that President Donald Trump and the Republicans will make the United States an authoritarian one-party state, they have no time to stop it, experts warned.
Trump has shown autocratic momentum since his 2016 election campaign and from the moment he entered the White House.
The president attacked virtually every democratic institution in the United States when he felt that his actions were unfavorable for his agenda or public appearance. In the meantime, he pushed away traditional U.S. allies and openly embraced many of the world's most repressive leaders.
These trends have raised concerns among top experts on authoritarianism, fascism, and democracy, but they have often said that the robust political system in the United States, with its control mechanisms and constitutional norms, has prevented Trump from becoming a full-blown authoritarian and doing what he does want.
Since Trump's acquittal in the Senate earlier this month after he was charged in Parliament for his negotiations with Ukraine, witnesses have been purged of the White House, and Attorney General William Barr has intervened in the trial against a close president. Roger Stone. And the tone of the experts has changed dramatically.
"Someone has to push back"
"The system enables Trump," wrote Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale "How Fascism Works" said Insider.
"There must be mass protests," he said. "The Republican Party betrays democracy, and these are historical times. Someone has to push back.
"The deeply troubling moment is when you start to become a one-party state," added Stanley. "The Republican Party has shown that it has no interest in multi-party democracy … it is much more concerned about power, about power consolidation."
Stanley said the recent actions by Republicans and Trump were "straight out of authoritarian literature."
Only one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney from Utah, sentenced Trump to abuse the power in his impeachment proceedings against the Senate. Romney was also one of only two GOP senators to vote for an ultimately unsuccessful witness interview application. (All 15 Senate prosecutions before Trump had witnesses.) With her vote, the Republicans blocked potentially important statements by the President's former national security adviser, John Bolton.
Romney, the GOP 2012 presidential candidate, has since been annoyed by other Republicans and treated as a pariah.
Stanley said that there should have been mass protests on the streets after the vote against the witnesses, and warned that the lack of significant public protests is "another sign of the party in power that they can go ahead and do whatever they want." ".
Trump urged Ukraine, a vulnerable U.S. ally, to dig dirt against his political rivals in a year of re-election – including former Vice President Joe Biden, who was until the recent election setbacks as the main candidate for the Democratic presidential candidacy was valid for 2020. And Trump did this while withholding nearly $ 400 million of vital, Congress-approved military aid from Kiev while waging a war against pro-Russian separatists.
There was a wealth of evidence that Trump ordered a comprehensive, complex program to essentially blackmail Ukraine and defile his political opponents, but not all of the evidence was sworn in because the Republicans had prevented important witnesses from testifying ,
Several Senate Republicans condemned Trump's crackdown on Ukraine, but still voted to acquit him. One such Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, admitted that she hadn't seen any changes in Trump's behavior since his impeachment, although her colleague, Senator Susan Collins from Maine, had recently suggested to the president learned a lesson,
"There were no strong signs of this this week," said Murkowski told reporters On Wednesday.
"There is absolutely no reason for him to stop pushing"
"From his entry into Republican primary school in 2015 until his impeachment five years later, Donald Trump has ignored advice on moderating and changing and, in his view, has won (which is largely true). He has reviewed the boundaries of people and institutions several times and she found pliable and weak, "said Cas Mudde, a political scientist at the University of Georgia who is an expert on populism, extremism, and democracy.
"There is absolutely no reason for him to stop pushing," he added. "It contradicts both his personality and his experience."
Mudde said the only question was whether there was still a break for the Republican Party.
"Note that Trump hasn't changed the institutions, so the powers are still there," he said. "This is about the courage and willingness of Republicans to stand up for the rule of law and the president."
Since Trump's acquittal, he has ousted two key witnesses of impeachment. Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, an excellent Iraq war veteran, was expelled from the National Security Council. Gordon Sondland, a Republican donor who donated $ 1 million to Trump's inaugural committee, was fired as the United States' ambassador to the European Union.
Within a week, Barr intervened in Stone's trial, demanding a lower sentence for the longtime GOP strategist than that recommended by the prosecutors who had worked on the case.
On Twitter, Trump celebrated the controversial intervention that resulted in the withdrawal or resignation of all four prosecutors working on Stone's case. "Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for leading a case that has gone completely out of control and maybe shouldn't even have been brought." the president said,
"You will do anything to stay in power"
While the president applauded the attorney general, Stanley described Barr as "a dangerous, authoritarian trailblazer" and added that Trump and his government were not the only issues facing an anti-democratic descent in the United States.
"It's almost the entire Republican Party," said Stanley. "Mitch McConnell has already shown that he was not respecting the rule of law when he denied Obama the right to appoint Supreme Court judges … It's a much deeper problem."
He added: "We need conservatives and republicans to stand up for the rule of law, and if we don't have it, it's over."
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University and an expert on authoritarianism, told insiders that the prosecutors' resignations for interfering with Stone's conviction were "a strong message of protest".
"For Trump and Barr, however, this is probably a good way out of bad eggs," said Ben-Ghiat.
If Americans are really concerned about Trump's "abuse of power," said Ben-Ghiat, the best strategy for voters is "to mobilize and use their voting power to vote out these authoritarians while they still can."
But with a president who had just been charged with alleging that he had requested foreign electoral impairment and Republican lawmakers who seemed ready to allow his behavior, Stanley said he was not particularly optimistic about November election day.
"I don't know what would happen without mass protests," said Stanley. "I am not at all optimistic about the fairness of the upcoming elections."
He added, "As you have shown, you will do anything to hold on to power."