Cohen comes at the 2016 campaign from the BTDT (“Been There, Done That”) perspective, of those who have seen — and lived– this movie before.
It’s also a movie which is being remade today in more and more corners of their continent.
And What about Ours?
Let Roger Cohen say it: “Europe knows that democracies can collapse.
It’s not just that Trump re-tweets to his six million followers a quote attributed to Mussolini: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” It’s not just that Trump refuses to condemn David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who has expressed support for him. It’s not just that violence is woven into Trump’s language as indelibly as the snarl woven into his features . . . .
It’s the echoes, now unmistakable, of times when the skies darkened. Europe knows how democracies collapse, after lost wars, in times of fear and anger and economic hardship, when the pouting demagogue appears with his pageantry and promises. America’s Weimar-lite democratic dysfunction is plain to see. A corrupted polity tends toward collapse.
Trump is telling people something is rotten in the state of America. The message resonates because the rot is there . . . .
This disoriented America just might want Trump — and that possibility should be taken very seriously, before it is too late, by every believer in American government of the people, by the people, for the people. The power of the Oval Office and the temperament of a bully make for an explosive combination, especially when he has shown contempt for the press, a taste for violence, a consistent inhumanity, a devouring ego and an above-the-law swagger.
As Europe knows, democracies do die. Often, they are the midwives of their own demise. Once lost, the cost of recovery is high.”