The dangerous powerful personality of Donald Trump

Anti-Donald Trump protesters march in the street on Fifth Avenue, November 11, 2016 in New York City. The election of Trump as president has sparked protests in cities across the country. (Nov. 10, 2016 - Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America)

Anti-Donald Trump protesters march in the street on Fifth Avenue, November 11, 2016 in New York City. The election of Trump as president has sparked protests in cities across the country.
(Nov. 10, 2016 – Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America)

Imagining the Worst

Right now it is easy for some people to envision nightmare scenarios of the future.

  • I know of climate scientist–thoughtful, passionate people–who suddenly feel like so much work they have done is about to unravel by an American administration that dismisses the causes and risks of climate change.
  • LGBTQ people and activists see who is coming into power, the words they have spoken against us, and shudder at the legal and societal consequences.
  • People of color and immigrants, who have long experienced inequality in the USA see the potential for a turning back and doubling down from law enforcement and in the justice department.
  • Women who had been hoping for more advances in equality, representation, and decency, suddenly are faced with powerful people who have outright demeaned women and are likely to pursue a course to roll back existing protections and rights.
  • And all of us feel that bullies have been given moral authority to be out and proud about their bigotry.

How do we respond to a Trump Administration?

We are each getting our footing in this new rocky landscape we seek to figure out our paths forward.  No doubt there are and will be many many organizing sessions and meetings to strategize how to protect all we hold dear. But with each headline that sound more and more like an Onion bad dream scenario, it is easy to get caught up in the larger than life personality of Donald Trump and the cast of appointees whose pasts cause some of us shudder.

Silvio Berlusconi in Milan last year. Credit Flavio Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency

Silvio Berlusconi in Milan last year. Credit Flavio Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency

One thing that my partner and I have been talking about is the seemingly boring but utterly important matter of policy.

The Curious Case of Silvio Berlusconi

An article in the New York Times helps me to see that focusing on policy over personality is an effective strategy that was proven in Italy in the face of the outrageous and dangerous person of Silvio Berlusconi, who had been prime minister for nearly a decade.

In Luigi Zingales’ opinion piece, The Right Way to Resist Trump, he warns:

Mr. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for as long as he did mostly thanks to the incompetence of his opposition. It was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared; it focused only on personal attacks, the effect of which was to increase Mr. Berlusconi’s popularity. His secret was an ability to set off a Pavlovian reaction among his leftist opponents, which engendered instantaneous sympathy in most moderate voters. Mr. Trump is no different.

He then provides analysis on how the US reaction to Trump mirrors how Italians’ futile attempts of stopping Burlusconi. He also outlines how the opposition finally found a way to defeat the prime minister. He ends with advice to Americans seeking to contain the damage of a Trump presidency and limited the time he is in office.

If you are wondering how we might respond to a Trump presidency, take some time and read: The Right Way to Resist Trump

(featured image from a video in 2000 with Donald Trump and Rudolph Giuliani in drag)

 

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