I never thought I’d live to see the day when the President of the United States was a demagogue. But that’s where we are.
What exactly is a demagogue? Thank you for asking. Wikipedia defines a demagogue as follows:
“A demagogue or rabble-rouser is a leader who gains popularity in a democracy by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people, whipping up the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation. Demagogues overturn established norms of political conduct, or promise or threaten to do so.”
So let’s see. Does Donald Trump:
- behave like a rabble-rouser? ☑️
- exploit prejudice and ignorance? ☑️
- whip up passions of the crowd? ☑️
- shut down reasoned deliberation? ☑️
- overturn established political norms ☑️
Not yet yet convinced that the American President is a demagogue? Well, Washington Post reporter Michael Signer writes:
“A textbook demagogue meets four tests. First, he identifies as a man of the masses, usually by attacking elites. Second, he creates great waves of passion. Third, he uses that passion for political benefit. Fourth, he tests or breaks established rules of governance. Taken together, this approach enables the demagogue to create a state within a state — a massive cult — that follows him alone.”
Check, check, check, and check!
But some might ask, “is having a demagogue as the leader of a country a bad thing?” Well Demosthenes, a Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens, who lived from 384 BC to 322 BC, said:
“A demagogue must be neither an educated nor an honest man; he has to be an ignoramus and a rogue.”
Consider this: Modern demagogues include such men as Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and Joseph McCarthy. They each built mass followings by exciting the passions of the mob against the moderate, thoughtful customs of their times.
So you decide. Is Donald Trump a demagogue? And is that a good or a bad thing for America and for the world?
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