A Curtain Is Falling Down Around Us

By EProf2, a Trail Mix Contributor

Winston Churchill famously predicted that an iron curtain was falling down between western democracies and the Soviet Union after the end of World War II. This was an international curtain separating two competing ideologies.

Today, there is no doubt that a domestic curtain is falling down around the United States, not to separate competing ideologies but to enhance the views of one man’s governing ambitions and style.

History has shown us that many democracies had curtains fall down around them when “strong and decisive” figures took extra-legal steps to cement their elected positions. The most famous of these democratic societies falling to a dictatorship enveloped in a curtain was Adolph Hitler in Germany in the 1930’s. Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain, Peron in Argentina, and elsewhere. Democracies are not immune from coup d’etats and elected dictatorships.

Recent examples include Turkey, Egypt, Venezuela, Hungary, and most of the former Soviet Republics.

Thus far in the history of the United States there has been a strong acceptance of democratic processes over strong elected personalities. There have been some examples of anti-democratic leaders in our history. The most famous was Huey Long in Louisiana. Some historians think that Douglas MacArthur might have had the ability to use the military to overthrow President Truman after the president fired the General over disagreement on the use of atomic weapons during the Korean War. MacArthur, as a principled small d democrat, declined and quietly faded away as he said he would.

Today, the United States faces a crisis of the strong man taking the first steps toward total control of government.

How?

  • First, dismiss anyone who dares to challenge his authority and point of view.
  • Second, surround himself with family, generals, and millionaires and billionaires who share his concept of a corporate state.
  • Third, slowly cut off press access to the agencies and bureaus vital to a democracy.
  • Fourth, destroy scientific data and cripple previous scientific truths.
  • Fifth, take away or tilt voting in favor of one political party.
  • Sixth, through propaganda and lying, convince the people that he is making “America Great Again,” even though wages will be kept low, health care will be diminished or eliminated, and only the leader can “fix it” for the people.
  • Seventh, allow no transparency to the strong man’s economic and political transactions.
  • And, lastly, create a bogey man or woman, like the last candidate in the presidential election, that can be blamed for everything that doesn’t fit the prevailing political picture.

Put together, those are some obvious pitfalls and major concerns for the survival of American democracy.

Democracy is the most fragile of all governing systems. Let’s hope our system and the American people are capable of preserving and strengthening American democracy in the face of a descending curtain around the Republic.

As Benjamin Franklin said as he emerged from the constitutional convention and was asked what form of government we would have, he said, “a Republic…if you can keep it.”

More Posts by EProf2

Eprof: Arizona Blue?

By Eprof2, a Trail Mix Contributor

Craig asked me last week if Arizona could flip to blue in November. My initial reaction was not likely. But, in this topsy-turvy election of 2016, I guess anything is possible. There isn’t any clear evidence, thus far, that Arizona will go blue in November.

The AZ primary for all offices excluding presidential candidates, which were held in March, takes place on August 30th. All eyes are on the McCain campaign as he seeks reelection for the sixth time to the Senate. He is still well liked in AZ, but he could be vulnerable.

kelliwardMcCain’s Republican opponent at the end of the month is a Tea Party activist, Kelli Ward, who holds a legislative seat from the Lake Havasu area, a rural northwest location far from the two metro areas. However, she is an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, who won the AZ Republican presidential primary by a huge margin. Her campaign posters are all over the state with her picture with Donald Trump. As almost everyone knows, here and across the country, Donald Trump attacked John McCain as a loser from a POW camp. That garnered a lot of support for McCain here in AZ. Yet, McCain continues to endorse Trump while calling him out for his attacks on the Khans and the Veterans’ Administration, McCain’s favorite government agency.

While folks here keep asking why doesn’t McCain “unendorsed” Trump, I think the following is occurring: McCain is going to continue to endorse Trump until he can defeat Kelli Ward in the primary; thus, not giving up any support from the far right now. After the primary, McCain will be more free to criticize Trump, maybe even “unendorsed” him, to move back to the center and try and take votes away from the presumptive Democratic candidate, Ann Kirkpatrick, a centrist who currently holds the Congressional District One seat. McCain is playing the ultimate political game of seeking votes by changing his positions based on candidates, elections, and the mood of the electorate.

mccainCampThe AZ Congressional delegation is split 5-4 in favor of Republicans. This year, depending on the Trump phenomenon, only the CD1, where I live, is in danger of losing a seat to the Republican Party, making the next delegation, 6-3. The Democrats do not have a strong, well-known candidate to replace Ann Kirkpatrick as she seeks McCain’s Senate seat. CD1 is the largest district in the state and runs from the Utah border to the Mexican border with mostly small towns. Flagstaff and parts of Casa Grande and Tucson (small parts) are inside the badly gerrymandered district. Trump and former governor, Jan Brewer, are supporting the Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu, who has always been considered Joe Arpaio junior, as he continues to berate Mexicans and the border fence is his symbol of law and order. He has been elected twice to the Sheriff’s office as a Republican.

The state legislature is solidly Republican, as are all the state-wide offices, including the governor. The state treasurer, Jeff DeWitt, just became Trump’s national campaign finance director, without giving up his state position. He says he can do both jobs, i.e, he wants to keep his state salary while working for Trump. Even though many have seen this as a conflict of interest, he remains in office. The Republican state legislature, most of whom support Trump, are not going to raise impeachment or other charges against him.

Flipping to blue. Not likely under normal election circumstances. What say you, Jace?

Note from Craig: Thanks to Eprof for this analysis. We welcome contributors with thoughts about important races in their regions. Simply email me for details on how to post: help@craigcrawford.com