Trump’s 'slow-motion coup' is 'right out of the authoritarian playbook': historian
During the Friday, October 8 episode of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," host Maher outlined a nightmare scenario in which Donald Trump loses the 2024 presidential election but unlike 2020, manages to pull off a coup d'état thanks, in part, to Republican loyalists at the state level. The following Monday morning, October 11, CNN's John Berman discussed Maher's warning with Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a history professor at New York University — and she didn't find Maher's scenario to be the least bit far-fetched.
Berman, who hosts "New Day" with his CNN colleague Brianna Keilar, told Ben-Ghiat, "What Bill Maher is describing is what he calls a slow-motion coup where Trump loyalists are taking over secretaries of states offices, or very well will in the next election. Republicans could take over the Congress with Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise running the show. The things that kept Donald Trump from succeeding with his coup attempt won't be there in 2024."
My dark prediction for the 2024 U.S. presidential election. https://t.co/GxHDEVh5dN— Bill Maher (@Bill Maher) 1633755339.0
Ben-Ghiat, author of the 2020 book "Strongmen: Mussolini to the President," responded, "That's right. And what Maher said is very plausible because the way that Trump has already acted is straight out of the authoritarian playbook. And if we look at what he did between November and January, this was all a trial run. So, he tried to get a military intervention, but that didn't work because Gen. Milley wouldn't go along. He tried to do what autocrats already do in Turkey and Hungary and Russia, which was to fix the election machinery."
The professor continued, "We are in the middle of an onslaught, on a massive scale, to neutralize our entire election apparatus. Because today, you don't suspend elections except in maybe communist dictatorships. Today, you hold them, but you make sure the results are what you need them to be."
Berman interjected, "What do you call a failed coup? Practice."
Noting that Ben-Ghiat has written extensively about dictators and authoritarians, Berman asked her if Trump's coup attempt "resembles" them — to which she responded, "It does. What we lived through already is the full menu of disinformation, violence, corruption…. For every person in the Trump base who may really think that Trump won the election, the GOP lawmakers know better. So, that's a form of corruption. So, all the tools of the authoritarian playbook have been successfully laid out and accepted. And this is setting up for the future…. The foundations for it happening are being laid now every day."
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