There is nothing unique happening in American politics. History is complete with examples of sizeable minorities motivated by what they perceive as a charismatic leader seizing power. That is almost a definition of fascism and it very much applies to today’s Trump-led Republican party. Being aware and concerned with that I am ever vigilant for signs. I think we see one in Iowa.
The Iowa Senate fell into Republican control. In the Iowa Senate the controlling political party sets the rules under which the press covering it operates. This term the press is relegated to chamber seats much further away from the action, out of ear shot of personal conversations along with being much restricted in its interactions with members.
A simple principle of representative democracy is that a well informed public is necessary for it to effectively function. The only reason America was ever a republic (read: representative democracy) is because a pure democracy (where everyone votes on every matter) was never a practical alternative.
The press reports on the actions of the elected representatives who, at least theoretically, are responsible (and hopefully responsive) to the electorate (read: the people). If you keep the people in the dark, how are they to make intelligent and informed decisions? The answer in most cases is they can’t and that is the modern day GOP’s goal.
Almost without exception elected Republican officials are primarily concerned with power, not governing. They simply want to stay in their positions and are devoid of true political philosophy. They have no use, and in too many cases disdain, for the truth. They wish to replace facts with “Alternative facts”.
The goal of their current leader, Donald Trump, is simply unchecked power and self enrichment. He is following an autocrat’s handbook and one of the primary methods of establishing autocratic power is by neutering the legitimate press thereby hiding your misdeeds and only presenting the public – who is busy with their day-to-day lives – with the autocrat’s version of reality. Calling the press, “The enemy of the people” is not something Trump coined. Many autocrats before him have used it throughout history.
There is an American political theory that the states are the laboratories of democracy. The idea is that the states can hold an “experiment” on a smaller, but still statically significant, scale that if successful can be replicated on a national scale. What I fear here is that the Iowa Senate is a laboratory for the autocrat wannabes among us.
American democracy is under attack; make no mistake about it!
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