There was a painfully accurate oped over on the Washington Post recently, The Banana States of America by Dana Millford. In it, Millford argues that Democracy is not just under threat in America, it is already gone. But what we have in its place isn’t a ruthless, Stalinoid totalitarianism but rather the despotism of blundering fools who are barely competent to tie their own shoes, much less lead a country.
The problem, he notes, is that Trump and a GOP-dominated Congress have combined to use every rule in the book to overwhelm anything like representative government, “There are various explanations for this. But what this means in practical terms is the GOP majority has used parliamentary maneuvers to block votes on amendments to legislation that would likely pass with broad bipartisan support — on outsourcing jobs, immigration, gun safety, disaster relief, Social Security, Medicare, the environment, prescription drug costs, Pell Grants, national security, criminal-justice reform, veterans’ benefits, drinking water, child nutrition and maternal health.”
But, he continues, in the process they have revealed themselves to be idiots. They are still tyrants, and very, very dangerous, but they are clown princes of evil, making themselves (and us) look ridiculous at every step. Thus, for example, Trump declares a trade war with China, only to “settle” certain issues with that country on terms that are even more favorable to Beijing than had been the case before 2016. And Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, have been able to frustrate all meaningful legislation, but have also achieved almost nothing on their own.
All in all, Millford concludes, “Democracy is indeed under threat – from a tyranny of buffoonery.”