(Thread) Oligarchy v. Democracy

In dealing with a pandemic, a democratic leader would base success on how many lives are saved.

A would-be oligarch, on the other hand, bases success on whether he maintains power.

That's the clue to what's happening. https://twitter.com/KenDilanianNBC/status/1246046023820206087
1/ Two main issues have brought us here:

#1: Trump has been systematically dismantling the federal government.

He gives “federalism” an oligarch’s twist: He doesn't just want to transfer power to the states. He also want to transfer power to industry.
2/ Issue #2: Trump’s goal since taking office has been to maintain and expand his power.

To that end, he cynically employs basic fascist tactics.

Because he has only a few tricks in his bag, he's using those tricks in this pandemic.

And they don't work against a virus.
3/ To compound the problem, the Fox-GOP is in line with both of Trump’s goals:

🔹They place his reelection needs above the health needs of the country and

🔹They want to dismantle the federal government.
4/ In her excellent newsletter yesterday, @HC_Richardson talked about how the GOP’s desire to dismantle the federal government has contributed to the fiasco.

The result is that the federal government is not equipped to handle a pandemic and has thus made a series of epic errors.
6/ For why the Trump-FOX-GOP wants to dismantle the federal government, see⤵️

The problem is compounded because Trump appoints and hires people based on the person’s degree of loyalty to him instead of expertise.
7/ That's why Jared Kushner is in charge of a global pandemic.

Instead of coordinating a central government response, Jared is tapping private industry.

Oligarchy, or a mafia state, happens when government leaders also control the nation’s industries.
8/ In Feb. Trump gambled that the virus wouldn't be as deadly as experts predicted.

His concern was to protect the stock market (which he conflates with the economy) because he believes that a strong economy will get him elected. (He needs his donors flush with cash.)
9/ Because Trump always believed that a strong economy would get him reelected, he has artificially inflated the bubble on the hope that he could keep the bubble intact until after Nov. 2020.

He lost his gamble. Now he's terrified that the virus will pop the bubble.
10/ That’s why the GOP wants us to ignore the virus and keep working.

(In addition to being cruel, encouraging people to keep working fails to achieve the objective: Lots of dead people and an overworked health care system will crush the economy. It's stupid as well as cruel.)
11/ After Trump lost his gamble (and people weren't willing to die to “save” the economy) what did he do?

He reached into his bag of tricks.

There are not many tricks in the bag, so by this point, we’re familiar with them and can recognize them.
12/ These tricks are not effective in dealing with a pandemic.

They are, however, effective in maintaining power.

As Yale professor @jasonintrator said: Trump “cynically uses a set of fascist tactics to gain and maintain power.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2331&v=OPG08hT5VEs
13/ Trick #1 is what another Yale prof, @TimothyDSnyder, calls "governing by spectacle.”

For more, see: https://twitter.com/Teri_Kanefield/status/1213972382995501056

Trump is a natural at drenching the population with a rapid-fire succession of news-grabbing, diverting spectacles.
16/ It’s easy to create spectacle when you put your unqualified son-in-law in charge.
And when you hold free-wheeling base-thrilling press conferences filled with lies.
17/ Trick #2: Make sure Trump is painted as the victim

When people question or criticize Trump’s errors, the Trump-FOX-GOP claims that everyone is being unfair and mean to Trump.

Trick #3: Create an “us v. them” politics. (Trump is an expert at this.)
18/ To create “us v. them” politics:

🔹Get the fighters fighting and keep them fighting
🔹Pit the blue states against the red states
🔹Blame the liberal cities and states
🔹Blame China
🔹Blame Obama
19/🔹Blame Schumer

Trump told Schumer that the reason New York wasn’t better able to handle the epidemic was because Schumer wasted all that time on the impeachment “hoax.”

The White House believed it had delivered an epic burn🤦‍♀️⤵️
20/ Finally, the most important trick: Undermine factuality itself.


🔹Tell people not to believe experts⤵️

🔹Unleash such a firehose of lies that people get so confused they eventually conclude that the truth is unknowable.

A few examples from the tireless @ddale8⤵️
21/ Without facts or a shared truth, Trump cannot be held accountable for errors.

Note that he is throwing out garbage on purpose, to confuse people. Confusing people in a pandemic is a terrible idea— but the tactic here is to govern by spectacle (yes, it is a tactic).
22/ Trump's response to COVID-19 makes sense once we understand that:

🔹A leader who only knows how to use fascist tactics isn't equipped to deal with a pandemic, and

🔹A would-be oligarch will base his success on whether maintains power, not how many lives are saved.
23/ Here's that spoonful of sugar to help a difficult thread go down ⤵️ 💕💕

Also, someone just asked this: "The most important question to me is what can we do about it Teri?"

When I recover from writing this thread, that question is on my list.
24/ Interesting question.

It's a different situation. "History doesn't repeat itself, but it oftenrhymes" (attributed to Mark Twain)
Trump is emulating what Hungarian scholar Bálint Magyar calls a “mafia state."

I'll put two links into the next tweet.
You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.
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