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4 ways to tell when Trump makes his next moves to be dictator


We all know Trump wants to make himself Leader For Life, like his friends Putin, Kim Jong Un, Erdogan of Turkey and Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. We’ve read how his spawn, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, are negotiating who succeeds him as Supreme Leader; or maybe it will be Jared. The important thing is to keep it in the family!

But Trump has yet to take certain steps that dictators have traditionally undertaken. How will we know when he’s feeling emboldened enough to escalate his power grab to the next level? Here are 4 ominous things to watch out for.

Organized Security Apparatus. Whenever you have an authoritarian state, you have a secret, oppressive internal police force. The Shah of Iran had his dreaded Savak, Hitler his Gestapo. Trump hasn’t yet formed a secret police. He’s hinted that he “has the gun owners and the cops” on his side, and we’ve seen evidence that there are small cadres of militants playing paintball in the woods and drilling with AK47s for the day Trump summons them to hunt down Muslims, Gays and Democrats. But nothing formalized yet. Keep an eye out for the first formal brigades of Trump Troopers.

The Uniform. Dictators always have cool uniforms for their security apparatchiks. Hitler had his Brown Shirts and his black-shirted SS, with their sexy uniforms and insignia. Trump hasn’t yet established a dress code, unless you count those stupid MAGA hats. The problem with the MAGA hats, though, is that most of the time, the people wearing them at his rallies are fat and ugly—hardly the sort of Aryan role models Trump admires. We’ll know Trump is intent on remaining in power when he dresses his Trump Troopers in gear personally designed by him and the fashionista Ivanka.

The Salute. Dictators, Fuehrers and Duces always have a formal salute that their followers can give him and to each other, a sort of mating ritual that identifies themselves. Hitler’s infamous “Heil”, in which the extended right arm shot skyward, has been much ridiculed, but it worked in its day. Trump doesn’t yet have a Salute. He occasionally gives thumbs-ups, but that’s already been taken (by Churchill). It’s anyone’s guess what Trump will come up with. He’ll also develop some verbal salute to accompany the physical one, although “Heil Trump!” is probably a little too derivative.

Youth Organizations. Hitler had his Hitler Youth, which contained girls’ and boys’ divisions. Their purpose was to indoctrinate children as young as six into proper Nazi doctrine, before they developed the critical thinking skills needed to see through Hitler’s lies and propaganda. We don’t yet have any Trump Youth Organization, but we do have various rightwing Christian and evangelical churches crushing childrens’ abilities to think rationally and replacing them with a Love Trump dedication. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some combination of home schoolers and evangelical churches in which American children are isolated, injected with propaganda and readied for the coming wars.

There’s little doubt Trump has carefully studied the rise and practices of Adolf Hitler (to the extent he’s capable of studying anything beyond his Twitter feed). His acolytes say that he loves to troll the press: his invitation to China to get dirt on Joe Biden, they say, was just “joking around.” But was it? When Trump says he’s the “greatest and wisest” he may be trolling, but he also may be testing the waters to see what he can get away with saying—and he also may be self-inducing himself to believe his own words. Hitler made many of the same boasts: “I will crush” etc. “Only I can solve” etc. “I am the law.” At first people said he was just joking. He wasn’t; and when he believed his own hype, and convinced Germans of it, he launched a war that killed 100,000,000 people and destroyed a continent.

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