Friday, April 24, 2020

performative authoritarianism

"Trump claims the powers of a tyrant, behaves like one, talks like one, struts like one, has broken every norm a liberal democracy requires, and set dangerous precedents that could enable a serious collapse in constitutional norms in the future.

"But he doesn’t actually want to be a tyrant. It’s way too much work. It requires real management skills — and Trump has none. He wants to be treated like a king, regarded as a king, and fawned on like a king, but that’s about it. He seems only attached to power insofar as power is attached to fame, and fame without criticism helps assuage his acute and disordered psychic needs.

"This, in Bill Kristol’s rather brilliant phrase, is “performative authoritarianism.” ... Trump saw [the coronavirus emergency]  purely as an obstacle to his reelection message about a booming economy, a blot on his self-image, an unfair spoiling of his term. Instead of exploiting it, he whined about it. He is incapable of empathy and so simply cannot channel the nation’s grief into a plan of action. So he rambles and digresses and divides and inflames. He has managed in this crisis to tell us both that he is all-powerful and that he takes no responsibility for anything.

And I suspect that this creepy vaudeville act, in a worried and tense country, is beginning to wear real thin....  While governors are acting, Trump is chattering. While people are dying, Trump is bragging about his own ratings, signing his name on stimulus checks, pushing quack remedies, and abetting conspiracy theories about Chinese laboratories. And although there is a rump group of supporters who will follow Trump anywhere and may launch tea party–style protests against social distancing on his behalf, I suspect this fundamental unseriousness after responding to the virus so late is finally taking its toll." - Andrew Sullivan 

a piece by Rebekah Gonzalez for I Heart 80s Radio on Alice Cooper's other "run for office" - except this time not just performative as with "Elected" in '72, but as a write-in candidate for governor of Arizona in 1988, under the slogan: "I represent the Wild Party and I even have a campaign slogan: Alice Cooper - A troubled man for troubled times."

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