Under Ronald Reagan and especially George W. Bush the GOP sought to destroy science and reason.
Get ready for more.
It has become a commonplace to say that Donald Trump is an unprecedented figure as president-elect.
If we want to understand him we need to look abroad – to examples of authoritarian rulers who’ve undermined democratic norms and the customary rule of law to consolidate their power—men like Vladimir Putin to cite the most pertinent example or Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.
Yet it would be a grave mistake to ignore significant precursors here at home – the better to illuminate the weaknesses Trump is sure to exploit.While Trump’s authoritarianism and lack of political experience are striking and unprecedented – the underlying disconnect between reality and public perception that he feeds on and exacerbates is nothing new.The title of Jonathan Schell’s account of Nixon’s presidency says it all: ‘The Time of Illusion’.Similarly straightforward is the title of Mark Hertsgaard’s book ‘On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency’ in which he quotes a former deputy White House press secretary Leslie Janka saying ‘The whole thing was P.R.This was a P.R. outfit that became president and took over the country.And to the degree then which the Constitution forced them to do things like make a budget – run a foreign policy and all that – they sort of did.But their first last and overarching activity was public relations’.(cont..)