How Trump’s ludicrous rise mirrors the process that brought Stalin to power — and mercifully how it doesn’t.
There’s a useful concept in understanding how societies deteriorate into dictatorship that was most famously developed by Leon Trotsky – although it reaches a lot further back in history.
This notion of “substitutionism” — I promise the idea is sexier than the name — might help us understand the current occupant of the White House a little better – if only in a negative sense.
If Donald Trump presents himself as he does in every public speech as a representative or ‘substitute’ for some large group of voiceless and powerless people – then what group is being represented and how did this substitution occur?
Whatever you make of Trotsky’s role as a leader of the Russian Revolution — and his level of responsibility for what became of it in later years — he deserves more recognition than he gets as one of the 20th century’s shrewdest observers of politics.