Should Trump win the election, he will take it as proof of his infallible instincts. How does an infallible man behave in a position of power? A bit like Hitler, no?
I never defined authoritarian, but if I had I would come up with something close to that. Let me define an authoritarian as someone who believes that being in a position of power entitles that person to make policy decisions by fiat. Further thoughts:
1. The nature of the Presidency, as an elected office occupied by a single individual, lends itself to authoritarianism. It inspires awe among journalists, worship among citizens, and sycophancy among aides. It selects for narcissists.
2. I think that in the United States, the “Overton Window” has moved mostly in the authoritarian direction over the last century.
3. Woodrow Wilson very much wanted to go in the authoritarian direction, and our entry into World War I gave him a bit of an opportunity to do so. Calvin Coolidge went in the other direction.
4. FDR moved the U.S. in authoritarian direction. Ike tried to go in the other direction.
5. On domestic policy, I believe that Lyndon Johnson was not authoritarian, in that he played by the existing rules. However, with Vietnam, he set a precedent for deception and unilateral warmaking.
6. Richard Nixon unintentionally caused a reversal in authoritarianism. Congress impeached him and also tried to (re-)assert authority over the budget process.
7. Because Barack Obama is convinced of his own absolute moral righteousness, he acts as if his instincts were infallible. Thus, I believe that he meets the commenter’s definition of authoritarian. Of course, those who share Mr. Obama’s outlook woulds say that he has merely responded appropriately to Republican obstruction.
8. By my definition, Mr. Trump speaks like an authoritarian.
9. However, I am more worried that the the country will move in authoritarian direction if Mrs. Clinton wins. Many in Mr. Trump’s own party are opposed to his authoritarianism. Not so with Mrs. Clinton and her party. She is Nixon without anyone to play the role of Howard Baker.
10. Hitler was more than an authoritarian (by my definition). He used murder and physical intimidation to try to eliminate all opposition. I am not worried about either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton doing that.