Our constitutional crisis is already here
Robert Kagan in Washington Post

Most Americans — and all but a handful of politicians — have refused to take this possibility seriously enough to try to prevent it. As has so often been the case in other countries where fascist leaders arise, their would-be opponents are paralyzed in confusion and amazement at this charismatic authoritarian. They have followed the standard model of appeasement, which always begins with underestimation. The political and intellectual establishments in both parties have been underestimating Trump since he emerged on the scene in 2015.

The events of Jan. 6, on the other hand, proved that Trump and his most die-hard supporters are prepared to defy constitutional and democratic norms, just as revolutionary movements have in the past. While it might be shocking to learn that normal, decent Americans can support a violent assault on the Capitol, it shows that Americans as a people are not as exceptional as their founding principles and institutions. Europeans who joined fascist movements in the 1920s and 1930s were also from the middle classes. No doubt many of them were good parents and neighbors, too. People do things as part of a mass movement that they would not do as individuals, especially if they are convinced that others are out to destroy their way of life. It would be foolish to imagine that the violence of Jan. 6 was an aberration that will not be repeated.

bizgrrl's picture

Pretty sad commentary. Isn't

Pretty sad commentary. Isn't the author a right-winger?

Not saying his predictions can't happen. I, maybe mistakenly, have more faith in Biden and his administration.

Mike Knapp's picture


Considering the source, Kagan isn’t a right winger like Glenn Jacobs or Jason Zachary. He’s a Brookings institute fellow, recently busted on AOC for not saying anything about what’s going down in Nicaragua. His msg in that opinion essay is spot on and leaves little room for doubt about the moment we’re facing.

tlc's picture

Spot On, Indeed

I can't find any of Kagan's points to argue over....sadly. Never have I come across a more succinct explanation of the Trumpers' rejection of the Pandemic. That lone paragraph is almost a thing of beauty.

Mike Knapp's picture

Me neither

IMV the sooner a critical mass of ppl recognize the undeniable fact that a fascistic, dominionist, anti-science, white supremacist group has hijacked the GOP the sooner the one-way ratchet operating on the GOP and the body politic can be slowed and possibly turned back. There is no room for moderates now in the GOP. It shouldn't need to be said but for some reason(s) here we are. Some, like Jason Zachary, are literally protesting AGAINST masks in largely unventilated schoolrooms during a pandemic caused by a very infectious respiratory virus. Incredibly, electeds in the US - protesting AGAINST policies that protect students and their teachers from being infected. Glen Jacobs, Jason Zachary are dangerous, unserious people who have nothing to offer and with whom conversations and persuasion aren't possible or sufficient. They've been aided in constructing an epistemic bubble that prevents acknowledging an objective reality. Not at all leftist radicals like Kagan are saying this. Norman Ornstein said it over ten years ago. Simple issue is whether or not what's become measurable and clear to ppl like Kagan, Ornstein et al will likewise become obvious to enough other people before it's simply too late.

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