Trump’s “Day One” dictator comment is a sad symptom of populist politics

(David Dee Delgado/Associated Press)

Trump’s “Day One” dictator comment is a sad symptom of populist politics

Opinion piece, Elections 2024

Jonah Goudberg

Dec. 12, 2023

Everyone knows that politics involves more truth-expansion than most professions. As the line (often misattributed to Mark Twain) goes


Politicians and diapers need to be changed often, for the same reason.”

It is also an established truth that populist politicians lie even more than conventional politicians. This is partly because populism requires encouragement and exploitation


or maintaining high levels of public anger. When you tell the crowd that a problem is complicated, solutions are compromised


or your well-meaning opponents make some fair points, there is a danger that the crowd will get bored and lose interest in you. But if you tell them that the solutions are obvious and easy, and that your evil enemies are keeping you from solving everything, well, that’s more like it.

What gets less attention is how the deceit of conventional politicians also creates market opportunities for demagogues.

You’ve probably heard that Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate

front side-

runner, recently said he was becoming a dictator




ne of his presidency. Given the increasing talk about how a second Trump presidency would become a dictatorship, Trump’s comment sent the commentary into an uproar. And that is understandable. Whether he was joking or dead serious or something in between, saying you’ll be a dictator for a certain amount of time is no laughing matter, especially for a former president who likes to test real desires by pretending to be joking.

Still, it’s worth paying attention to why Trump came up with the idea of ​​a one-day dictatorship. To summarize, Fox News


Sean Hannity, who tried to help Trump dispel the dictator talk, asked him to assure everyone that he would not be one. Trump dodged his oft-repeated promise to punish his enemies, saying he only became a dictator on the first day of his presidency, aiming to close the border and drill, drill, drill. After that, I’m not a dictator.

If you put the word dictator aside for a moment, this promise is unfortunately banal. Presidential candidates have a habit of dishonestly promising that they can do all kinds of things unilaterally




one of their presidencies. For example, in 2020, Kamala Harris repeatedly promised that if elected, she would repeal Trump’s tax cuts on her first day, despite the fact that presidents cannot repeal laws on their own. No wonder voters think presidents have powers they don’t.

But this isn’t just about presidential power. Consider Trump’s promise to enact some sort

day one day one

diktat on oil

drill (save the border for closing another time). Trump is operating from the widespread belief among many Republicans that, in the words of then-presidential candidate Senator Tim Scott, Biden has shut down energy production in America. Trump often says that a lack of drilling is the cause of the massive inflation. We were going to drill, baby, drill, we were going to bring your energy costs down, he said at a meeting last month. We have the highest energy costs anywhere.

This is nonsense in every respect. (To be sure, high gas prices contributed to inflation, but high inflation also helped drive up energy prices. This is complicated.)

Trump often boasts that gasoline prices were $1.87 a gallon when he left office. That wasn’t the case, but they did get that low in April 2020, only partly because of his energy policies. The COVID epidemic smothered gas demand, partly thanks to its lockdowns.

Meanwhile, domestic oil production under Biden has reached record highs, surpassing output under Trump and nearly doubling Saudi Arabia’s output. We are by far the largest producer of natural gas, producing almost as much as the next three countries (Russia, Iran, China) combined.

One of the reasons most people don’t know this is because the Biden administration isn’t bragging about rising fossil fuel production, since Biden promised to wean the country off fossil fuels (and a lot of this has nothing to do with Biden’s anyway misguided energy policy). But that’s also part of the problem. Many Democrats want Biden’s rhetoric about the war on fossil fuels to be as true as Republicans. It is easy for politicians to deceive when so many people want to be deceived.

But the lie that populist politicians spread most often is that our problems are easy to solve and that sinister forces include billionaires, special interest groups, globalists, big corporations, even Jewish financiers or just businessmen


The usual politicians get in the way. Let these string pullers and quislings run on steam, and everything will be great. That is the language of demagogues and of those who help pave the way for them.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles