In a sharply-worded column published in the New York Times on Saturday, Princeton University economist Paul Krugman — winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics — issued a dire warning. Under Donald Trump, Krugman wrote, U.S. democracy may have very little time left.
In fact, Krugman warned in his August 18 column that “democracy really could die just a few months from now,” unless either congressional Republicans who hold control of both the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate cease to act “complicit” and oppose Trump, or if Democrats succeed in regaining control of one or both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.
“Even now, I don’t think most political commentators have grasped how deep the rot goes,” Krugman wrote. “Modern Republican politicians are, with few exceptions, apparatchiks: they are creatures of a monolithic movement that doesn’t allow dissent but protects the loyal from risk. Even if they should happen to lose a race in their gerrymandered districts, as long as they toed the line they can count on commentator slots on Fox News, appointments at think tanks, and so on.”
Krugman also referred to Trump as a “wannabe Mussolini,” referring to Benito Mussolini, who as History records, founded the political movement known as “fascism” in 1919.
Mussolini achieved political power largely by terrorizing his opponents with a private paramilitary force known as the “Black Shirts,” as Biography recounts. By 1922, he became prime minister of Italy, and in 1925, he consolidated power and declared himself sole dictator of Italy, calling himself “Il Duce,” or in English, “The Leader.”
The Italian dictator was known for his declaration to the Italian people that he alone was capable of restoring political order to Italy, a declaration later echoed by Trump during the 2016 Republican National Convention when he announced that America was being destroyed by “poverty and violence at home (and)… war and destruction abroad,” saying, “I alone can fix it,” as The Atlantic reported.
Krugman saw parallels with Mussolini in Trump, as he stated in his Saturday column.
“Make no mistake: if Republicans hold both houses of Congress this November, Trump will go full authoritarian, abusing institutions like the I.R.S., trying to jail opponents and journalists on, er, trumped-up charges, and more — and he’ll do it with full support from his party,” Krugman wrote.
Mussolini formed an alliance between fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, ruled by dictator Adolf Hitler, in World War II. But on April 25, 1945, as Italy and Germany were overrun by the allied forces led by the United States, Great Britain and, at that time, the Soviet Union, the 61-year-old Mussolini attempted to flee Italy, according to History. He did not get out of the country before members of his political opposition captured and executed him along with his 33-year-old mistress, Clara Petacci, dumping their bodies for public display in the Piazzale Loreto, a major square in the Italian city of Milan.