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Authoritarianism is spreading across the globe as Trump becomes ‘America’s most dangerous export’

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Donald Trump is not only undermining democracy here at home, but he’s also emboldening dangerous authoritarian movements around the world. Trump’s presidency has become America’s most dangerous export.

FIRST: Trump has provided cover for authoritarian leaders around the world who are actively attacking the media and suppressing the truth to entrench their power.

He congratulated Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on his electoral victory, despite Orban’s efforts to undermine democracy and stifle freedom of the press.

On Twitter, Trump vowed to join with Polish president Andrzej Duda to “fight the fake news”. Duda has placed media outlets under strict government control.

Trump welcomed to the White House the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who has locked up tens of thousands of his political opponents and decimated the human-rights community there.

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Trump reached out to Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte, who has invoked Hitler’s mass extermination of Jews as a model for how he would like to dispose of drug dealers and addicts.

He has courted Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has imprisoned critics and human-rights activists, caused thousands of civilian deaths in Yemen, and – evidence increasingly suggests – is responsible for the gruesome death of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

And, of course, Trump infamously made excuses for Vladimir Putin when asked about the murder of Russian journalists.

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SECOND: Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric have lent legitimacy to racist and xenophobic political parties across Europe. His success playing on racial fears and stoking nationalist sentiment has been a model for their efforts.

Look at Italy’s new deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, who campaigned on mass deportations and has evoked the language of Benito Mussolini.

And Austria’s far-right Freedom Party has demanded tighter border security, expedited deportations, and financial “sanctions” on immigrants.

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Close behind them, although not yet in power, are France’s Marine Le Pen and Britain’s Nigel Farage, who Trump has complimented on Twitter.

THIRD:  Trump has undermined the international institutions committed to protecting human rights and defending democracy. 

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Unlike former U.S. presidents, Trump doesn’t publicly mention human rights.

In a break with decades of U.S. foreign policy, Trump has attacked NATO, weakening the alliance as Putin threatens to undermine democracies in Western Europe.

He has also called the European Union a “foe,” playing into nationalist movements.

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As in the 1930s, economic strains are fueling the rise of demagogues who direct anger and resentment toward scapegoats such as immigrants and minorities – lying about them with impunity.

But the truth is still getting through to most people, and democracy is still alive. Yet in sharp contrast to the 1930s when the president of the United States defended our democratic ideals, Trump is now helping lead the charge against them.


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The media got it wrong: There’s no evidence GOP support for Trump improved after his racist outburst

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One of the most popular articles last week involved claims that polls showed Republicans had increased their support of President Trump.  But a closer analysis of the data reveals that any increase in support was within the margin of error.  So the polls couldn’t conclude that GOP support for President Trump had gone up or down.

Polls are tricky creatures.  We either give them near god-like status, or discount them entirely, often depending on whether they show us what we want.

I remember the movie “Machete,” where an opportunistic Texas politician fakes his own shooting.  Within five minutes of that story breaking, the news anchor reported that the politician had drastically improved his standing in the polls.  Surveys don’t work that way.

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Don’t let this presidential pickpocket use cruel verbal assaults to distract you from the truth

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Every presidential election year, Frontline, the superb investigative TV series on PBS, produces an in-depth look at the Democratic and Republican candidates.It’s called “The Choice,” and invariably offers some insights that likely you won’t see anywhere else.

When I first watched the 2016 edition, three things struck me as revelatory—aside from that now infamous Omarosa Manigault soundbite from the program that began, “Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.” Yikes.

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Paralyzed by the God Emperor: As Democrats dither and bicker, the media gets punk’d again

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Over the past few days — which have felt like a runaway elevator ride into hell — there has been a lot of pointless debate about whether Donald Trump’s vicious, false and hateful attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and the other progressive congresswomen known as “the Squad” will help him or hurt him. I don’t know the answer, but we have to ask ourselves, first of all, what the question means.

This article was originally published at Salon

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