Notice whenever dictators from history are mentioned in the media, they're almost always referred to as "evil dictators," or "violent dictators." And yes, it's true that many of these men committed unspeakable atrocities, including genocide, to their own citizens.
But haven't you ever asked yourself the question: If these guys were so awful, how did they ever get elected?
Well, you might respond by saying "Well, they weren't elected. They came to power in a violent coup." OK, that is certainly true for many.
Idi Amin came to power in Uganda in the 1970's via coup.
And you might also argue that some of them inherited the power by non-democratic socialist regimes, which is also true.
Stalin was placed in his post after Lenin died. Not elected.
And there are many more dictators and monarchs in history who were not elected.
But what about Venezuela's Hugo Chavez? Elected.
That's right. Elected.
Now, you might say: "Well, they might have won elections, but how fair were those elections? They were pretty much rigged, right?"
You could have a point there. One could question if these elections were completely "democratic." And it's certainly true that many of these guys won with a lot of help by control of the media and voter suppression.
Adolf Hitler -- elected.
Now, for crying out loud: how in the heck did the murderous, monster dictator Hitler actually get elected?
Well, this is usually how the process goes:
1) A charismatic leader rises in popularity just when the people are sensing their government is not on their side, the economy is doing badly, and there's not much hope for the future.
Hitler came to power after years and years of poverty in Germany after WWI. Germans were not doing well financially (they, too, suffered in the depression after 1929), and they didn't even feel good about being German. Many Jews in Germany, though, were doing quite well...(you know where I'm going with this)...
2) The leader is always brash, bold, and 100% confident that they can and will save the country.
3) This new leader makes vague promises that they will destroy all enemies and make (insert country name here) great again!
Obviously Hitler was not elected by decent German citizens on the platform: "Hey! Let's round up all the Jews and send them to the ovens!"
That would come later. After absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Hitler won in the early 30's by promising a renewed Germany, and a renewed German spirit. He promised jobs and food on the table. In the beginning.
4) The fledgling dictator is usually unpredictable and doesn't follow prescribed mores of how a president should act. They're charismatic, they're their own man, they're not politically correct and say impossibly off-the-wall things!
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez famously said he could still smell the sulfur at the podium when he followed President George W. Bush as a speaker at the U.N. Wait -- did he say that Bush was Satan? At the U.N.? On international live TV? The world was shocked and horrified. But the peasants in Venezuela loved it. He was brash, bold, and he spoke his mind.
5) While the dictator himself is usually rich and powerful, he tirelessly stands up for the regular guy (German, Venezuelan, Russian, etc.) against the "power." He promises jobs and a great future.
6) He's a father figure. A savior. "Trust me. I will take care of you." And like a father, he says: "Don't worry about the details, children. I'm in control."
Adolf Hitler -- the beloved fuhrer. (Father/leader)
6) He codifies his country's fears by honing in on a foreign enemy. This could be Americans, or Jews, or Mexicans, or Muslims.
7) Since they are usually power-crazed super-narcissists who truly feel that they owe nothing to anyone, and they got where they are simply due to their own hard work, and maybe even God's divine plan...once they have the power -- things tend to get out of hand.
And last, and most convincing of all is this:
8) They tend to have very odd fashion sense.
They dress the way they want to, because a) they don't care what anyone else thinks; b) once they attain dictator status, they're surrounded by 'yes' men who are afraid to tell them what they really look like; and c) they truly believe they are the sexiest, most charismatic man who ever walked the planet.
All of his staff has to wear stuffy, boring suits -- but Khadaffi gets to wear this flowing
number and shades! It's good to be dictator!
I always liked this crazy Godfather-esque outfit worn by Saddam Hussein.
What you can't see is the giant rifle he's carrying in his left hand.
North Korea's Kim Jong Il wore the same outfit and glasses from 1987 every
day for 10 years! Let's hope he changed his underwear, at least...
Vladimir Putin. 'Nuff said.
The only possible explanation for this mustache is a woman told him it looked good ONCE and it went straight to his head.
I think you see where I'm going here...
The more outrageous, flamboyant and outspoken Trump gets, the more popular he is in the Republican party.
Our government and election process is becoming more and more corrupt. People on the right and the left are fed up with our political system.
Now, am I saying that Donald Trump is going to become America's first violent dictator? Well, of course not. But if history is correct, he does meet every one of the criteria above.
And, as he constantly reminds us, he has his own money, his own financing.
He does what he wants, he says what he wants.
He's beholden to noone.
Not business. Not the Republicans.
Not evangelicals. Not blue-collar workers.
Not the U.N. or international diplomacy.
Not Fox News.
He's beholden to no-one.
And yet, Republican voters are poised to choose him as their nominee for the Presidency.
Well. Where ARE we going with this, America?