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Audio: Mike Signer, Author of Book on Demagogues, Rips Donald Trump and His Supporters as “Definitively Not OK”


For Charlottesville City Council member, former Democratic LG candidate, author and UVA lecturer Mike Signer’s interview on NPR this morning, see below. For the book on demagogues see here.

In the great majority of the cases, especially when [demagogues] are attacking a constitutional democracy – which is what Trump is – I liken them to an autoimmune disorder, where the body’s defenses turn against itself…the Founding Fathers were extremely worried about demagogues, because basically what [demagogues] do is they create a substate that is accountable to them alone. And that state, by breaking…the rules of government…can grow and grow and grow and ultimately can topple a democracy. That’s what happened in Weimar Germany, where Adolph Hitler came up from the democracy and then attacked the democracy… 

The problem is that [Trump] is now turning on the basic precepts of American constitutional government — freedom of religion, an open society, the state having a monopoly on violence, he’s getting close to encouraging violence…I don’t think it’s ok [for Trump supporters] to say well, I know about the principles of separation of church and state; I know about not having violence in our politics, but I’m going to go with Trump anyway because I’m so angry at the system. It’s not ok; It’s definitively not ok in the United States of America and it needs to be condemned.

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