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Growth of populism has consequences

A populist movement has developed in America around the person of Donald Trump. Populism says trust a person to do what is best for the people.

Our American republic is founded on the opposite concept: trust the system, not a person. This is why the words “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” are ingrained in the presidential oath. The founders wanted presidents to be committed to preserving the system, not their own power.

One way a populist consolidates power is to get their supporters to stop thinking. Calling opponents evil, RINOs, or fake news is intended to accomplish just that. When we view people negatively, it is easy to dismiss their ideas. This is what a populist leader wants, for you not to consider the ideas of anyone else, for you to stop thinking and trust them, and them alone.

President Trump demonstrated his commitment not to the system but to his own power when he claimed on election night the election was stolen before any allegations of election fraud had been made, told Justrice Department leaders to just “say the election was corrupt” without evidence, told a Georgia election official to “find” 11,780 votes, told state legislators to replace duly elected Joe Biden electors with Trump electors, conspired to create “fake” slates of electors in seven states, and told Vice President Mike Pence to accept these “fake” electors and declare him the winner. Finally, when Trump’s stolen election narrative culminated in the attack on the Capitol by his supporters, Trump ignored his oath and did nothing to defend the Capitol, Pence, Congress, or the Constitution.

Millions of Trump supporters know nothing of the above facts. Why? Because Trump convinced them to trust him alone and to see all criticism of him as a conspiracy of RINOs, fake news and evil Democrats.

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