With less than a week to go until Election Day, Donald Trump is surging in the polls. Whatever the reasons for this — an unexpected assist from FBI Director James Comey, the media’s predictable lust for fake scandals, the electorate’s astonishing tolerance for sexual predation — the net result has been a collective freak-out amongst democrats, progressives, and moderates.
The conventional wisdom on the left is that Trump would be an authoritarian president, a kind of American tyrant. After all, he has promised voters that he (and he alone) will be able to safeguard the homeland from the dark hordes massed along our borders and lurking within them, by any means necessary: mass deportation, torture, nukes.
What’s more, Trump has shown an avowed admiration for foreign despots ranging from Saddam Hussein to Vladimir Putin. Heck, for years he even had a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside.
This line of thinking dramatically (and dangerously) overestimates Trump’s ambitions and aptitudes. For all his strongman rhetoric, President Trump would be much more likely to function as a figurehead.