How Far Will the Demagogue Go? -

Michael Hammerschlag
9 min readNov 28, 2016

12/19: HRC Lead + 2.865 million 2.1%

This Disaster is the Ultimate Victory of PROPAGANDA:

the unprecedented 25 yr RW slander campaign against the decent honest Clintons, which everyone under 40 has grown up bathed in…. until even liberals and sane people believed some of it. Propaganda WORKS, which every demagogue knows well- Trump reportedly had Adolph’s book of speeches by his bed! Many Repubs think mild-mannered workaholic Hillary is the Anti-Christ, with 15% gone completely around the bend thinking Hillary has had dozens of people killed. Limbaugh, FoxNews, hate radio (on 1200 channel Clear Channel) should have been shut-down when they spewed 75% lies on their talk shows 25 years ago. Campaign manager Bannon was a prime purveyor of these lies (NPR audio). Excellent Johnathan Alter also counts it #1 reason of 7!.

The changing lead was from absentees in CA, OR, WA, UT- they had varying amounts to report- up to 28 days from election . Once she has topped a 2 mil vote lead (final: 2.865 mil, 2.1%), the rise wasn’t just in Hill votes. But the 4 crucial swings (MI,WI,PA,FL) barely budged til the last 2 weeks [now a scant 78K votes in the first 3 or 125K votes in FL + MI would have made Madam President]. According to exit polls, young 18–29 went only 55% Clinton: that number should have been 80%! Thank you, you 103 mil, 43% non-voting couch potatoes and 7.2 mil 3rd Party-voting fools - 917K voted for Johnson/Stein in those 4 states, 251K in MI alone, where Trump’s margin was by 11,000! Stein’s vote alone lost Hillary MI, WI + PA, and recounts in all three could flip 1 or 2- from my experience investigating the FL 2000 debacle multiple mistakes up to 50k are common. With 50-odd voter suppression bills in the +30 Repub controlled states, it’s likely 1 million Dem votes were purged!!

The big question is what will a President Trump do to his critics- This is the most vindictive man on the planet- almost unhinged about punishing critics, who holds grudges for 30 years. People likely to be targeted- prominent Dems, journalists, Repub turncoats + traitors, anyone who blocked any of his plans, any critics anywhere! With the pliant Jeff Session as AG, anyone may be fair game. To do that he will establish some Trump Praetorian guard, under some kind of imaginary ISIS threat or use The Deportation Force (his pal Putin has such a new force- some 400,000 dedicated only to “protecting” him). The Justice Dept + FBI will be completely politicized. They will investigate, bully, terrorize, and destroy ALL of Trump’s “ENEMIES” with the full force of the Federal Gov.. Bush’s Enemies List was 5300, Nixon 400?, Trumps will be 100,000.

Oh, but our hallowed Constitution will prevent that, you say? Tell that to Amb. Joe Wilson, whose wife was outed as a CIA agent and his business destroyed for exposing the fake Niger uranium used to justify the misbegotten Iraq Invasion in NYT. A volunteer force of a million of ORANGE SHIRTS MH©2016 (like the SA) will rise up (be created by reprehensible Bannon or any power-mad supporter) to enforce Donald’s edicts and sow terror among his the Press and his critics, who will quickly be silenced. The Repub Congress will be quickly cowed into multiple bills devolving more + more power to our IL DOUCHE. Soon no one can or will oppose ANYTHING he does. This is the standard playbook for demagogues, and America is as vulnerable as anyone else. Putin has them- the Putin Youth (mine-NYT). Maybe the rational 60% Trumpeteers will be horrified by events, but the 20–30% of the maniacs who would still love Trump if he DID shoot someone on 5th Ave. (Lady Liberty) would cheer it on; among those there are many delusional violent extremists.

Parallels to Germany 1933 are apt- this guy studied under Roy Cohen and they are already talking of a new House Committee on Unamerican Activities (anti-Trump activities). The rule forever was you can’t compare things to Nzi’s but here- YOU HAVE TO. Everything people say about Trump, “He doesn’t mean it… He won’t do the things he claimed… We can control him”, were verbatim phrases from Germany 1932 about Adolph- it was also impossible in cultured Germany- but it destroyed my parents’ world. It was impossible Trump would become the Candidate, it was impossible he could WIN! We are in a post-truth post-rule Trump World, where every standard and rule has been broken. Bush was able to bully and lie us into a tragic Iraq Invasion, Congress approving the strategic lunacy of occupying the heart of Middle East and provoked the death of maybe 2 mil, leading to ISIS, but it’s not discussed, ever. It’s not just Germany, every demagogue has used the same game plan of terror in crippling every Constitutional protection.

A. Trump will issue edicts that massively violate the Constitution, aided and abetted by RW Repubs, who are ecstatic at the massive shredding of the social safety net now possible… but eventually he will go too far, and they will probably impeach him.

B. Do you think shallow virulent lying rabble-rouser Trump will ALLOW HIMSELF to be Impeached + Removed? When he can get 1 million fanatics rioting in the St with a few Tweets? If Hillary had won (which she did without the disenfranchisement, Putin’s hacking, and Comey’s betrayal), those violent mindless rioters would still be in the streets as we speak- there would be recounts in 10 states that would be jimmied as much as necessary to install the Donald. Remember how easy it was to shutdown the 2000 Miami recount, with death threats and murders what would be possible?

C. Who would oppose them, when so many cops and military supported him.. and who would order it? The media first didn’t expose Trump’s incredible chiseling, criminal scams, and explosive 13-year older NYC rape allegations (a Nov 4th press conf. was canceled after alleged death threats), while Hillary’s ridiculous email affair became the Lindbergh kidnapping; now they are basking in a childishly rose-colored embrace of a Trump Presidency.

D. They won’t exterminate the Jews or Gypsies or Catholics- but WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WOULD DO! Surely in rounding up millions of illegals, many would be killed with ICE/Deporters/Police rousting armed brown US citizens. With Bannon or someone like him in charge- once they get a taste for the power (+ profit) of the mob… do you think his Orangeness can just shut it off??????

E. The closest thing we have in history is the election of the brutal populist Andrew Jackson- the country didn’t end or collapse BUT Gov policy was enshrined that led irrevocably to the extermination of the Indians. With 30 min. nuclear vaporization possible, the threat is infinitely greater.

F. We face an existential threat to America from the ORANGE SHIRTS, and from RW structural changes to and sabotage of the entire Gov- they will twist the entire system till Dems can’t win anywhere for 30 years, and the Trumpian Supreme Court will sign off on it! Like appointing voter suppression masterminds like anti-immigrant Kansas SOS Kris Kobach Homeland Security chief, or imbeciles like Sarah Palin.

G. As well there is a real existential threat to US leadership, authority, and management of world crises from Russian subversion- now they have thrown the Presidential election to a neo-traitor… and we still will do… NOTHING!! In the last month Russia has tried to assassinate the head of Montenegro, maybe the head of Serbia. Moldova, Bulgaria, and Estonia have just elected pro-Russian leaders- France will be next since a Thatcherite pro-Russian Fillon (elected Nov 27) will run-off with fascist PutinPal Le Pen! What is Putin’s next act, taking over the Baltics or Ukraine?? He passionately wants a new SU2- that’s what his EurAsian Customs Union was and what caused the twin attacks on Ukraine when they decided against joining. With Trump’s possible betrayal of NATO, it would quickly be rendered irrelevant, and America’s stature evaporate. We must acknowledge after 100 years of deadly conflict and competition, the Kremlin has managed to installed a Fellow Traveler into the White House, and conservative RW Repubs….. helped!!!

H. One of my most trenchant observations in commenting on politics and world events for 4 decades is that available power is always harnessed by somebody- think the pool of 40 mil deluded unpersuadable irredeemable Trumpeteers will stay untapped?

I. We are counting down to when Trump tweets about some journo who infuriates him: “Somebody oughta DO something”, and some of his Trumpanzees go beat the guy into a coma or shoot him. Then he’ll say “STOP IT!” and how sorry he is. But if that happens 2–3 times, including to defiant Congressmen (whose addresses were also exposed by Russian hacking), all criticism will quickly dry up- Americans have no idea how easy it would be to lose our liberty. Soon Congress will enact draconian punishments for disrespecting our tempestuous Nero.

J. Mr Trump’s pathological narcissism and lying; his obsession with punishing enemies (all his Cabinet appointments are designed to destroy every one of BO’s accomplishment, because he was reportedly furious about Obama’s ridicule at a WH Correspondent’s Dinner); his 3 minute attention span, his overweaning ignorance, his staggering record of failure, his admiration of brutal dictators, his careless aggression vs China… all foretell a nightmarish future.

We are entering a dark age, the most perilous days since the Civil War: HATE has won, and a laughably unqualified unstable abusive huckster has become President. European opeds weigh in on the manifest immorality of TPD’s demagogic degeneracy, Carter Graydon itemized the madness of working people electing an oligarch savior, and David Remnick’s exquisite howl of agony at this American Tragedy would be echoed by the Founders. Populist dictators/strongmen now rule in Russia, Philippines, Turkey, Egypt, Hungary, Poland… but Mr. Trump’s election is a huge catastrophe for the world and democracy, and 230 years of hard-won freedom is hanging by a thread.

[Omarosa’s on how we will pay- Colbert.]

Michael Hammerschlag is a journalist whose political commentary and articles have appeared in New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Seattle Times, Providence Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, Honolulu Advertiser, Capital Times, Global Post, Yahoo, Business Insider, Outside, Modern Photography, Intellectual Capital, Media Channel, Scoop; Kiev Post + Weekly, Business Ukraine, PIK in Kiev; and Moscow News, Tribune, Guardian, Times, Novaya Gazeta + We/Mui in Russia. He has produced documentaries on the Presidential campaign, covered 4 campaigns, broken major stories in the 2000 Election scandal, been a TV reporter, and reported from Soviet Union/Russia from ‘91-’94 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as the largest contiguous empire in history came crashing down. He returned to Russia, Ukraine, and Europe from 2007–2015.



Michael Hammerschlag

Michael Hammerschlag spent over 15 years in Russia + Ukraine from 1991 to 2021, articles in NYT, IHT, Prov Journal, Seattle Times, Yahoo, Business Insider, CJR