The demagogic candidate must paint a bleak picture of the status quo, citing every catastrophe and failure before presenting the even darker future ahead if he isn’t granted the power to act, and act now
'I've seen too much of Putin in 16 years and too much of Trump in one. Here's my analysis in the Washington Post of Trump's Putinesque speech and why it works on some of the people, some of the time. Legitimate voter anger and real problems are twisted into a political weapon. I think Americans haven't seen a real demagogue up close in a long time. Unfortunately, Russians have a lot of recent experience with a politician who focuses only on threats and enemies and hate...
In both cases, the intent of the speaker is to elicit the visceral emotions of fear and disgust before relieving them with a cleansing anger that overwhelms everything else. Only the leader can make the fear and disgust go away. The leader will channel your hatred and frustration and make everything better. How, exactly? Well, that’s not important right now.
The demagogic candidate must paint a bleak picture of the status quo, citing every catastrophe and failure before presenting the even darker future ahead if he isn’t granted the power to act, and act now. You might believe a campaigning politician would prefer to evoke positive emotions in prospective voters, but this does not fit the profile of the strongman. Instead of telling people what he will do if they elect him, he threatens them with what will happen if they don’t. The democratic leader needs the people. The tyrant, and the would-be tyrant, insists that the people need him.
The good news is that while I had to watch a lot of Trump to prepare this piece, I also watched Ronald Reagan's 1980 acceptance speech. It made me both happy and a little sad. It was wonderful to see Reagan's cheerful attitude and positive vision for America and the world in troubled times instead of fear-mongering. It also highlighted how far the GOP has fallen in nominating Trump.'