Citizen Action Monitor

Rise of “populist politicians” in U.S. advances democracy’s decline, says former Trump adviser

Trump will ride his “Big Lie” about “The Stolen Election” right through the 2022 primaries and the 2024 presidential election, says Dr. Fiona Hill. —

No 2789 by fw, October 25, 2021—

Brent Goff – “So, you’re very worried about Donald Trump becoming U.S. president again in 2024. Would that be an ‘Apocalypse Now’ for the U.S.?”

Fiona Hill – “Well unfortunately we’re already in a major constitutional crisis. I mean, I don’t think it’s really escaped the viewers of Deutsche Welle that President Trump claims the election was stolen from him in November 2020. He has refused to recognize Joe Biden — and many members of the Republican Party have done the same — as the legitimately elected president. Basically, Donald Trump is insisting on running again as the candidate for the Republican Party in 2024.”

British-born Russia expert Dr. Fiona Hill talks to DW’s Brent Goff on the German broadcaster’s program, “The Day”, about the danger to US democracy posed by former president Donald Trump, who, like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, has sought to prevent a transfer of power. In sharp contrast to America’s turbulent 2020 election, Hill says Germany’s recent election serves as an example of an orderly democratic change. She also notes how education is becoming a new dividing line with political implications.

Below is my repost of an embedded 14:46-minute video of Brent Goff’s interview of Fiona Hill, along with my abridged 4:00-minute transcript taken from the middle of the exchange. As well, I have added subheadings, highlighted text, and a chronological time marker for the transcript.

And at the bottom of the post, don’t miss an embedded video of Firing Line’s Margaret Hoover’s excellent 26:46-minute interview of Fiona Hill. Russia expert Dr. Hill, a former senior official in Trump’s National Security Council and 2019 impeachment witness, discusses the rise of populism in the U.S. and why she believes her former boss continues to be a threat to American democracy.

Alternatively, to watch the two videos featured in this repost on You Tube click on their respective linked titles below.

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Why Fiona Hill is worried about a return of Donald Trump in 2024 by DW News / You Tube, October 20, 2021

ABRIDGED TRANSCRIPT

3:30 – Brent Goff – Let’s talk about you for a moment. You are a coal miner’s daughter from the UK who has lived the American Dream – you went to Harvard, became a Russian specialist, worked at the U.S. National Security Council, became an advisor to a U.S. president [Trump] – yet, in your book, you write this:

I am a fluke. My story is the exception that proves the rule of class or socioeconomic immobility in the early twenty-first century.”

How so?

Education is no longer the door to opportunity in Western societies

3:33 – Fiona Hill – Well, I could have said the same about the twentieth century as well because that’s actually when I started most of my career rise. But I think we’re seeing more and more in Western societies, in the United States and the United Kingdom, where I’m from, and to some degree in Germany and other countries, too, that education is no longer the door to opportunity for a job, or a career, that it used to be.

Education has become a new kind of class dividing line

In fact, in the United States, particularly now, education, either finishing high school or going on to further education into a university, has become more of a predictor of how you will vote and how you look at the world than anything else. It’s kind of become the new class dividing line.

In the U.S. and U.K. education has become a political dividing line

Whereas I, myself, from basically growing up in the United Kingdom when I did in the 60s, 70s and 80s, had every advantage of an education opening up doors for the future. And I think that obviously in places like Germany, for example, education has still got a very strong emphasis. But increasingly in the United States and in the United Kingdom, there’s kind of an expectation that social mobility will no longer come through education as it did before. So, education again is this new dividing line for our societies and is having political implications.

Hill foresees the rise of “populist politicians” in the U.S. leading to “democratic demise”

4:52 – Brent Goff – Yeah, and you’re worried about the future of liberal democracies, especially the future of the United States. You also write in your book that the current political poison, if you will, “… will keep on empowering the political extremes, reinforcing the polarizing appeal of populist* politicians. And you say it will make the traumas of the four years from 2016 to 2020 seem like a preface, rather than a postscript, to the United States’ democratic demise.” [*Modern populism has become far more popular in recent years, a type of populism whereby the focus is no longer on the general population protesting against the masses, as was the origins of populism, but is instead is focused on more political polarization, whereby a simple majority is the goal of politicians and thus leads to the ‘tyranny of the majority’ so they do not focus on appeasing opposing politics, but reinforce their own base. Moffitt argues that modern day populists, such as Donald Trump garner support by radically simplifying the terms of the crises and discussing them in terms of emergency politics, whilst offering a short-term response – appealing to the general public and setting such populists apart from the establishment.]

Would the election of Trump in 2024 be “Apocalypse Now” for the U.S.?

So, you’re very worried about Donald Trump becoming U.S. president again in 2024. Would that be an “Apocalypse Now” for the U.S.?

The U.S. is already in a major constitutional crisis

5:30 – Fiona HillWell unfortunately we’re already in a major constitutional crisis. I mean, I don’t think it’s really escaped the viewers of Deutsche Welle that President Trump claims the election was stolen from him in November 2020. He has refused to recognize Joe Biden – and many members of the Republican Party have done the same – as the legitimately elected president. Basically, Donald Trump is insisting on running again as the candidate for the Republican Party in 2024.

Trump continues to follow the dictates of the Authoritarian’s Handbook

He’s asked all kinds of questions about the validity of not just the presidential election but the whole electoral system, democracy overall. I mean you’re showing images here of President Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin. I write in the book that Trump has taken out, in many respects, some of the authoritarian’s handbook. [For example] –

    • There’s an effort underway to try to repress voting in the United States, deny voting to people to make it much more difficult.
    • There’s the nationalization of politics at the local and state levels, which we didn’t used to see in the United States.

Trump will ride his “Big Lie” about “The Stolen Election” through the 2022 primaries and the 2024 presidential election

And the biggest problem right now is the big lie about the 2020 election. And also what happened on January 6 in the United States – where I’m sure it was very shocking for Deutsche Welle and other viewers to see a mob storming the U.S. Capitol building and trying to stop the legitimate transfer of executive power and the certification of the votes from the 2020 election. And that mob was even threatening to hang Vice President Pence who was doing his constitutional role in certifying the election.

I mean it’s been a shocking last several months, and more that a year now, I think, for most observers outside of the United States, let alone for those of us inside.

7:23 – Brent Goff – Yeah, I think, for people looking from outside, it’s shocking to think that the future of the United States may definitely include Donald Trump once again.

***** At this point, Goff shifts the focus of the interview to future prospects for Vladimir Putin. I end my abridged transcript. The full interview ends at 14:46 *****

SEE RELATED

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover interviews Dr. Fiona Hill, PBS / You Tube, October 22, 2021 (27-minutes) — Russia expert Dr. Fiona Hill, a former senior official in Trump’s National Security Council and 2019 impeachment witness, discusses the rise of populism in the U.S. and why she believes her former boss continues to be a threat to American democracy.

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