Liz chaney trump dictator hysteria
© NBC NewsLiz Cheney amping up the "Trump will be a dictator" hysteria on NBC
A new set of anti-Trump talking points has been cropping up in the corporate press recently, warning of the horrors that will come to pass if Trump wins the election. Most of it is shameless fearmongering, but there's something else going on too.

Democrats are afraid that if Trump is elected he'll do to them precisely what they're currently doing to him. When Trump fearmongers in the media cry out with one voice that Trump will weaponize the Justice Department and the courts, rig our elections, and shred the Constitution, it's pure projection. Because that's exactly what they're doing right now in a desperate bid to prevent Trump from winning office again.

It should go without saying that this suddenly ubiquitous media genre is extremely dangerous. As my colleague Mollie Hemingway aptly put it in response to a hysterical Trump-as-dictator piece by Robert Kagan in The Washington Post, you might as well call it "assassination prep."

That's according to their own logic. After all, these people claim the republic itself is at stake and that we're about to descend into autocracy. Liz Cheney went on NBC News over the weekend to flog her new book and warn in dire tones that in a second Trump term there'll be "no guardrails that can stop him." She says if Trump wins he'll become a fascist dictator, never leave office, and plunge the United States into tyranny.

She's not alone in this absurd belief. The prospect of dictator Trump is more or less the entire theme of a new special edition of The Atlantic, ominously titled "If Trump Wins," for which the magazine's writers dutifully churned out two dozen essays fantasizing about the hellscape America will become if Trump is ever allowed back into the Oval Office. Nearly every facet of our national life would be left in ruins, they say, and America will be changed forever.


Comment: As if U.S. society wasn't heading there already.


CNN's Jake Tapper was apparently so scared out of his wits by these essays, he brought some of the writers and editors onto his show to talk about their prognostications of doom for the republic under Trump — including, Tapper said with a straight face, "how women could be targeted" under a Trump "retribution presidency."


Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg replied to Tapper that a second-term Trump would be "bent on revenge," because he "knows how he was thwarted" the first time. Well, yes — but not necessarily in the way Goldberg means it.

Trump was certainly thwarted the first time around — not thwarted in some dictatorial scheme but in the normal exercise of his office. A deeply corrupt media establishment — including the likes of Tapper and Goldberg — worked hand-in-glove with anti-Trump elements in the federal bureaucracy to peddle the Russia-collusion hoax in an unprecedented attempt to oust him from office or, failing that, undermine his presidency. During the 2020 election, many of these same elements succeeded in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story. And after Jan. 6, 2021, they have cheered on the blatant weaponization of the justice system unleashed by Biden and the Democrats.

You almost have to admire the audacity of Democrats actively doing to Trump everything they say Trump will do to them if he regains the White House. You can't get more on-the-nose in this regard than a triple-bylined piece that ran in The New York Times on Monday warning, "Mr. Trump's vow to use the Justice Department to wreak vengeance against his adversaries is a naked challenge to democratic values. Building on how he tried to get prosecutors to go after his enemies while in office, it would end the post-Watergate norm of investigative independence from White House political control."

It's almost like the Times is trolling its readers with this. Surely the reporters and editors behind this laughable piece of agitprop know that this is exactly what the Biden Justice Department and powerful Democrats nationwide are now doing to Trump. The idea that Merrick Garland is some sort of straight-shooting attorney general is a joke. Not one person in America really believes it.

So what do Democrats and their media courtesans do? They lean into the gaslighting, claiming over and over in the most outlandish terms that a second Trump term will bring about everything that's happening now under President Biden.

Why? Because they're desperate. They know that owing to the weakness and corruption and unpopularity of the current president, there's a chance Trump just might win next year. That's why Democrat attorneys general and federal prosecutors want so desperately to convict him of a crime, any crime, and why editors and writers at the Times and The Atlantic will say almost anything to scare voters with horror stories about what will happen if Trump wins.

They also crave power. For people like Cheney and Kagan and Goldberg and every other establishment player, Trump's great crime wasn't anything he did or said on Jan. 6, it was that he won the election in November 2016. That wasn't supposed to happen. Democrats and the permanent regime in Washington were supposed to remain in power forever. Trump had the audacity to win, and they can't let it happen again.

In that effort, they're willing to do and say almost anything. Throughout Trump's stint in office, Democrats, establishment Republicans like Cheney, and nearly every major media outlet worked overtime to trample norms, bend the rules, break various laws, and undermine a duly elected president simply because they were incensed that they weren't in power.

Remember that when they say what Trump will do in a second term. They're doing it right now.
John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Pagan America: the Decline of Christianity and the Dark Age to Come, to be published in March 2024. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.