Societal Consequences of Trumpism

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This is a collaborative knowledge base; feel free to propose edits/additions that you believe are important for others to know. Contributions will be reviewed and approved based on quality and accuracy.

Hate Crimes / Incidents
Hate Crimes / Incidents
[edit]

In the United States, a hate crime is a crime committed against a person (or a person's property) because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. The official definition is a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”[1] Only some "hate incidents" (or "acts of hate") are actually considered hate crimes.

Hate Incidents After the Election[edit]

  • There has been a spike in hate crimes and hate-related incidents following the election.[2]
  • More than 160 bomb threats were made to more than 60 Jewish community centers in the first two months of 2017. At least two Jewish cemeteries were vandalized.[3][4]

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  • 1,094 hate incidents were reported in the month following the election, including 220 incidents just on November 9, 2016.[5] 37% of these incidents included a Trump-related reference.
  • Anti-immigrant and anti-black hate incidents were the most frequent.[6]

Hatecrimemotivation.png

  • Some states have much higher rates of hate incidents than others. Hate incidents are much more likely to happen in areas with higher gaps between the rich and poor.
    [7]
    Haterates.png


  • 70% of teenagers have seen an increase in bullying, hate speech, or harassment since the election, according to a survey. Bullying was most likely to be connected to race, sexual orientation, and immigration status.[8]
  • Calls, texts and instant messages to the Trevor Project LGBT+ crisis help line have risen greatly since the election, showing that LGBTQ+ youth have been emotionally affected by the election.[9]
  • In a survey, 90% of teachers, counselors and school administrators said that that their school had been negatively affected by the election, and 80% said that marginalized students at their schools have become more anxious.[10]

Tracking Hate Crimes[edit]

Many organizations have started tracking hate crimes, because hate crimes have increased so much. See Crisis Resources for information on reporting a hate crime, and tips for responding to hate crimes. See Tools of Resistance for advice on how to respond to a hate incident if you see one happening.

Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism
[edit]

What is authoritarianism?[edit]

Authoritarianism is a form of government that forces people to obey authority (the government or person/people in power) and limits their personal freedom. This kind of government uses the military, limits the free press, and spreads false information to manage the people it rules.[11]

Is our current government authoritarian?[edit]

No. Even though the Republican Party controls both the Executive (President and federal agencies) and Legislative (Congress) branches of the federal government, the Judicial branch (courts) are independent, and should defend people's personal freedom.[12] State and local governments also have a lot of power, and have some powers that the federal government doesn't.[13]

What can you do to fight authoritarianism?[edit]

  • Jason Kottke has created a list of ways you can personally fight authoritarianism. This includes defending freedom of the press and the courts, staying calm, and staying informed--among many other useful, concrete actions.
  • Experts in authoritarianism recommend keeping a list of things that change around you, so that you'll remember what's "normal" and what's not. Activist Amy Siskind has been keeping such lists since the election.

Further Reading[edit]

See also Essential Readings, especially the sections on authoritarianism and Trumpsim.

Authoritarianism
Threats to Democracy
[edit]

Trump's administration has already done many things that go against American political norms and democratic institutions.

Undermining Political Institutions and Rule of Law[edit]

  • 5/30/17: President Trump has told foreign leaders that they can call him on his cell phone. This would be a huge security issue.[14]
  • 5/11/17: Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, probably because Comey was investigating the Trump team.[15] See our [[Russian_Interference_in_American_Politics|Russia page] for more information.
  • 5/5/17: The Environmental Protection Agency has fired many of its employees. Administrator Scott Pruitt, who does not believe in climate change, is looking for new scientific advisers.[16]
  • 3/9/17: The White House said that "many" Office of Government Ethics rules don’t apply to the president’s staff. The Office said that this was not true.[17]
  • 2/12/17: Senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller said that Donald Trump's power as the president is beyond question.[18]
  • 2/12/17: Trump and senior White House officials are still insisting that there was voter fraud in the presidential election. They claimed that thousands of voters were bused into New Hampshire to illegally cast ballots in the presidential election. None of this is supported by facts.[19][20]
  • 2/7/17: Trump threatened to destroy the career of a state senator.[21]
  • 2/7/17: Senate Republicans decided that any Democrat who criticizes Attorney General Jeff Sessions's record will lose their right to speak at Sessions's confirmation hearing. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts ended up being silenced during the Sessions debate.[22]
  • Former Hawaii House Minority leader Beth Fukumoto says she was told to stop criticizing President Trump.[23]
  • 2/6/17: Trump threatened to stop giving federal money to California. This was because California gives sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.[24] Trump's threat would violate the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution.[25]
  • 2/4/17: Over Twitter, Trump insulted the judge who stopped his Muslim ban.[26] Trump also said that the ban was constitutional and that the court is "second-guessing" his judgment.[27] Trump is trying to interfere with the independence of the courts, which is an important part of the Constitution.
  • 1/30/17: Trump fired Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General, because she would not enforce his Muslim Ban. This means Trump does not believe the Attorney General has the right to make independent decisions—which is the main point of that job.[28] Trump then appointed Dana Boente as Acting Attorney General, who immediately overturned Yates's decision.[29]

Undermining the First Amendment[edit]

Freedom of Speech

  • 6/6/17: Over 200 people were charged with rioting at Trump’s Inauguration. Many were charged with things including rioting, conspiracy, and property destruction, but their lawyers say they were just using their First Amendment right to protest.[30]
  • 6/6/17: Trump uses Twitter constantly, and the Knight First Amendment Institute has said that it is unconstitutional for Trump to block people on Twitter. Trump often blocks people who disagree with him.[31]
  • 6/6/17: Reality Winner, a contractor for the National Security Agency, was charged under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information. Winner sent a report about Russian hacking into the US election to the newspaperThe Intercept.[32] Basically, Winner was charged for talking to a journalist, which undermines the First Amendment. Authoritarian governments very often charge their political enemies with crimes. Trump said that the leak threatened national security, but Winner also has a right to freedom of speech, and charging her might be unhealthy for our democracy.
  • 5/3/17: During Attorney General Sessions's Senate confirmation hearing in January, activist Desiree Fairooz laughed when a Senator claimed that Sessions had a history of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” She was then escorted out by police. Prosecutors now have pushed a case against Fairooz, saying her laughter was “disorderly and disruptive conduct.” Fairooz has been convicted of a crime.[33]
  • 5/3/17: Tim Cash, Chief of Digital Strategy at the National Park Service, said that Trump contacted the National Park Service and asked who had Tweeted a comparison of Trump and Obama’s inaugurations.[34]
  • 1/30/17: People who work for the State Department have been criticizing Trump's Muslim ban using a secure system to express dissent. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that such people should "get with the program" or quit.[35]
  • 1/29/17: Trump suggested that rich people who agree with him should buy independent news media to control criticism.[36]
  • 1/23/17: Leaders in at least eight states have proposed laws that would make protesting a crime. This may violate the Constitution.[37]
  • 1/20/17: A few hours after being sworn in as president, Trump registered as a candidate for president in 2020. This limits how nonprofits can speak about him, because nonprofits cannot be involved in political campaigning. This undermines free speech because it might limit people's ability to criticize Trump.[38][39]
  • 1/20/17: More than 200 protestors were arrested at Trump's inauguration.[40]

Freedom of the Press

  • 6/13/17: Reporters will no longer be allowed to film or record interviews in the Senate side hallways of the Capitol building without approval from senators, the Senate Rules Committee, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, or the Senate Radio and TV Gallery.[41]
  • 5/31/17: The Justice Department has gotten a warrant to electronically spy on journalists who have gotten leaked documents.[42]
  • 5/10/17: Russian media was allowed in Trump’s meeting with Russian foreign minister Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Kislyak, but US media was not.[43]
  • 5/9/17: Dan Heyman, a journalist from Public News Service, was arrested by West Virginia police for asking Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price questions. He was arrested for causing a disturbance because he was shouting the questions.[44]
  • 5/5/17: The Federal Communications Commission is thinking about what to do (considering how to “take the appropriate action,” in their words) against Stephen Colbert for his comment on his TV show about a sexual act between Trump and Putin.[45]
  • 5/5/17: CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC have chosen to not air an ad about Trump’s first 100 days in office that used the term “fake news.”[46] CNN said that the mainstream media is not “fake news.”[47]
  • 2/24/17: Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press session in his office without cameras, and would not allow some mainstream media to enter—including CNN, the New York Times, the LA Times, and Politico. He did allow far-right/alt-right media, including Breitbart and the Washington Times.[48]
  • 2/13/17: Journalist April Ryan says that Omarosa Manigault, who works in communications for the Trump administration, bullied her and mentioned a "dossier" of information on her. Ryan said Manigault told her that Trump also has collections of negative information about several other journalists.[49]
  • 2/11/17: Trump spent the weekend with the Japanese prime minister at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida. He blacked out the windows of the house where the journalists stayed and would not allow them to take pictures over the weekend, even though he was on official business[50]
  • 1/31/17: The Trump administration will not allow CNN to interview White House officials on air, saying that CNN is "fake news."[51]
  • 1/29/17: Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to the president, said that TV reporters and commentators who “talked smack” about Trump before the election should be fired.
  • 1/26/17: White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has called the media the "opposition party." He has said that they should keep their mouths shut.[52]
  • 1/23/17: Several journalists who were observers during Trump's Inauguration were arrested and charged with a felony (the most serious level of crime) under Washington, DC's law against rioting.[53]

Freedom of Religion

  • President Trump's Muslim ban executive order would make it easier for Christian refugees than Muslim refugees to get into the US.[54]
  • President Trump said he plans to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which does not allow churches to engage in political activity if they are exempt from paying taxes.[55]

Undermining Political Norms[edit]

Transparency

  • 6/5/17: Democrats have said that the White House has ignored their oversight requests. [56] An oversight request (that is filed by the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) asks for information about federal agencies, their activities, and implementing policies.[57]
  • 5/31/17: Trump has given at least 16 White House staffers ethic waivers. These waivers allow the staff to work on policy matters they worked on in previous jobs, when they were lobbyists or worked in the private sector.[58] Trump promised to reduce lobbyists' influence when he was campaigning, but this decision contradicts that promise.[59]
  • 5/19/17: Trump’s lawyers did not want him to sign his 2016 financial disclosure, which would certify that the information is true. But the Office of Government Ethics insisted he sign them, which is normal for financial disclosures. [60]
  • 5/5/17: House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) told government agencies not to obey Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about their communication with him. Congress does not have to disclose information under FOIA.[61]
  • 2/6/17: The FBI will no longer accept Freedom of Information Act requests by email. They will only accept faxed requests or requests sent by mail.[62]
  • 1/21/17: The Department of the Interior was told to shut down the National Park Service's Twitter account. This was because the NPS retweeted a photo that showed that more people had come to Obama's inauguration than Trump's. The account was reactivated, and the NPS apologized on Twitter.
  • 1/24/17: The EPA has been told to stop communicating with the media and posting on their blogs and social media.[63]
  • 1/24/17: Federal agencies including Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Agriculture were told to stop speaking with the press and Congress.[64]


  • The Trump administration stripped healthcare.gov of details about the health care law's insurance reforms and coverage expansions, as well as entire sections detailing the law's impact on costs, coverage, and care. Some pages, including some that explain emergency-room access and doctor choice, have been removed entirely.[65]
  • A US Department of Education website giving educators and families advice on federal disability law has disappeared.[66]
  • Trump broke more presidential norms when he discussed US interest rates and the strength of the dollar in an interview. Past presidents didn't discuss these in order to avoid possibly destabilizing global markets or compromising the independence of the Federal Reserve.[67]
  • EPA Open Data, a database of EPA information, was scheduled to be shut down on April 28, 2017, but remains open for now. Climate change information has been removed, but all other data appears to be intact.[68]

Other Norms

  • The Trump team has removed data and information from many government websites. This includes references to climate change,[69] information about LGBTQ+ rights,[70], and information about animal rights and violations.[71]
  • 2/1/17: Republican senators changed Senate rules to push Cabinet nominees to a full Senate vote. Democrats had boycotted committee meetings, but Republicans changed the rules so Democrats didn't have to be at the meetings.[72]
  • 10/30/16: Trump has refused to release his tax returns, even though candidates for president almost always do so.[73]
  • 10/10/16: During his campaign, Trump said that if he became president, he might try to have Hillary Clinton, his opponent, put in jail.[74]
  • 7/27/16: During his campaign, Trump said in a public speech that he hoped the Russians would hack Hillary Clinton's email. This means that he was asking a foreign power to attack his political opponent.[75]

Peaceful Transition of Power

  • Before his election, Trump said that if Hillary Clinton won, he might not accept the results of the election.[76]

Changes in Public Opinion
Changes in Public Opinion
[edit]

Gaslighting[edit]

What is gaslighting, and how does this become a normal part of society?

  • Gaslighting is when a person tries to get more power by making their victim question their reality. Abusers and dictators often use this technique. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realize what is going on.[77].

Some techniques of gaslighting:[78]

Further reading: