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

In the United States, a hate crime is defined as 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]. Hate crimes make up a fraction of all hate incidents (or "acts of hate"), which also include non-prosecutable offenses.

Hate Incidents After the Election

  • 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. Additionally, two Jewish cemeteries were vandalized.[3][4]


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


  • Some states have substantially higher rates of hate incidents than others. Hate incidents have been significantly more likely to occur in areas with higher levels of income inequality.

  • 70% of teenagers witnessed an increase in bullying, hate speech, or harassment since the election, according to survey research. The most common factors linked to bullying were race, sexual orientation, and immigration status.[8]
  • Calls, texts and instant messages to the Trevor Project LGBT+ crisis help line increased dramatically since the election, indicating a higher level of emotional distress among LGBT+ youth.[9]
  • 90% of teachers, counselors and school administrators surveyed reported that the school climate had been negatively affected by the election, and 80% reported "heightened anxiety on the part of marginalized students."[10]

Hate Incidents During the Campaign

  • Huffington Post tracked 400 incidents of Muslims in America being attacked, threatened, scapegoated, and profiled, seeing their places of worship vandalized and their faith denigrated in 2016.[11] They also found that Trump supporters attacked, harassed, or plotted to kill Muslims at least 13 times during the election cycle.
  • From November 2015 to November 2016, South Asian Americans Leading Together documented 207 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Arab, Sikh, Hindu, and Middle Eastern Americans in an online public database, a 34% increase in less than a third of the time covered in their 2011–2014 report.[12] An astounding 95% of incidents were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment.[13] Notably, President Trump reportedly inspired one in five (21%) xenophobic political statements SAALT documented.[14]

Tracking Hate Crimes

  • In response to the observed increase in hate crimes, the Southern Poverty Law Center launched the #ReportHate site to gather reports of harassment or other criminal activities with explicitly hateful or biased motives.
  • ProPublica is also working to track hate crimes that you can help report/document.
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice is tracking hate crimes targeted at the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
  • The Huffington Post is tracking bomb threats made against Jewish community centers.
  • See also Crisis Resources for more information on hate crimes.


What is Authoritarianism?

Authoritarianism is a form of government that enforces or advocates strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom. This kind of government uses military threats, suppression of a free press, and disinformation to manage the people over whom it rules.[15]

Is our current government an authoritarian system?

No. Even though the Executive (President and federal agencies) and Legislative (Congress) branches of the federal government are governed by the same party, the Judicial branch (courts) should provide a way for people to challenge the government's attempts at infrigement on personal freedoms.[16] The federal government's power is also limited by the fact that states and local governments have powers that the federal government does not, as set forth in the Constitution.[17]

What’s the difference between an authoritarian and totalitarian state?

"The authoritarian state still maintains a certain distinction between state and society. It is only concerned with political power and as long as that is not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty. Totalitarianism, on the other hand, invades private life and asphyxiates it. Another distinction is that 'authoritarianism is not animated by utopian ideals in the way totalitarianism is. It does not attempt to change the world and human nature.'"—Radu Cinpoes, Nationalism and Identity in Romania: A History of Extreme Politics from the Birth of the State to EU Accession, p. 70

What can you do to fight authoritarianism?

  • Do not obey in advance. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates their taking away freedoms.
  • Defend institutions. Follow the courts or the media, or a newspaper. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They will collapse unless each is defended from the beginning.
  • Recall professional ethics. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers willing to cooperate, and it is hard to have show trials without judges who go along with them.
  • When listening to politicians, look for words such as “extremism” and “terrorism.” Get angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.
  • Be calm if the unthinkable arrives. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power and the end of opposition parties is the oldest trick in the (Hitlerian) book. Don’t fall for it.
  • Be kind to our language. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey what you think everyone else is saying.
  • Stand out. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom.
  • Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.
  • Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you.
  • Practice corporeal politics. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.
  • Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust.
  • Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them.
  • Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. Vote in local and state elections.
  • Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up auto-pay. You will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society by helping others doing something good.
  • Establish a private life. Run malware removal programs on your computer. Remember, email is skywriting. Resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.
  • Learn from other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. Make sure you and your family have current passports.
  • Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.
  • If you are armed, be reflective. Know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no.
  • Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, all of us will die in unfreedom.
  • Be a patriot. Set a good example of what America means for generations to come.

(From Fighting authoritarianism: 20 lessons from the 20th century, by Jason Kottke.}

Experts in authoritarianism advise you to keep a list of things that change around you, so you'll remember. Here is an example.

Further Reading

See also Essential Readings on Authoritarianism.

Threats to Democracy

Trump's administration has already taken a number of actions that threaten to undermine American political norms and democratic institutions. These include the following.

Undermining Political Institutions

  • 3/9/17: Office of Government Ethics reject White House claim that "many" Office of Government Ethics rules don’t apply to the president’s staff. "The assertion is incorrect."[18]
  • 2/12/17: Senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller firmly declared that Donald Trump's power as the president is beyond question.[19]
  • 2/12/17: Trump and senior White House officials have doubled down on unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, including the claim that thousands of voters were bused into New Hampshire to illegally cast ballots in the presidential election.[20][21]
  • 2/7/17: Trump threatens to destroy a state senator's career.[22]
  • 2/7/17: Senate Republicans ruled that any Democrat that criticizes Jeff Sessions's record will be stripped of the right to speak. Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) ended up being silenced during the Sessions debate by Senator McConnell, Senate Majority Leader.[23]
  • Former Hawaii House Minority leader Beth Fukumoto says she was told to stop criticizing President Trump.[24]
  • 2/6/17: Ordinary Americans (in this case, federal workers) have already begun carrying out authoritarian acts.
  • President Trump fired Sally Yates, acting Attorney General, for refusing to enforce his executive order on immigration and refugees, also known as the Muslim Ban. He has thereby undermined the Attorney General's ability to make independent determinations about legal issues.[25] Trump subsequently appointed Dana Boente as Acting Attorney General; he immediately overturned Yates's decision. Boente said in a statement that he will enforce the ban.[26]

Undermining Rule of Law

  • 2/4/17: Trump called out, insulted (in a tweet) and tried to undermine the judge who put a halt to the Muslim ban.[27]. Further, Trump asserted that his ban was constitutional and that the court "second guesses" the President's national security judgment.[28] With his assertions, Trump is trying to interfere with judicial independence (Article III of the Constitution).[29]
  • Trump says California is "Out of Control" and threatened to pull federal funds. This was in response to California's offering sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.[30] Trump's threat would violate the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution.[31]

Undermining the First Amendment

Freedom of Speech

  • On January 20, 2017, five (5) hours after taking the oath of office, Trump filed with the FEC for 2020 reelection. An implication of this filing completely changes how nonprofits can speak about him. 501c3 organizations will not be able campaign (or speak negatively about him), or they risk losing nonprofit status. Political maneuvering such as this undermines free speech when it comes to criticizing the presidency.[32] The @altFEC Twitter account clarified a couple of points. Despite the filing, Trump's actions may be opposed by individuals and those gathered in groups (e.g., nonprofits). The First Amendment still applies; however, it will be necessary to stick to the issues and avoid calling him by name. Use of "White House" or "Executive Branch" might be acceptable. Either way, nonprofits' ability to criticize the President has been undermined by the January 20 filing.[33]
  • Trump suggested that like-minded rich individuals purchase independent news outlets to control or silence criticism.[34]
  • Canadians traveling to the Women's March in DC from Canada were denied entry into the US after sharing their plans.[35]
  • Trump openly encouraged foreign adversaries to attack a political opponent.[36]
  • Trump threatened to jail his political opponent.[37]
  • Republican lawmakers in five states have been emboldened to propose bills criminalizing protest.[38] This has since increased to 10 states.[39]
  • The White House website mischaracterizes protest, stating that "Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter."[40]
  • Trump plans to eliminate federal funding for the National Endowment of Humanities and the National Endowment of Arts, claiming they cost too much. NEH and NEA make up $296 million in the $4 trillion budget.[41]
  • On Inauguration Day, more than 200 protestors were arrested.[42]
  • Members of the State Department have been registering criticism of the current Muslim ban via the secure "Dissent Channel." This channel (established during the Vietnam War) allows members to raise concerns with upper management about the direction of US foreign policy, without fear of retribution. Press Secretary Sean Spicer, upon hearing of the dissent cable, was immediately dismissive and stated, "I think they should get with the program or they can go."[43]
  • The US District Attorney of DC and DC police subpoenaed Facebook for account data on numerous inauguration protesters.[44]

Freedom of the Press

  • 2/24/17: Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press gaggle, a press session in the office of the Press Secretary without cameras, and blocked access to major mainstream media outlets, including CNN, the New York Times, the LA Times, and Politico, while inviting far-right/alt-right media outlets Breitbart and the Washington Times. The Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the briefing in protest.[45]
  • Press Secretary Sean Spicer lied to the press in his first official statement after emphasizing to students at the University of Chicago how critical integrity is to press relations.[46][47]
  • Trump paid staffers to cheer for him at his first press conference in months.[48]
  • White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has called the media the "opposition party." He has said that they have no power and that they should keep their mouths shut.[49]
  • Several journalists who were observers during the Inauguration were arrested and charged with the most serious level of offense (felony) under the District of Columbia’s law against rioting.[50].
  • 1/29/17: Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to the president, continued the administration’s attack against the media by claiming that network television reporters and commentators who “talked smack” about Trump before the election should be fired. She accused the media of focusing too much attention on her attempt the previous week to defend press secretary Sean Spicer, who flagrantly lied to reporters—by claiming he was stating “alternative facts.”[51]
  • The White House refuses to put officials on the air at CNN, calling them "fake news"[52] because they don't "promote" the Trump agenda.[53].
  • A White House official has said that they will continue to invoke "fake news" until the media realizes its attitude of attacking the president is wrong.[54]
  • Trump again called out CNN as being "fake news" when he accused Chris Cuomo of failing to call out Rep. Blumenthal on his misrepresentation of his military records. CNN responded with a video of that interview, where that was literally the first point made by Cuomo in the interview.[55]
  • According to a report by CNN (and subsequently, other news outlets), US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier about Trump compiled by a former British intelligence agent. In response to this, Press Secretary Spicer commented, "We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting."[56]
  • Over the weekend of February 11 to 12, the windows housing the journalist pool at Mar a Lago were blacked out and they were prohibited from taking pictures of Trump's golf vacation.[57]
  • 2/13/17: A journalist says that Omarosa Manigault, Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison, bullied her and mentioned a "dossier" on her. This journalist also said Manigault made verbal threats and asserted that this journalist was among several on whom Trump officials had collected “dossiers” of negative information.[58]

Freedom of Religion

  • President Trump's Muslim ban executive order prioritized admitting Christian refugees to the US.[59]
  • President Trump said he plans to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from engaging in political activity at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status.[60]

Undermining Political Norms


  • Trump has refused to releasing his tax returns, despite this being customary for candidates for president.[61]
  • GOP senators changed the rules to push through nominees after Democrats boycotted proceedings.[62]
  • The White House comment line has been shut down. New signatures aren’t being counted on petitions posted on the White House’s website. Federal agencies are not allowed to respond to requests. Transcripts, executive orders and news releases aren’t being posted online. Government social media accounts, including Flickr, Pinterest and Tumblr, are no longer in use. Sending information to the Federal Register, the daily journal of the US government, is delayed.[63]
  • The FBI will no longer accept Freedom of Information Act requests by email. They will only accept faxed requests or requests sent by mail.[64]
  • The Department of the Interior was ordered to shut down the Twitter accounts of the National Park Service after the account noted the small size of the Inauguration crowd. The accounts have since been reactivated.[65]
  • The EPA has been handed a media blackout—affecting "news releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts"—and has been barred from awarding any new grants or contracts.[66] The EPA has also been ordered to remove the Climate Change page from its website, which contains links to scientific global warming research as well as detailed data on emissions.[67]
  • Multiple federal agencies were told to halt external communication with members of Congress and the press. These agencies include Health and Human Services, the EPA, and the Department of Agriculture, which also includes the USDA.[68]
  • Large portions of the website and data for the Disability Compendium (which is used to track disability stats), which is funded by Health and Human Services and run by the University of New Hampshire, have disappeared.[69]
  • Thousands of documents detailing animal welfare violations nationwide have been removed from the website of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These include the inspection records and annual reports for every commercial animal facility in the US—including zoos, breeders, factory farms, and laboratories.[70]
  • The Trump administration stripped 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.[71]
  • A US Department of Education website giving educators and families advice on federal disability law has disappeared.[72]

Peaceful Transition of Power

  • Before his election, Trump refused to commit to accepting the results of the election.[73]

Changes in Public Opinion
Changes in Public Opinion


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

  • Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity makes a victim question their reality in order to gain more power. It is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realize how much they've been brainwashed.[74].

Some techniques of gaslighting:[75]

  • The telling of blatant lies, such as that Trump's was the biggest Electoral College victory in history. (Check out Elections.)
  • Denial that something was said, even though you have proof. (See Undermining the Press.)
  • The gaslighter's actions do not match their words. (Check out Foreign Policy / Global Security.)
  • The gaslighter exploits confusion, knowing that it weakens people. (See Immigration and Muslim Ban / Registry.)
  • They tell you that everyone else is a liar: The CIA determined that Russia interfered with the election, and Trump dismissed the story and attacked the CIA. (See Russia/Hacking.)

Further reading: