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Sun May 21, 2017, 02:27 PM

Who are the most reviled leaders in U.S./world history, and where will Trump fall?

Whenever I've engaged with Trump people, and it's very rare that I do, I've made the claim that they are on the wrong side of history. That in 20 years, when most of his core supporters have died off, Trump will be one of those rare figures in history that nobody will ever admit to having supported him - at least in the more civilized parts of the country.

But I really don't know who to compare him to. Nixon is the easiest comparison, but I think that's too generous. Nixon essentially lost his mind near the end, but he was a exceptionally smart guy. And he did sign of on some pretty progressive actions, even if he did so to coopt the issue and prevent a move further left. Comparing Trump to Nixon just seems too kind.

On the flip side, I'm not sure we want to put him alongside some of the more notorious dictators of all time, like Hitler or Stalin. There's no doubt in my mind, that Trump's policies and actions will harm scores of people, and ultimately lead to needless suffering and death, but that's a very different story from ordering the deaths of millions of people.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

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Reply Who are the most reviled leaders in U.S./world history, and where will Trump fall? (Original post)
Bleacher Creature May 2017 OP
muriel_volestrangler May 2017 #1
Bleacher Creature May 2017 #5
Glorfindel May 2017 #2
smirkymonkey May 2017 #3
Bleacher Creature May 2017 #4
bluecollar2 May 2017 #6
leftstreet May 2017 #7

Response to Bleacher Creature (Original post)

Sun May 21, 2017, 02:49 PM

1. That sounds roughly right, so far

Yes, I think he's the worst American leader ever. Nixon was just as willing to use underhand methods, but understood politics. He did stay in control, until everything collapsed. That had some awful effects (prolonging the Vietnam War), but also preserved the way the American politics was designed to run, until it decided to get rid of him. The competency vacuum you now have means you have no idea who will be able to get what stupid/corrupt/evil policies enacted, or when the system will be able to stop it (probably by 2020, but a lot can go wrong in 4 years).

In world terms, he doesn't have the physical hatred of people to commit genocide or ignore the deaths of millions, so he's not as bad as Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao or Stalin, or various kings from further back.

He's worse than Berlusconi, because while Berlusconi had just as big an ego, and was just as sexist and nationalistic, Trump is more bigoted against foreigners, and less intelligent. Plus Berlusconi was only in charge of Italy, not the world's largest nuclear power. He may be as bad as Mussolini; on the plus side, he doesn't have a genocidal maniac to team up with; on the minus side, he has those nuclear weapons. The same argument goes for a comparison with Franco.

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia might be comparable; men in charge of world powers without the competency to run them, or the humility to get someone trustworthy to do it. Disaster followed, though the really bad stuff was caused by their successors. A warning from history.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #1)

Sun May 21, 2017, 09:08 PM

5. I think your analysis is spot on.

We've never really had this degree of anger/bigotry and ignorance. In fact, our more bigoted presidents have also been some of the brightest (Wilson, Jackson). We're definitely in uncharted territory. It would actually be really fascinating if it weren't so terrifying at the same time.

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Response to Bleacher Creature (Original post)

Sun May 21, 2017, 03:22 PM

2. Juan Peron, Idi Amin, Nicolae Ceaucescu, and Benito Mussolini come to mind

Strutting, arrogant, dictators who were brutal yet ignorant and ineffectual and came to bad ends. May the same be true for Trump!

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Response to Glorfindel (Reply #2)

Sun May 21, 2017, 03:49 PM

3. That's a very good list.

Spot on. Ceausescu was one of the first people who came to mind for me. We all know how that ended up.

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Response to Glorfindel (Reply #2)

Sun May 21, 2017, 08:32 PM

4. This is a great list. Thanks!

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Response to Bleacher Creature (Original post)

Sun May 21, 2017, 09:45 PM

6. Augusto Pinochet?...n/t

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Response to Bleacher Creature (Original post)

Sun May 21, 2017, 09:50 PM

7. He could end up pitied more than reviled

The more he unravels the less he seems like any sort of 'leader'

Just a socially disordered, not-too-bright loser

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