7/16/18: Just to say that Fascism with American Characteristics (FwAC) has taken some historic steps forward.
With the nomination and likely appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court numerous hard fought rights — voting rights, and the right to abortion — are threatened and will be turned back.
In his meeting with Western European leaders, Trump has made it clear he regards them more as foes than as friends. (He feels something of the same enmity for American intelligence services, not to mention the American press.)
For friendship, for ideological kinship, Trump bonds with Putin and through him with all the lesser demon/despots now asserting themselves throughout what looked like a newly democratic European sphere.
How can this be?
It's possible that Putin has the goods on Trump and his family, which is what holds Trump in thrall. This can't be dismissed but seems to me far too simplistic, too — and as it were —reductionist.
Let me propose another way of looking at it: Putin has power, the power of newly minted twenty-first century autocracy, a horror with no settled name yet. It is, to be sure, Stalinism without Stalin, Hitlerism without Hitler. It is the thing itself, aspiring to absolute power and without all the ideological muddlements and justifications of twentieth century dictatorship. It is even minus the baggage of the Tsars. Putin doesn't need pretend to be a Romanov.
He wants to be seen as something more original.
Trump, you kidding, he lusts for some of that.
Some spectacular power.