With human nature being unchanged for tens of thousands of years, the method by which would-be dictators go about their business has become thoroughly standardized, as per the following outline. But first the timing has to be right. When the economy is booming and the people feel secure, that is not the time for demagogues to roll. But when the time is right, and apparently it is at present, here is how one Donald J. Trump is making his bid for absolute power.

Play to a specific target audience.

Play to the fears and biases of a majority, social subset, usually the middle and lower middle-class (the so called working class) make up the largest social subset of modern developed nations. These are average Joe types mostly focused on family, friends, work, religion and sports and hobbies — an abiding historical perspective of world events would not be their strong suit. Many likely haven’t read a serious nonfiction book since having left high school or college. They are easy marks to be had.

Pick a good Devil

Every want-to-be dictator finds it absolutely critical to identify some “evil,” but relatively weak enemy to blame stuff on when things go wrong. Hitler of course had the Jews as Trump now has Mexicans and Moslems.

Degrade the government

To grease the skids for takeover, it helps to convince the majority target audience that the current government is both evil and incompetent, and to do all possible to make it so. Fox News and right wing talk radio have been at work degrading the federal government for decades. Yes, conservatives, you have been playing right into the Donald’s hands.

Make a show of action and decisiveness.

Man is by nature a creature of action. It is what he expects most of a leader. And so the man of the hour needs to appear fearless, relentless and omnipresent. Thus when Trump characterized Jeb as low energy, it was a political kiss of death for Bush. No amount of money could undo that image, counter to the way Trump offers up his own image.

Attack the messengers.

Always stifle by any means possible the press and intellectuals of every kind — those who would dare speak truth to power. They will be among the first to go missing once the man of unquestioned destiny has grabbed the levers of power.

Look for opportunistic backers

There are always low character opportunists willing to sell out their own mothers in order to get in on the action. But “the leader” must make it abundantly clear to the hangers-on that any hint of a challenge to his absolute power will lose them their heads.

Already you see the snaky ones slithering up to Trump — Governor Chris Christy, Dr. Ben Carson and Newt Gingrich are some of the slime balls first in line at the Donald’s feet. Men of goodwill and high character need not apply.

And so goes Trump’s scripted campaign ( just like so many political sharks before him) to no good outcome.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store