How To Undermine American Democracy (Op-Ed)


The Donald Trump Despotic Playbook Way

(Author’s Note: This is the first in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll be writing for until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column, I opine why President Trump is undermining American democracy.)

Arthur Solomon

A popular historical myth is that when in July of 64 A.D., a great fire destroyed 70 percent of Rome, the emperor Nero “fiddled while Rome burned.” But serious historians have debunked the story because 1) there is no evidence that Nero did so, and 2) the fiddle wasn’t developed until the 11th century.

When historians in the future write about the United States presidential election of 2020, some might say that a disgruntled, vindictive, malevolent, president, Donald John Trump, the 45th president of the U.S., golfed while the Constitution burned because of his actions – and as those of us who are living through this sorry and sad state of affairs can affirm the actions of President Trump are historically true and will be recorded so by print and television for posterity.

Even though Nero’s actions are subject to conjecture and Trump’s are based on facts that are happening as I write this, both have a lot in common:

History will record them both as sadistic, cruel, spiteful and venomous.

Both, without proof, have maliciously and without evidence blamed others for their problems – Nero had many Christians executed for setting the fire, and Trump blames Democrats, the media and dishonest election officials for stealing the election.”

History will also write that President Trump’s actions were taken without any concern about how it weakens the democratic fabric of the U.S.

But even prior to his losing his bid for re-election, Trump was doing his best to fracture the Constitution and American values to conform to his totalitarian instincts. To name just a few:

  • He instructed his associates to disobey legal subpoenas.
  • He attempted to stifle the free press.
  • He called for his political foes to be jailed.
  • He claimed a deep state was against him, whatever that is.
  • His rhetoric was aimed at dividing Americans.
  • He denigrated U.S. intelligent services and publicly admired dictators.
  • He praised white nationalists and denigrated minorities. 
  • And he fired anyone who thought for themselves. 

Unlike other defeated presidents, Trump is making the transition to a Biden administration as difficult as possible; Disappointedly only a few Republicans of stature have gone against the president.

As a student Trump might have failed a course on democratic values, but received an A plus in a course on how to become a dictator.

On its November 7 program, “Saturday Night Live” ended a skit comparing cheering crowds around the world celebrating Trump’s defeat and comparing Trump to a fascist leader hiding in a bunker. I’m not saying that Trump is a Nazi, but there’s no doubt that his actions resemble those of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, his Minister of Propaganda. 

And his actions are more like a fascist leader than an American president.

January 20, 2021, can’t come fast enough for me.

The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) or


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