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Robert Reich: Donald Trump Isn’t a Conservative, He is an Authoritarian

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Commenting on the rise of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Robert Reich, former labor secretary under President Clinton, notes, “I don’t think Donald Trump is a conservative. I think he’s an authoritarian. And there is a difference. I don’t think he cares about democracy. … In fact, I think that Donald Trump, from everything he’s said, may view democracy as an impediment to what he wants to do.” Reich adds, “It’s particularly dangerous when we don’t have strong mediating institutions, such as labor unions and other organizations … that can soften and subdue or in any way reduce the influence of an authoritarian when so many people in America now feel so atomized, so isolated.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Robert Reich, with the rise of Donald Trump, your thoughts? From his retweeting Benito Mussolini to wavering around whether he wants the Klan’s support or David Duke’s, to building the wall, to saying Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to come into this country, your thoughts?

ROBERT REICH: I don’t think Donald Trump is a conservative. I think he’s an authoritarian. And there is a difference. I don’t think he cares about democracy. I don’t think he cares. In fact, I think that Donald Trump, from everything he’s said, may view democracy as an impediment to what he wants to do. I think he’s very close to some of the other authoritarians who have shown themselves, both in American history and in history around the rest of the world.

This is a very dangerous attitude. It’s particularly dangerous when we don’t have strong mediating institutions, such as labor unions or other organizations and political parties, that can soften and subdue or in any way reduce the influence of an authoritarian when so many people in America now feel so atomized, so isolated, when so many people are getting their news and expressing themselves on twitters. Without intermediary institutions, this kind of authoritarian power grab is particularly dangerous.

AMY GOODMAN: Robert Reich, we want to thank you for being with us, former labor secretary under President Bill Clinton, now endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders for president.

ROBERT REICH: Thank you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: Robert Reich is professor at the University of California, Berkeley, author of many books, his latest, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few.

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