In any case, there is nothing
in the least “postmodern” about Trump. The machinery of demagogic authoritarianism may shift from decade to decade
and century to century, taking us from the scroll to the newsreel to the tweet, but its content is always the same. Nero gave
dictates; Idi Amin was mercurial. Instruments of communication may change; demagogic instincts don’t.
What is to be done? In such a moment of continued emergency, the most important task may be to distinguish
as rigorously as possible between new policies and programs that, however awful, are a reflection of the normal oscillation
of power, natural in a mature democracy, and those that are not. To borrow from Woody Allen’s distinction between the
miserable (something we all are) and the horrible (fortunately suffered by only a few), we must now distinguish resolutely
between the sickening and the terrifying.