In style and substance, Trump leans on authoritarian tactics

After Donald Trump’s recent hospitalization, the president and his team took a variety of steps to produce images of a “performative show of strength,” as CNN’s Brian Stelter put it. Referring to North Korea’s political model, Stelter added, “This is the kind of thing you see from strongmen who want to appear to be leading — it’s a ‘Dear Leader’ sort of approach.”

A Washington Post report went on to note over the weekend, “[A]nalysts who study authoritarian regimes said critics are right to posit that Trump has borrowed from the playbooks of strongman leaders in his messaging. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, said Trump shares the authoritarian urge for “constant public adoration,” and she emphasized that he is ‘very savvy about how the authoritarian leader-follower relationship works.'”

But as important as it is to appreciate the degree to which the Republican incumbent emulates an authoritarian style,

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