The midterms will be a referendum not just on Donald Trump but on the future of authoritarianism in American politics, Hillary Clinton told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night.
“The actions that we have seen coming from the White House in this administration in the nearly two years since the election have raised all kinds of signal flares, alarm bells about what is happening to our democracy,” Clinton said.
“What I’m worried about is these authoritarian tendencies that we have seen at work in this administration with this president, left unchecked, could very well result in the erosion of our institutions to an extent that we’ve never imagined possible here.” She continued: “And I know that if we don’t have a very big rejection of those tendencies come in this midterm election, left unchecked and unaccountable, I think you will only see more of these attacks on our institutions, on our norms, on the rule of law that could do lasting damage.
“We’re not there yet, but that’s because we have an election. And it’s an election that could not be more critical to ending any continuing threat from authoritarian tendencies.”
Clinton is on a book tour for a new edition of her book, “What Happened.” An excerpt from the new afterword ran in the Atlantic on Monday, and I wrote about how she said the biggest challenge to democracy is not Trump himself, but “a small group of right-wing billionaires” building an “alternative reality” and the “increasing radicalism and irresponsibility” of the Republican Party.
She’s also very focused on the midterm, and what Trump does afterward. She told Maddow she expects him to fire many of his top appointees and start acting even more erratically – especially if there is no on in Congress holding him back.
“If we ignore the importance of the midterm election and there is no check and balance — we don’t take back one or both of the Houses of Congress then I think you’ll see even more of the dismantling of our institutions, with very dire effect,” she said.
Here’s an excerpt of her interview: