Essays & Op-Eds

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“What defines a strongman ruler is not just his willingness to trample democratic norms but his ability to cultivate an appearance of omnipotence.”

The New Yorker, October 13, 2020

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“Strongmen disappear people, and they also disappear areas of knowledge that conflict with their ideologies and goals.”

The New York Review Of Books, October 15, 2020

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“Breaking the rules, and getting away with it, is at the center of the ethos of macho lawlessness that underpins strongman rule.”

The New York Review, August 12, 2020

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Donald Trump

For Trump, Reality Is Just A Prop He Doesn’t Care To Use

CNN, August 28, 2020

From Showman to Strongman in Four Years

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Police Brutality

“How Did Journalists Become Hate Objects in America?”

CNN News, June 11, 2020

“Who are you essential to?” yelled a New York Police Department officer on June 2 as he confronted badged Associated Press (AP) videographer Robert Bumsted and AP photographer Maye-E Wong as they sought to report on a protest.

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coronavirus in the world

COVID-19 Tempts Would-Be Authoritarians

Foreign Affairs, May 5, 2020

The novel coronavirus pandemic poses a stress test for societies – wrenching people out of ordinary routines and exposing them to death and dislocation, bringing forth acts of solidarity and courage as well as scapegoating.

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Trump Politics

Trump’s twinship with Orbán shows ‘illiberal democracy’ has a home in the US

The Guardian.com, May 16, 2019

“Is Trump bringing Orbán’s ‘illiberal democracy’ to America?”

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Donald Trump

In impeachment hearings, lessons on the erosion of American democracy

“Trump is creating an alternate reality in which facts are what he needs them to be.”

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Donald Trump

There’s an irony in Trump making this July 4th all about the military

It was a July 4th in Washington DC unlike any other, just as President Donald Trump promised. Tanks sat in front of the Lincoln Memorial, F-35 fighter planes streaked the …

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Donald Trump speaking in Washington, D.C.

Trump keeps threatening the freedom of speech

Since President Trump’s election in November 2016, optimists have gone on trying to reassure each other. “Our institutions will hold,” they say. Our institutions will only hold, however, if they …

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Ruth Ben-Ghiat Portrait

Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s essays and op-eds translate her vast knowledge of the logic of power and the authoritarian playbook into analyses of the operation and endgame of the global right today, including in Donald Trump’s America. Her writings on hate speech, leader body politics, and the power of symbols reveal how propaganda works and remind us of power of images to shape opinion and feeling. Her op-ed on photographs of the Trump-Putin summit was one of CNN’s “Top 10” for 2018, and her 2017 New Yorker essay on the persistence of Fascist monuments in Italy sparked an ongoing international debate on the legacy and memory of Mussolini’s regime.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat Portrait

Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s essays and op-eds translate her vast knowledge of the logic of power and the authoritarian playbook into analyses of the operation and endgame of the global right today, including in Donald Trump’s America. Her writings on hate speech, leader body politics, and the power of symbols reveal how propaganda works and remind us of power of images to shape opinion and feeling. Her op-ed on photographs of the Trump-Putin summit was one of CNN’s “Top 10” for 2018, and her 2017 New Yorker essay on the persistence of Fascist monuments in Italy sparked an ongoing international debate on the legacy and memory of Mussolini’s regime.

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