Essays & Op-Eds

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  • Authoritarianism
  • Cultural Criticism
  • Donald Trump
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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and US President Donald Trump

No, Trump is not a madman — because he knows exactly what he’s doing

Many have sought to diagnose President Trump’s mental health from afar, depicting him as delusional, narcissistic or a madman. Such an approach is understandable, since many of us struggle to make sense of his …

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Alexander Acosta participates in the White House Made in America Showcase

Strongmen are riding high — and headed for a fall

It was a prank when Navy pilots — for whatever reason — traced a giant penis and testicles in the sky recently in Okanogan County, Washington, but an apt one for …

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President Donald J. Trump addresses the nation on the South Asia strategy

Trump’s ‘trial balloons’ test our commitment to freedom

How does a democratic political culture turn into something more authoritarian? How do leaders persuade people to accept their repressive agendas, scapegoat targeted groups and disrespect democratic norms? In the …

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U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participates in a media interview with Fox and Friends in New York City, New York on April 5, 2019.

Being Trump’s Mouthpiece Is Risky for Fox News — and Democracy

Fox News may be enjoying large audiences right now, partly because of its close relationship with the president, but the network is taking a real risk — both to itself …

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Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana

I monumenti fascisti restano in piedi

Quando Benito Mussolini, alla fine degli anni trenta, si preparava a ospitare l’Esposizione universale del 1942 a Roma, commissionò la costruzione di un nuovo quartiere a sudest della città che …

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Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana

Why Are So Many Fascist Monuments Still Standing in Italy?

In the late nineteen-thirties, as Benito Mussolini was preparing to host the 1942 World’s Fair, in Rome, he oversaw the construction of a new neighborhood, Esposizione Universale Roma, in the southwest …

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Trump’s authoritarian playbook — what’s next?

Just before Donald Trump took office, I argued that our new President would likely follow the “authoritarian playbook,” an approach toward governance that privileges executive power and makes the leader’s …

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Senator Mark Warner

Liberals are reclaiming patriotism from the right

We will remember 2017 as the year patriotism started to acquire a new vitality and force among Democrats — and the year that the GOP lost control of its narrative. …

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Greg Gianforte's jail mugshot

Montana body-slam reveals a GOP problem

Montana’s starting to look more like Moscow, after then-Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte’s assault Wednesday on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. As the Guardian reported and a Fox News reporter in …

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Does Cultural Crisis Breed Artistic Fertility? A Look Through History to Understand Today

Creativity thrives in times of upheaval, and many of us now certainly feel the ground shifting under our feet. For the foreseeable future, we’ll be living with and governed by …

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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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