Socialism or dictatorship? Your choice.


Phoebe Brennan and Madi Remenschneider

Two options for the fate of America. 

   Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

   Socialist or Dictator.

   In the eyes of Trump supporters, if Biden were to win he would create a socialist government. In the eyes of Democrats, if Trump were to win he would become a dictator. If each candidate becomes what the opposite side fears, it’s clear that a dictatorship is the greater of two evils. 

   A dictatorship, also known as an authoritarian government, is a form of government in which one leader holds absolute power. American society would look similar to The Hunger Games, with all power in the hands of the leaders. 

   With this structure, citizens have little or no say in how the government rules. Authoritarian systems do not follow majority rule or protect minority rights, nor allow freedoms of speech, press, and religion. Citizens are not given free choice, as the government decides what the people can and cannot have. For most, this is terrifying. Imagine not being able to advocate for yourself or have any control over your own life. In the eyes of liberals, this is the kind of government that Trump would turn the United States into if he wins the election. 

   Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat New York Representative of the House, explains his thoughts about the current president “He wants to be all powerful… he does not want to have to respect the representatives of the will of the people… only his will goes… He is a dictator. This must not stand and that is another reason he must be removed from office.” 

   Sure, Trump may not become a dictator, but there is no denying his behaviors are concerning. 

   President Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the 2020 election. When asked if he would hand over power he said,  “Well, we’ll have to see what happens. You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster.” 

   Trump is also attempting to get rid of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. Obamacare is in place to provide affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans. It helps people with low-paying jobs or pre-existing health conditions. At a rally in February 2016, Trump stated, “We’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare …Obamacare is a total and complete disaster. It’s going to be gone. We’re going to come up with a great health care plan, whether it’s health care savings accounts, we have a lot of different things.”   Trump is using his power to get rid of affordable healthcare which ultimately puts citizens at risk. Without healthcare, citizens can’t get access to the resources they need. He is abusing his power, which many dictators are known to do. 

   One particular trait that consistently stands out as a dictatorship trait is narcissism. Narcissistic individuals are preoccupied with their achievements and abilities. They see themselves as special people, deserving of admiration and, consequently, have difficulty empathizing with the feelings and needs of others.

   Trump fits this stereotype perfectly. 

   “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” 

   “Nobody knows more about taxes than me, maybe in the history of the world.”

   “Nobody’s ever been more successful than me.”

   “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”

    “My IQ is one of the highest— and you all know it! Please don’t feel stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.”

   Not willing to peacefully hand over power. Attempting to eliminate healthcare.  Self-absorbed and conceited. These qualities are closely related to those of a dictator. Dictators are most commonly thought of as power-hungry, and Trump is  starting to fit this form.  Even if Trump doesn’t become a dictator, it does not deny that liberals’ fears of a dictatorship are reasonable, as shown by his dictatorship characteristics.

   That being said, it is important to address the fears of the other side. Most Trump supporters are afraid of socialism just like Democrats are afraid of dictatorship. 

   President Trump himself commented on his opponent Biden, “This election will decide whether we save the American Dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.” His economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, similarly said, “What is or could sink the American economy is the socialism coming from our friends on the other side of the aisle.” He is clearly referring to Biden and the Democrat party. 

   Socialism is defined as a social organization that stands for production, distribution, and exchange to be owned by the community as a whole. This would mean no private property and no concentration of wealth. AP Government Instructor Brian Taylor defines socialism: “In general terms, adherents of ‘socialism’ believe that the public should own all the businesses and factories (the ‘means of production’) rather than private property owners favored by capitalism. Under a socialist system (in theory) all members of society would benefit equally from the economy and it would eliminate the income inequality that is present in every capitalist society (billionaires and millions in poverty)…”. The key term to remember with socialism is equality. 

   That is what the structure of the government would look like to Trump and his supporters if Biden were to win. But the problem with their fear is that Biden isn’t a socialist at all. Taylor said “he (Biden) is not a socialist or a democratic socialist — he is generally considered as a moderate democrat (not as radical as Bernie or AOC and ¨the squad¨)”. That being said, if Biden isn’t considered a socialist, then it would be very unlikely for him to create a socialist society if he were to win. 

   Putting aside Trump’s dictatorship characteristics and Biden not even being a socialist (even though they are important points), let’s hypothetically believe that both sides are justified for their fears, and each candidate creates a society that their opponent fears. Voters have a choice between socialism and dictatorship. 

   Both are not ideal, but the better of the two is socialism. With a dictatorship there are no freedoms and all “natural” rights will no longer exist. Each citizen’s life would be in the hands of another. With socialism, there would be no such thing as private property, but at least everyone would be considered equal and have the same opportunities as others. 

   Now that it’s clear that a dictatorship is more disturbing than socialism, it’s the people’s choice if they want to lose their rights to Trump in the upcoming election.