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Via David Frum’s How to Build an Autocracy published in the March 2017 issue of The Atlantic:

What excites Trump is his approval rating, his wealth, his power. The day could come when those ends would be better served by jettisoning the institutional Republican Party in favor of an ad hoc populist coalition, joining nationalism to generous social spending—a mix that’s worked well for authoritarians in places like Poland. Who doubts Trump would do it? Not Paul Ryan. Not Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. For the first time since the administration of John Tyler in the 1840s, a majority in Congress must worry about their president defecting from them rather than the other way around.

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Via How Smartphones Are Killing Off the Fashion Show by Vanessa Friedman published by the New York Times on February 11, 2016:

For an industry that pretends to embrace change, fashion is notably resistant to alteration. The last time it happened was in 1999, when the New York shows moved from being the final stop on the fashion week merry-go-round to the first, after a decision by Helmut Lang to leapfrog his show to the front of the line. Since then, efforts to change the schedule, such as Yohji Yamamoto’s decision in 2002 to move to couture, left the designers as lone voices crying in the wind and were later abandoned, though perhaps this precedent is what has convinced the CFDA that it can lead the charge to change. Still, not every city’s fashion week is on board.

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Via David Frum’s How to Build an Autocracy published in the March 2017 issue of The Atlantic:

Outside the Islamic world, the 21st century is not an era of ideology. The grand utopian visions of the 19th century have passed out of fashion. The nightmare totalitarian projects of the 20th have been overthrown or have disintegrated, leaving behind only outdated remnants: North Korea, Cuba. What is spreading today is repressive kleptocracy, led by rulers motivated by greed rather than by the deranged idealism of Hitler or Stalin or Mao. Such rulers rely less on terror and more on rule-twisting, the manipulation of information, and the co-optation of elites.

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Via David Frum’s How to Build an Autocracy published in the March 2017 issue of The Atlantic:

Civil unrest will not be a problem for the Trump presidency. It will be a resource. Trump will likely want not to repress it, but to publicize it—and the conservative entertainment-outrage complex will eagerly assist him. Immigration protesters marching with Mexican flags; Black Lives Matter demonstrators bearing antipolice slogans—these are the images of the opposition that Trump will wish his supporters to see. The more offensively the protesters behave, the more pleased Trump will be.

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Via How Smartphones Are Killing Off the Fashion Show by Vanessa Friedman published by the New York Times on February 11, 2016:

Though the Twitter-Instagram-Facebook-Snapchat nexus started as a golden promise, a way for brands to seize control of their own messaging and cut out the middlemen of retailers and critics and communicate directly to their customer, it has created a situation in which it is no longer acceptable to many women to wait six months for something they have just seen. Especially if they can get an acceptable simulacrum at a fast-fashion brand down the street, like Zara or H&M, which was able to spot the garment via pictures and measure its success via the number of “likes” it achieved.

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Via David Frum’s How to Build an Autocracy published in the March 2017 issue of The Atlantic:

Whatever else happens, Americans are not going to assemble in parade-ground formations, any more than they will crank a gramophone or dance the turkey trot. In a society where few people walk to work, why mobilize young men in matching shirts to command the streets? If you’re seeking to domineer and bully, you want your storm troopers to go online, where the more important traffic is. Demagogues need no longer stand erect for hours orating into a radio microphone. Tweet lies from a smartphone instead.

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The Atlantic, How to Build an Autocracy, David Frum

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Via How Smartphones Are Killing Off the Fashion Show by Vanessa Friedman published by the New York Times on February 11, 2016:

This is turning out to be fashion’s season of existential crisis. Suddenly designers are asking big questions about “purpose” and “effect,” re-examining the system on which they rest. And they are doing it in the cold, blue light of the smartphone’s glare. They are doing it, arguably, because of the smartphone’s glare. Complaints about the fashion show system, a monthlong twice-yearly four-country treadmill to see clothes six months before they reach stores, have been around for a long time: Fashion week is too tiring, too old-fashioned, too crowded. But while fashion people have largely complained about the effect the system has on their own lives and jobs and creativity, today’s problems are driven by a force even more powerful than simple self-interest: financial interest.

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Via Andrew Sullivan’s May 2, 2016 New York Magazine cover story Democracies end when they are too democratic. And right now, America is a breeding ground for tyranny:

Global economic forces have pummeled blue-collar workers more relentlessly than almost any other segment of society, forcing them to compete against hundreds of millions of equally skilled workers throughout the planet. No one asked them in the 1990s if this was the future they wanted. And the impact has been more brutal than many economists predicted. No wonder suicide and mortality rates among the white working poor are spiking dramatically.

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Via How Smartphones Are Killing Off the Fashion Show by Vanessa Friedman published by the New York Times on February 11, 2016:

What may work for a large brand with manufacturing muscle and its own retail stores will not work for a small brand. What may work for retailers will not necessarily work for designers, who see runway shows as the opportunity to state their vision of their clothes and who often experience collection antipathy as soon as they finish one. Consumers aren’t the only ones who get tired of clothes after they’ve seen them for too long. “I hate everything I did yesterday,” Alber Elbaz once told The Financial Times. “I have to; otherwise how would I have the energy and drive to do something today?”

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Sanders, who is sustaining his campaign all the way to California on the backs of small donors and large crowds, is, to put it bluntly, a walking refutation of his own argument. Trump, of course, is a largely self-funding billionaire — but like Willkie, he argues that his wealth uniquely enables him to resist the influence of the rich and their lobbyists. Those despairing over the influence of Big Money in American politics must also explain the swift, humiliating demise of Jeb Bush and the struggling Establishment campaign of Hillary Clinton. The evidence suggests that direct democracy, far from being throttled, is actually intensifying its grip on American politics.

Via Andrew Sullivan’s May 2, 2016 New York Magazine cover story Democracies end when they are too democratic. And right now, America is a breeding ground for tyranny.