Congratulations, That's Dictatorship

There is plenty of evidence to suggest Trump is both ignorant of and disinterested in democratic norms, but what does that mean?

Here's a quick mental exercise to help that answer that question.

First, the setup: In 2013, President Obama nominated Republican James B. Comey to run the FBI. He could have chosen a member of his own party, but in the spirit of bipartisanship he didn't. Democrats helped to confirm Director Comey. The Senate voted 93-1, with only Republican Senator Rand Paul voting against.

Leaving aside the question of how much damage Director Comey's unprecedented politicizing of the Bureau's investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server did to her chances of winning the Presidency, we know from reporting done by the New York Times and others that Comey's October 28th letter to Congress was likely in response to pressure he felt from "rogue" anti-Clinton agents in the FBI's New York field office. Apparently worried that a leak from these agents would reflect badly on his apolitical reputation, Comey notified Congress about the discovery of emails on a laptop used by Huma Abedin and the news dominated the final two weeks of the campaign, dampening enthusiasm for a Clinton presidency and energizing Trump's Republican supporters.

Here's the exercise: In a Trump administration, will these anti-Clinton FBI agents be investigated and punished for leaking information to a sympathetic reporter at the Wall Street Journal and the Trump campaign itself (via Trump surrogate and rumored future Attorney General Rudolph Giuliani)? Or might they even be rewarded and promoted for their unethical and criminal acts which helped Trump secure the White House (and Giuliani the top law enforcement job in the country)?

If your answers are "no" to the first question and "yes" to the second, congratulations, that's dictatorship - where the nation's police force uses its investigatory power to undermine and discredit the leader's political enemies.

Back to Obama's nomination of Comey, who had formerly served as a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush. Will Trump and the GOP follow Obama's bipartisan example by nominating and confirming a Democrat to run the FBI? Or will President Trump instead choose a useful ally, one who might be counted on to authorize or at the very least permit the power of the FBI to undermine Trump's enemies, including the next Democratic nominee?

If your answers are "no" to the first question and "yes" to the second, congratulations, you have a sense of what's coming.