Latin America provides the best model for thinking about U.S. politics over the past century.
Unfortunately, an otherwise insightful historical essay was, for me, badly scarred by one ill-conceived and essentially throwaway assertion (since he never made use of it any further). Calling Bernie Sanders a demagogue (and alongside Donald Trump!) causes me to re-think the objectivity of the research that went into this work. I'm not a Bernie Bro but I know an undeserved slight when I see it.
Neither Central Europe or Latin America provide much of a model for US. The US has become a deeply authoritarian country where speech is highly (very highly) restricted.
For people who like numbers, here they are. "George Floyd" get 24.2 million hits in Google. By contrast, "Tony Timpa" gets 20,700 hits in Google. "Justine Damond" gets 52,300 hits in Google. Tony Timpa died in Dallas under circumstances somewhat similar to George Floyd. Justine Damond was shot and killed by the police in Minneapolis.
There is a crucial difference between far-left extremists and far-right extremists. The far-left runs everything and the far-right runs nothing. The 'woke' run the media, Hollywood, Tech, SV, corporate America, Wall Street, K-12 education, universities, the government (including many state governments), the FBI, the CIA, the military, NGOs, etc. What do the anti-'woke' run? Nothing.
Of course, it gets worse. Cori Bush and Kamala Harris both of whom have lied about the death of Michael Brown. Obama's own Justice Department found the death of Michael Brown to be entirely lawful. That hasn't prevent Cori Bush and Kamala Harris from lying about it. Kamala did get four Pinocchios from the Washington Post for her lies.
What we are missing in discussions of threats to American democracy is our educational institutions inability to educate a large percentage of boys and young men. Certainly, girls and young women are doing better educationally than boys and young men and entering the professions in larger numbers.
At one time, industry and the military could absorb this excess of young men, but that is no longer the case. Poorly educated young men with limited or no prospects are cannon fodder for those who wish to upend our democratic constitutional republic.
Trump is definitely more of a caudillo than a führer. Just one minor correction: Earl Long was Huey’s brother.
Lind misses the fact, pointed out by Michael Hudson, that populist authoritarian rulers often arose in pre-Greco-Roman times in response to exploitation by local oligarchies. They used raw power to cancel debts and redistribute land after too many farmers had been reduced to debt servitude. The popular response to exploitation is similar today but new populist rulers usually lack the power to do very much because of the international trade and financial constraints backed by US power.