A recent BBC article has drawn attention to the fact that Trump has been using language that echoes that of some of history’s worst tyrants. Within his recent frequent declarations about ‘fake news,’ Trump has used terms that dictators like Stalin and Mao have previously used.

Trump recently tweeted: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS, and CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

Looking back in history, this term has often coincided with times of tyranny and dictatorship. Being branded an “enemy of the people” by figures such as Stalin or Mao meant that the targeted were dealt with either suspicion or stigma and at worst hard labour or death.

Historians may want to think about the implications this will have into theories like the cyclical nature of history and the ways in which Trump’s activities lay within patterns of history.

HSPS applicants may want to focus on the political implications of Trump’s actions. For example, how major international players will react to these remarks and also how political scientists can interpret the expectations of Trump’s presidency versus its realities.

More Resources