The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy
An ex-US campaign advisor who has sat with the world’s dictators explains Donald Trump’s increasingly authoritarian tactics and the threat they pose to American democracy.
‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.’ — President Ronald Reagan
Donald Trump isn't a despot. But he is increasingly acting like a despot's apprentice. Whether it's attacking the press, threatening the rule of law, or staffing the White House with family members and cronies, Trump is borrowing moves from the world's dictators. The president’s bizarre adoration of global strongmen has also transformed US foreign policy into a powerful force cheerleading some of the world's worst regimes.
An expert on authoritarianism, Brian Klaas is well placed to recognise the warning signs of tyranny. He argues forcefully that with every autocratic tactic or tweet, Trump further erodes democratic norms in the world's most powerful democracy. The Despot's Apprentice is an urgent exploration of the unique threat that Trump poses to global democracy—and how to save it from him before it's too late.
Early praise for The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy:
"Brian Klaas uses his knowledge of the world's despotic regimes to shed light on authoritarian tendencies in contemporary America. A chilling reminder of the very real threats that the Trump administration poses to American democracy, and essential reading for those who want to do something about it."—Anne Applebaum, columnist for the Washington Post and Pulitzer Prize winner
"With so many individual scandals, it’s easy to lose perspective of the Trump administration's broad threat to our Republic. In The Despot’s Apprentice, Brian Klaas takes on the herculean task of documenting the abundant transgressions of a demagogue, giving us essential insight into the implications for free and open society. As Klaas skillfully explains, if we are to beat back the specter of despotism, it will be a result of citizens' devotion to democratic principles." — Evan McMullin, former Republican adviser, CIA officer, and 2016 presidential candidate
"The Despot's Apprentice is morally righteous in the best sense of that word. Brian Klaas offers an erudite and persuasive plea to resist both budding and aspiring dictators, both in the United States and around the world."—Yascha Mounk, Harvard lecturer, Slate columnist, and author of The People vs Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is In Danger and How to Save It
"Thank goodness for Brian Klaas. At a moment of unprecedented political crisis for the United States, he's one of the very few experts to offer a much-needed global perspective on the Trump phenomenon. Trump, he shows, is less of an exception than part of an ominous global trend: disillusionment with democracy. A sharp-sighted and urgently needed book."—Christian Caryl, editor of DemocracyPost at the Washington Post and author of Strage Rebels
"A thorough and thought-provoking primer on the threat to democracy posed by—and I can't believe I'm saying this—the current president of the United States."—David Litt, former Obama speechwriter and New York Times bestselling author of Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years