At noon on 20 January 2017, Donald Trump will become leader of the most powerful country in the world. He is the most dangerous person to take supreme power in a major Western democracy since 30 January 1933 in Germany.
Probably, he will not end life as we know it.
However, as commander-in-chief, he will have unchecked power to bring about nuclear armageddon. Think Dr Strangelove where there is no president to try and undo what the mad man has done because the mad man is the president.
And as a climate change denier, Trump may reverse the world’s efforts to avert climate disaster and bring about a different kind of armageddon.
Even if these horrors do not come to pass, there is plenty else to fear.
Trump is a fascist. There is ample evidence that he has contempt for the rule of law and for democracy. There are, of course, doubts about the integrity of the 2016 presidential election. There are reasons to fear that Trump will not allow the 2020 election to be free and fair.
Trump may even end or suspend democracy in the USA before 2020. If it happens, it will be in the way that it has happened countless times before in other countries. He will declare that an emergency - real, contrived or fictitious - means that the safety of the country requires him to take special powers.
As fascists do, so Trump has already viciously attacked minorities for his own political purposes. America may well see terrible race riots soon.
We should also remember the warnings of Edward Snowden. Trump, chillingly, inherits a system of mass surveillance more powerful than anything George Orwell imagined in 1984.
Trump has the classic personality of a dictator - egotistical, quick to take offence, vengeful, impulsive, narcissistic, erratic and arbitrary. He was already a supreme egotist before his election. Now, he will be, if possible, even more convinced that he and he alone is always right. He won’t take advice and those around him will learn to act with emollient sycophancy or lose their place near the sun.
Trump is a monster: one part Berlusconi; one part Joe McCarthy; one part Mussolini.
Many put their trust in the American constitution to contain Trump as it did - eventually - Richard Nixon. However, Trump’s party has majorities in both houses of Congress and he will appoint the crucial “swing judge” on the Supreme Court. Of course, members of his own party may find the moral courage to stand up to Trump but history shows that when it comes to it, such people are rarer than one would like to think.
Some will say all this is alarmist. Maybe it is, but the alternative is complacency.
I have in my house some 20 books published in 1935 and 1936, warning of the danger of Fascism. They were bought at the time by my Jewish uncle, who lived in England. He would have seen clearly the dangers. At the time, too many in England and elsewhere were complacent.
I have not put forward any evidence here as to why I fear what I fear. This is because the evidence is plain for you to see if you follow Trump at all.
What can we do? We can follow the advice of the last US president to be elected without having ever held any political office, President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower. He was also a Republican like Trump but those are the only similarities. Eisenhower had been Supreme Commander at D Day before being president between 1953 and 1961. As a personality type, Eisenhower was very much a “grown-up” whereas Trump is a “child”.
In Eisenhower’s last speech as president in January 1961, he warned of the danger of the power of America’s military-industrial complex. He said that there was one and only one way to defend America against it. Eisenhower’s advice equally applies to the manifold dangers of Trump and of any fascists he may give strength to in Europe.
Eisenhower said we all need to be “alert and knowledgeable”. That is what we can do - as an essential first step.