Greg great piece. “Stumbling”? I’d use a different analogy, he is treading through a swamp, part of his own making — he doesn’t have a clear path forward, but every direction leads to authoritarianism and weakened institutions. If it weren’t for the swamp, and for remaining checks & balances, he’d move faster if he could.
As to the incompetence vs. premeditation choice, there is plenty of incompetence, for sure, but there is a third factor: unbridled egotism.
And this is a trait Trump shares with many current & historical strongmen — from Alexander the Great through Napoleon to Mao, Stalin, Putin, Duterte, you name it. I’d add women to the list, but I cannot think of a single one whose narcissism rises to the level of this bunch … perhaps Countess Elizabeth Báthory …
Here’s the scary thing — I have no doubt that if given the free rein, the authority, to act as a dictator, Trump would gladly and without hesitation assume that position.
True mass deportations, public execution of political rivals and journalists, shameless enriching of cronies — it would all come naturally to someone with his personality.