Sunday, May 29, 2016

Where does Trump fit on the Republican continuum?

Now that Trump has locked up  the Republican nomination for president, who is he really?  Where does he fit on the Republican or conservative continuum?

Many Republicans and conservatives are starting to try to see Trump as a kind of normal Republican politician, one that competed in Republican primaries and beat out the competition, and thus one who is deserving of some kind of respect and support.  They are twisting themselves into pretzels to do this, but I wonder if it makes any sense

Where on the Republican continuum is Trump?  Evangelical social conservative? - well, no.  Libertarian minimal government intrusion conservative? - umh, no.  Shrink the government and starve it into non-existence? - I don't think so.  Lower taxes and deregulate industry guy? - not really.  Where does he land on a continuum from Reagan to Rockefeller, from Goldwater to Huckabee, from Gingrich to H W Bush?  I don't think he even shows up on the screen.

I think Trump isn't on a conservative or Republican continuum at all.  I think he is on an authoritarian continuum.  His signature popular attraction is his threatening nature.  His threats against Mexicans.  His threats against Muslims. His threats against immigrants.  His threats against journalists.  His threats against his political opponents.  His threats against those who sue him for business fraud and betrayal.  His threats against judges ruling on lawsuits against him.  His threats against... and .... and .... forever and ever and ever.

He is not on the continuum that includes Republican politicians like Reagan or the Bushes or the candidates he defeated in the Republican primaries.  

He is on the continuum of authoritarians, like Putin, Kim Jong-un, Chavez, Castro, Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Assad, Peron, Pinochet, Franco, etc. etc. This is a man who thinks he has no choice but to attack when his manhood is questioned.  This is a man (overgrown child actually) who would threaten, attack, damage, and harm his political critics inside the country, and, worse yet, do the same in the world - and he would have nuclear weapons at his disposal.  This is a man about whom former CIA director Michael Hayden said military leaders would have to disobey orders that Trump has threatened.

The Republican primary voters have not voted for a Republican to lead their party, they have voted for an authoritarian to destroy those that they hate.  They are somehow mistakenly thinking that this dictator in waiting will only attack others.  But no one will be safe, and certainly not Trump supporters.  We all are at risk.

The U.S. has never had an authoritarian dictator.  We are naive.  We think we are immune to such things.  Republican primary voters have shown us that we are not immune, but rather we are in danger of being buried under a tyrant.  It can  happen here.

Unless we vote against it happening, which I firmly believe we will.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A sad day in America

By winning the primary election in Indiana, Donald Trump has locked up the Republican nomination.  Ted Cruz and John Kasich have both dropped out of the race.  The dream of a contested election with an ultimate defeat of Trump is gone.  This is a very sad day in America.

The Republican voters have chosen. They have chosen a childish, bullshitting ignoramus to be their nominee.  This is an astounding event.  

I can understand that there is a voice in the Republican Party that has needed to be heard, and they have been heard very loudly and very clearly.  That is the voice of those who have felt for a long time that nobody listened to them or cared about them - the ever more disempowered older white men.  They have seen their jobs disappear; they have seen their life styles mocked and ridiculed; they have been told that their attitudes about women, other races, and other sexual orientations are vile (softened in their minds to the phrase "politically incorrect").  They have said they are as mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.  

So they nominated Trump, who will not be able to do anything about any of their grievances, but that is beside the point to them, I guess, because they think that at least they will have a president that understands them and will fight, fight, fight for them.

This is the formula for tyranny, dictatorship, oppression, chaos and violence in America and in the world.

A couple of interesting and positive notes, however.  The Republican base seems to have spoken out that they don't passively accept a couple of Conservative Holy Creeds - first that tax breaks for the wealthy will create jobs for the middle class, and second that the invasion of Iraq and endless war in the Middle East is a good way to spend the lives of American men and women.  Trump has exploded some of the conservative ideology by showing that the actual conservative voters could care less about those sacred conservative ideological cows.  

But, but, but... a Trump presidency is terrifying to me, to many Americans, and certainly to the world.  The rest of the world has seen this play before.  They know what an out of control, childish, authoritarian ruler means - it means oppression, it means crushing of the press, it means crushing of political opposition, it means political imprisonment, it means torture, it means the complete annihilation of human freedoms and human dignity.  

Do I exaggerate the authoritarian nature of Trump?  I hope so, but I don't think so.  

My biggest fear is that there is another voice that will speak in this election - the voice of radical Islam - ISIS, al Qaeda.  They want a massive war in the Middle East.  They will continue to bait America into that massive war.  They have a deep religious belief in the end times, and the trigger to the end times is apocalyptic confrontation between their radical version of Islam and the infidels.  They think Allah wills it, they think they will win with Divine assistance.

I expect at least one terrifying attack by the radical jihadists shortly before the election.  Their purpose will be to manipulate the voters into voting for the "strong man" Donald Trump who will promise to wage all out war in retaliation for the atrocity of their barbarisms.

And then we would have a president who would feel he would have no choice but to crush them, just like he felt he had no choice when Marco Rubio intemperately implied that Trump's genitals didn't "measure up."  Trump feels he "has no choice" but to attack when attacked.  

He attacks.  We die.  Lots of people die.  If he is president.  He is a child.  He has no impulse control.  He would have nukes at his disposal.  I do not exaggerate the threat he presents to the country and to the world.

Yesterday was a sad day.