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.