So the amazing inevitable has happened and the Republican voters over-ruled the Republican Party and nominated Donald Trump to be the Republican candidate for president of the United States. Whew!
First, some good things about this.
2016 has been the year that an overlooked and forgotten minority has raised its voice in a crude shout – what about us?!?. The theme “Make America Great Again” speaks to the lives of these people. For many people, America is NOT great. For many people, the America they believed in is gone and they are scared and angry. These folks are the aging, white middle and lower middle classes who have lost their jobs and their lives to globalization, de-industrialization, and the Great Recession. Trump blamed immigrants, Bernie blamed Wall Street, and both messages attracted a lot of votes. Trump’s was more successful than Bernie’s and Trump won his nomination.
I forgot where I read it, but someone noted that Trump respects his voters. He “respects” them by paying attention to them, by not criticizing the way they talk or behave, by being overtly “politically incorrect” (largely racist and misogynist), by speaking as crudely and simply as possible in a language that attracts and arouses the dispossessed. He speaks for them and they think the will help them. ?? Why they think he will help them is never illuminated, it is enough just to be a vessel for their outraged voices of protest.
The second good thing to come from the Trump triumph is the shattering of the obsolete, rigid, unworkable conservative ideologies that the purists have enforced upon the Republican Party ever since Reagan had been turned into to a demi-god. The Republican field has a plethora of true believer dogmatists running and they all got creamed. The fundamentalist Christian social conservatives, the Libertarians, the budget scolds – all got creamed. The Republican voters are not loyal to the ossified ideologies, they could care less, and they proved it in 2016.
Now for some bad things about a Trump candidacy.
He is a child. He has no impulse control. He continually says “he has no choice” when he attacks someone who he feels has wronged him. I do not want a Commander in Chief with nukes at his disposal to be someone who thinks “he has no choice” if his manhood is challenged.
ISIS wants the United States to be drawn into their attempt to establish a Middle Eastern Caliphate, and Trump is the most likely to rise to the bait. ISIS, and al Qaeda, and the rest of the extremists, know that the way to explode recruitment for their fanatical religious cause is to have the West, and especially the U.S. attack them. Then, real hell breaks out.
He is not only ignorant, but he has no desire to become informed. He has a delusional ego based notion that he can walk into a situation and intuitively and instantaneously and miraculously find the genius solution to any problem. This is pathologically delusional, I am afraid. And unbelievably dangerous for us all.
He is unconstitutional. One of the things he is remarkably uninformed about is the Constitution and the nature of the Federal Government. He thinks he can change libel laws so he can imprison media that are critical of him. That is a violation of the First Amendment. He thinks he can keep Muslims out of the country based upon their religious beliefs. Another violation of the first amendment. He has promised to torture prisoners - an actual promise to be a war criminal. And he has no idea how bad these ideas are, he just sees himself as bravely uttering common sense “politically incorrect” declarations. Astonishing.
Worst of all, he doesn’t understand democracy. He promises to imprison his political opponent, Hillary Clinton. That is not how democracies work. The heart of democracy is peaceful transfer of power. His more rabid followers call for her death by firing squad or hanging – and he doesn’t slap them down. Hard to believe.
Donald Trump is campaigning as a tough guy, an authoritarian. It is natural for a country frightened of terrorists to turn to authoritarian rule. He might be authoritarian, but I am pretty sure he would also be stupid. He has already disavowed our alliance with NATO, and he has supported a nuclear Japan and South Korea. America First (says Trump, his rabid followers, and the pro-Nazi movement of the 1930s). His lack of knowledge leads him to remarkably bad ideas. And he thinks this makes him brave rather than tragically wrong.
It would be hard for me to imagine that he would use the power of the military in anything resembling a judicious, thoughtful, way.
Donald Trump is a danger to the United States and to the world. The voters who are attracted to him, those who have been left behind in a country that no longer has jobs for them, deserve someone much, much better than him to give them the respect and dignity that they need.
They have chosen a pretender.
They have chosen a pretender.