Donald Trump Is An Existential Threat To American Democracy

Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democratic system.  A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for the death of America.  I don't make this claim lightly. Let me explain.

  1. Donald Trump was riling up the crowd at a rally in August over the possibility that Hillary Clinton would appoint Supreme Court Justices who would take away their Second Amendment rights.  He stepped over the line when he made a statement that some may interpret as a call for assassinating Clinton or the Supreme Court Justices.  "If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know." Even if you argue that no sane person would interpret this as a call for assassination, not all of Trump's followers are sane.

 

 

  1. Donald Trump threatened to put Hillary Clinton in jail during their second debate:

TRUMP: I'll tell you what. I didn't think I'd say this, and I'm going to say it, and hate to say it: If I win, I'm going to instruct the attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there's never been so many lies, so much deception … A very expensive process, so we're going to get a special prosecutor because people have been, their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you've done. And it's a disgrace, and honestly, you ought to be ashamed.

 

CLINTON: Let me just talk about emails, because everything he just said is absolutely false. But I'm not surprised … It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.

DT: Because you'd be in jail.

 

First the sentence, then the trial.  This is stuff out of Alice In Wonderland or Franz Kafka's Trial.  This is what we would expect from North Korea or maybe the worst days of the Soviet Union.  If Trump is willing to pronounce his political opponent guilty and jail her without a trial, then no one is safe and our political freedom is dead.

  1.  Donald Trump has said repeatedly and without evidence that the election will be rigged.

 

 

This is an extraordinary claim. No, it is more than extraordinary. According to Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor in presidential studies at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, at least some historians are calling it "unprecedented".  Donald Trump is undermining the foundation of our democracy by eroding our trust in our electoral system.  He is delegitimizing a Clinton presidency should she win, and sowing the seeds of revolution.  Indeed, some of his followers are already talking about launching a revolution if Hillary wins.  To his credit, Mike Pence discouraged such talk from a Trump supporter, though I wish he had done so in a more forceful manner.

 

 

And here is Dan Bowman at a Trump rally issuing a veiled threat that he or one of his fellow Trump supporters will assassinate Clinton if she becomes president.

 

 

 

 

Trump's accusation is at best reckless and at worst treasonous.  He is willing to risk a civil war in order to avoid having to admit he is a LOSER.

  1. Donald Trump was quick to blame Clinton supporters without evidence after the bombing of a GOP office in North Carolina office.  Frank Luntz noted the difference between Trump's reaction and Clinton's.

 

 

Trump dehumanizes at least some Clinton supporters by calling them "animals". This is beyond reckless and invites a retaliatory attack. It is both irresponsible and dangerous to make accusations before the evidence is in.  For some reason, I am reminded of the 1933 Reichstag fire in Germany.  Hitler blamed the Communists for setting the fire and used this as an excuse to seize power.  Historians disagree over whether the Communists actaually started the fire or whether the Nazis framed them by starting it to set the stage for a power grab.

Am I implying that Donald Trump or one of his surrogates ordered the firebombing of the GOP office so that Trump could blame Clinton supporters? Not really.  I'm just saying that it is premature and irresponsible to hurl accusations at this point.  No one should be ruled in or out.  It is possible that Trump or one of his surrogates ordered the firebombing.  It is possible that a Clinton supporter did this.  And there is a third possibility.  It is no secret that Neo-Nazis and KKK want Trump to be elected.  It is quite possible that one of their members firebombed the clinic in the hopes of getting Trump elected.  It wouldn't be the first time an extreme right-winger tried to set the nation on fire by terrorism. The FBI just broke up a plot by three members of a militia to start a religious war by bombing a Muslim apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas.  The firebombing of the GOP office could easily be the work of an extremist not officially affiliated with either major party.

Even if Trump or his surrogates have nothing to do with the firebombing, Trump's tweet proves he is unfit to be president.  The president is often forced to act on incomplete or conflicting evidence.  Sometimes when the evidence is ambiguous the best course of action is to do nothing until more evidence arrives.  What will happen if an American embassy is bombed and no one takes credit for it? Will Trump jump to conclusions and assign blame--say to Iran or North Korea without having gathered solid evidence first? This is how unnecessary wars start. Putting such a hothead in charge of nuclear weapons invites disaster.

 

 


Update 10/18/16: I added a video clip of Dan Bowman threatening to assasinate Hillary Clinton if she becomes president.

Update 10/18/16: Read The People Who Know How To Actually Rig An Election Say Trump Is Wrong.  Two experts on elections say it is impossible to rig a Presidential election.  Mark Braden worked as chief counsel for the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Elections Commission. He also worked as election counsel for the Ohio State Elections Commission.  Here is what he thought of Trump's claim that the election would be rigged:

Nationally to do it, in the sense of trying to do some national conspiracy, is fantasy. Our system works extremely well, and election fraud, though it occurs, isn't a significant problem in the United States

 

Allen Raymond is the author of  How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative.  Here is what he had to say:

It’s impossible. The stuff he is talking about, it is ridiculous--if it wasn’t so dangerous. But Trump’s claims are dangerous: They’re an existential threat to the republic. . . .He is doing more damage than he realizes. What Donald Trump is doing is he is committing 'republicide.'  He is killing not just the Republican Party but the republic.

 

 


 

Update 11/7/16: I highly recommend two other articles that explain how President Trump would be a threat to our democracy. The first is by conservative David Frum. He doesn't like Hillary. He thinks she's corrupt.  But he has held his nose and voted for her and will try to oust her in four years.  Here are some excerpts.

 

To vote for Trump as a protest against Clinton’s faults would be like amputating a leg because of a sliver in the toe; cutting one’s throat to lower one’s blood pressure. . . .

 

I have no illusions about Hillary Clinton. I expect policies that will seem to me at best counter-productive, at worst actively harmful. America needs more private-market competition in healthcare, not less; lighter regulation of enterprise, not heavier; reduced immigration, not expanded; lower taxes, not higher. On almost every domestic issue, I stand on one side; she stands on the other. I do not imagine that she will meet me, or those who think like me, anywhere within a country mile of half-way.

But she is a patriot. She will uphold the sovereignty and independence of the United States. She will defend allies. She will execute the laws with reasonable impartiality. She may bend some rules for her own and her supporters’ advantage. She will not outright defy legality altogether. Above all, she can govern herself; the first indispensable qualification for governing others.

So I will vote for the candidate who rejects my preferences and offends my opinions. (In fact, I already have voted for her.) Previous generations accepted infinitely heavier sacrifices and more dangerous duties to defend democracy. I’ll miss the tax cut I’d get from united Republican government. But there will be other elections, other chances to vote for what I regard as more sensible policies. My party will recover to counter her agenda in Congress, moderate her nominations to the courts, and defeat her bid for re-election in 2020. I look forward to supporting Republican recovery and renewal.

This November, however, I am voting not to advance my wish-list on taxes, entitlements, regulation, and judicial appointments. I am voting to defend Americans' profoundest shared commitment: a commitment to norms and rules that today protect my rights under a president I don’t favor, and that will tomorrow do the same service for you.
 
Vote the wrong way in November, and those norms and rules will shudder and shake in a way unequaled since the Union won the Civil War. . . .
 
Your hand may hesitate to put a mark beside the name, Hillary Clinton. You’re not doing it for her. The vote you cast is for the republic and the Constitution.

 

 

The second article, by Robert Kuttner, outlines ten threats that Donald Trump poses to our democracy. If he wins, we can kiss democracy as we know it goodbye.  But even if he loses, he still poses five threats to democracy.