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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Donald Trump is not done.

Over the last few days, he has repeatedly impugned the integrity of our democratic processes and our civic institutions. He has warned his supporters of a “rigged system” that could “steal” the election from him.

At one campaign stop, he told his virtually all-white audience to watch “other communities” (translation: heavily black neighborhoods) to make sure they were not committing voter fraud. “I hear these horror shows, and we have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us,” he said.

At another rally, he claimed that the FBI and the Department of Justice were in cahoots with his rival, Hillary Clinton. “The Clintons are criminals. … And the establishment that protects them has engaged in a massive cover-up of widespread criminal activity … to keep the Clintons in power. … This is a conspiracy against you, the American people,” he proclaimed wildly in one of his fact-free rants.

His rhetoric of late raises the prospect that Trump would incite his voters to all sorts of mischief should he lose, which, thank heaven, looks increasingly likely. Of course, that’s of a piece with the havoc he has already created, the competing, dissonant forces of nihilism and fascism that he has already unleashed.

So if you have gained some comfort from Trump’s recent dramatic drop in the polls, don’t get too complacent. Even in defeat, he will continue to influence the fate of the republic. Trumpism, I’m afraid, will be with us for some time to come.

The real estate mogul and reality TV star rose to the top of the Republican heap by appealing to the basest instincts of a significant number of GOP voters — Americans who tend toward xenophobia and racial prejudice, who are most secure within a white patriarchy, who are vulnerable to the weirdest conspiracy theories if those theories confirm their world-view, who are inclined toward authoritarianism (as long as the authoritarian shares their identity politics).

He has primed those voters to believe that our democratic institutions no longer work; he has encouraged them to be suspicious of people of color; he has suggested that they respond with violence to any electoral setback. Americans tend to take one of the best features of our democracy for granted — that the losers accept their defeat, that they affirm the legitimacy of the process. Trump has no respect for that basic tradition.

But that’s just one way in which he has normalized behavior that, just a short year ago, was completely out of bounds for an American presidential candidate. The civic fabric has been stretched and grossly contorted by the behavior of a man who has no more use for our democratic values than Vladimir Putin, whom Trump admires.

During the last debate, Trump threatened to imprison his rival, Hillary Clinton, if he were elected. Allow me to repeat that because it is simply astounding: In a nation founded on the rule of law, he has threatened to jail a rival who has not been convicted of any crime (or even prosecuted for one). That happens in Putin’s Russia. That happens in banana republics, in Third World dictatorships.

Never mind that his supporters claim to revere the U.S. Constitution. They chant “Lock her up!” at his rallies. But that sickening disrespect for democratic conventions draws little comment or scrutiny as reporters race to cover the next outrage, the next assault, the next low in a campaign that has rolled around in the sewers for months now.

At least Trump’s outsized misogyny has finally drawn the attention that it deserves. With the release of an audiotape in which he brags about sexually assaulting women, other victims of his lechery have come forward to tell their sad tales. His poll numbers are plummeting, his unfavorable ratings among women soaring.

Still, considerable damage has already been done. Trump and his followers have set fire to the public commons and dumped jet fuel on it. The resulting conflagration will not be easy to contain.

Photo: A protester disrupts a rally with Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. May 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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62 responses to “Trump Opened Pandora’s Box And There Is No Going Back”

  1. PrecipitousDrop says:

    On the one hand, it will take mountains of patience and benevolent vigilance as we wade through the jagged rubble from Trump’s certain defeat in November.
    On the other, the GOP is irreparably damaged by his incendiary campaign. Trump’s shameless celebration of every awful thing — from overt racism and anti-semitism to making jolly sport of sexual predation — has tarred the party for a generation. They’ve promoted unsuccessful candidates before, but those were reasonable, Conservative men. Trump is a proven liar who gleefully incites his crowds to insurrection — and most Republican House and Senate members continue to endorse him!

    I’m uneasy about the inevitable civil unrest Trump has inspired. People will probably be injured. I’m truly sorry about that.
    Yet, the mortal wounds he’s given to the phony “Party of Values” fills me with hope for real progressive improvement in every area from civil rights to restoration of a vast and prosperous middle class.

    • iamproteus says:

      I hope Trump’s followers don’t take the road of insurrection after his defeat next month but I am truly afraid that many will. I fear that we are in for a very rough ride in the next few months.

      • PrecipitousDrop says:

        Be calm, Proteus.
        Handfuls of armed, angry white guys won’t be any more successful at all-out insurrection than the Bundys were when they seized the bird sanctuary. The United States has many troubles, but fair and firm discouragement of domestic terrorism is one thing we do very, very well.

        • browninghipower says:

          Only if the terrorists are black with muslim sounding names..if they’re white like the Bundys, they get treated with tolerance and patience. We’ll see how this all plays out.

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            What’s your point, browning?
            What does race have to do with “…firm and fair discouragement of domestic terrorism…”?

          • browninghipower says:

            I’m not sure I trust law enforcement to react to white guy terrorists with the same force and resolve they show against muslim ‘types’……
            you know wait….I just realized I’m being a moron here. Really. I withdraw my dumb ass comment. I am completely wrong here. I imagine if Trump supporters begin any violence or the like, they’ll find that there’s little tolerance for them. I’m sorry…

          • Oddworld says:

            The minute the shooting is directed back at the Trumpites they’ll run back to their caves never to be seen or heard from again. Believe me, I know their type very well. They talk tough in groups
            but that’s all. I can’t speak for the few lone wolves, some of them may try something stupid. I’m more concerned with cyber attacks.

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            Don’t beat yourself up, browning.
            You’re cool.

    • Dominick Vila says:

      I agree. The biggest casualty of all this, besides our credibility as a civilized nation, are likely to be the GOP, and “conservatism” is general.

      • DEFENDER88 says:

        “Trump” is not the problem – Trump is but a superficial Symptom of the “problems”/”issues”.

        I see “most likely/hopefully” Clinton will win.
        And rightly so – “given the only other option”.
        Seems everyone “in here” demonizes Trump and want total Dem control.
        – Executive
        – Legislative
        – Judicial
        Does it not concern you that everyone in here wants total/long term Dem control?
        And we are heading in that direction.
        Obama 8yr, Clinton 8yr = 16yr.
        Eventually the Supreme court will be all Dem.
        That is approaching Totalitarianism.
        Or Totalitarian Democracy.
        Not the original design of a “Democratic Republic”.

        So – My concerns are:
        “Trump is but a superficial Symptom of the “problems”/”issues”.
        – Decline of the Middle Class
        – Income inequality
        – The super rich in control
        – “Pay for play” – ALL of Congress and Govt
        – Porous border
        – More
        I think this (one party long term control) will lead us down the “Proverbial” Rabbit Hole we will not recover from.
        You and I may only see the beginning of the devastation/decline but it will come without the checks and balances originally designed for our system.
        If the middle class disappears(already in progress) – then what?
        And the devastation(a country tearing itself apart) “may” come sooner than later.
        So you and I “may” indeed have to deal with it.
        Another reason why I will keep my weapons and ammo and not give them up.

        • Dominick Vila says:

          I can only speak for myself, and I can tell you, categorically, that I never proposed or supported total control by any political party.
          I lived in Venezuela and Spain when ruthless dictators were in power, and totalitarianism is the last thing I would propose.
          For the record, I voted for Rep Connie Morella, A Republican, when she represented my Maryland district years ago. I did it because I agreed with her moderate stand on issues, her qualifications, and record. That, by the way, is the most important reason I support Hillary Clinton.

          • DEFENDER88 says:

            I did not think “you” would support total control.
            But – if you read the comments in here, many, if not most do.
            And things seem to be headed that way.
            They see it as the answer to our problems/issues.
            This is what concerns me.
            And I cannot vision them understanding or relating to my concerns.
            Since you are one of the few “reasonable” Dems in here.
            I wrote you with my concerns for your input and thoughts.
            I “may” have to vote but I cannot “support” Hillary due to her misguided plans for gun bans and confiscations. Not to mention her status as the ultimate Belt-Way insider and multi-millionaire 1%er. And “Pay for Play” meetings in the Hamptons(2 wks ago) and “pay for play” meetings now on the Left Coast.
            She is not the same (caring for the middle class) person she was in ’08. I did support her then. Then voted for Obama when she asked me too.

        • PrecipitousDrop says:

          “I will keep my weapons and ammo and not give them up.”
          Ya big Silly!
          You only need one. Of each.

  2. A. D. Reed says:

    Brava to Cynthia Tucker for her insight and brutal honesty. Trump is the greatest danger to the national polity since Joseph McCarthy, and until the Republicans in Congress — however many remain after Nov. 8 — denounce him in no uncertain terms and reject and repudiate that entire alt-right, racist, KKK, Putinesque wing of their party, the tears and tatters will not be healed.

    There are a few — perhaps 50 — principled Republicans in both houses, including Kasich, Sasse, Butterfield, and a few others. The rest are not willing to stand up either to Trump or to his followers lest they lose their seats, which they value more than their country, Ryan, McConnell, McCain, Kelly Ayotte, RUbio, Cruz, and several hundred others, are of no use to anyone.

    I trust that President Hillary Clinton will reach out to the honorable Republicans and offer to help them rebuild their party’s integrity by working together on share goals for the country; I hope she will refuse even to shake the hands of those others, as she did with Trump at the beginning of the second debate, much less accept their political terrorism as a new norm.

  3. Move over Trump—it looks like you have a kindred spirit in the form of President Buhari of Nigeria. Both Trump and Buhari adhere to a way of thinking about women that belong in an era that belongs in the past and can’t be tolerated in civilized society.
    Trump’s gigantic ego was due to trap him as many of us saw early on, when he became more prominently displayed after the birther claims and other troubling signs.
    Although we should amass all the evidence first which his ego has generously left behind for investigators to uncover before a decision is made, it’s looking like he should be headed for a doctor’s appointment to get “fixed”, and/or locked up.

    Hope the surgery will be as traumatic, if not more, as what the trauma of groping, and other forms of sexual assault, are for its victims.

    • PrecipitousDrop says:

      Too late for an operation, Aaron.
      Donald, Jr., is out in the world telling women that sexual assault in the workplace is an ordinary occurrence and that only “kindergarten teachers” would object.
      Eric enthused warm praise for his father after the first debate because Trump, Sr., “took the high road” and didn’t bring up Bill Clinton’s peccadilloes in front of Chelsea.
      I disagree with Sec. Clinton on this — all his kids are pure trash.

      • Donald’s kids got a bum deal by being brought up by an egomaniac—being sired by Trump isn’t their fault. But as adults, the responsibility is all on them, if they insist on imitating dad and giving him public support.
        For that, Donald Jr, Eric, and other offspring white-washing dad’s behavior, deserve to be soundly rebuked and taken out behind the shed for a good thrashing.

  4. charleo1 says:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
    Even in those times We The People have been most polarized, our public debate the most contentious. These words, this oath of office taken by each of our Presidents since the beginning, have been held held up in unanimous sacrosanctity. As we all demand Our Constitution that after all protects us from the power of a possibly tyrannous State. That it be upheld, defended, and protected is only right. But it has been in the processes of upholding, defending, and protecting, where the discussions, arguments, and public discourse have become the most heated. Where the stakes are always the highest. That central place where we the people, using our democratic institutions of law, and governance throughout our history have been able to define, and redefine who we are as a Nation. The nature, scope, and particularities of those values and principles which we hold in such high regard, are willing if need be, to sacrifice all in order to preserve.

    And never in my memories, or readings of our history, excepting perhaps at the time of our great Civil War, have those principles, and values been more on trial. More apt to be dramatically changed, or strongly upheld, than is centered in this often absurd, but more often deeply, and frighteningly disturbing contest for President of The United States.
    Because as not all Presidents are created equally in their influence, and impact. It is almost impossible to overstate the consequence the next one will have on the Country. On how, and by what manner that Constitution we hold so dearly, and our Rights as Citizens, and the dedication of law to the firmly established democratic institutions it guarantees. This, for generations of Americans to come. Far beyond the mere four, or eight year term limit this President may serve. It is fate, that it will be this President that will seat the majority on the Supreme Court. Where under its authority we shall see the final determinations on the nature, the philosophical bent, and in multitudes of issues both knowable, and unforeseeable, will determine those very principles, precedents, and priorities we will then stand upon as a Nation for generations. How important each of us face this momentous decision with the seriousness, and gravitas it deserves.

  5. browninghipower says:

    I place the blames for this horrific situation:
    1. Reagan
    2. Birchers who have never ever quit
    3. Goldwater and his acolytes
    4. The religious Right
    5. Christian Dominionists
    6. Hate Talk Radio
    7. Media Consolidation
    8. Reagan
    9. Gutless Democrats
    10. Corporate Democrats
    11. Wealthy Liberals who refused to support grass-roots Democratic activities
    12. Democrats who abandoned Unions and Blue Collar workers
    13. Did I mention Reagan?

    • dtgraham says:

      Well said sir. You could throw in Fox News, and numbers 9, 10, 11, and 12 don’t get talked about enough.

    • I Am Helpy says:

      14. Jill Stein
      15. Bernie Sanders

      • browninghipower says:

        Why these two?

        • dtgraham says:

          Because he’s a conservative blue dog Democrat on the right of the party. I’ve corresponded with Helpy lots. There’s probably a dime’s worth of difference between him and a Republican.

          • I Am Helpy says:

            ^ this guy is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Thinks it’s OK to spread totally debunked Koch brothers sourced Clinton conspiracy theories even after provided with iron-clad evidence that he is wrong. Plus, of course, he’s the kind of fake progressive that uses mental health slurs.

          • I Am Helpy says:

            Oh, and anyone that doesn’t agree with him that only his opinion is correct is a “conservative”. It’s pathetic.

        • I Am Helpy says:

          Short of Putin, who’s done more to help Trump out by spreading conspiracy theories and baseless smears of the Democratic Party that those two?

        • I Am Helpy says:

          Stein, for example, is still pushing the claim that Sanders was cheated out of the candidacy (only white people get to vote, apparently). And then there’s the stuff like THIS:

          • browninghipower says:

            Got it…

          • I Am Helpy says:

            to be fair, I should probably have said the Sanders campaign rather than Sanders himself.

          • dtgraham says:

            Same thing, idiot boy.

          • I Am Helpy says:

            I’m sorry, I don’t really care what you think.

            I hope that helps!

          • dtgraham says:

            That’s the stuff.

          • I Am Helpy says:

            See previous post.

          • dtgraham says:

            Why isn’t Gary Johnson also on your list? After all, he’s been spreading “baseless smears and conspiracy theories” towards Hillary and the Democratic party (and Trump and the Republicans) in his criticisms, like Stein has. The reason old Helpy there didn’t suggest him is because he loves Johnson’s far right Libertarian views. It’s as simple as that.

            This isn’t about political parties and politicians critiquing each other during the heat of the primaries or an election campaign. They’re just doing what they’re supposed to do. We’re talking causal factors that are much deeper, more complex and go back a long ways, which have created the conditions we’re seeing today that’s allowed for the rise of a Donald Trump. Trump didn’t come out of a vacuum.

            You did a good job of listing those long term factors. You gave some of the blame to corporate, establishment Democrats who ignored the needs of the white working class for decades. That makes some sense. However, how then do you pivot and also blame progressive-left politicians like Bernie Sanders and the Green party leader (who’s been there for 4 years)? Does that make sense? It’s contradictory. You’re assigning significant blame for the conditions which eventually led to the insurrection we’re seeing on the right today, to Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. Roll that around in your mouth for a few moments and think about it. Bernie Sanders and the present Green party leader?

            Look, at some point people start getting the government they deserve.

          • Dan says:

            The millions of Russian Jews who had lands, businesses, homes and lives stolen would consider Dr. Stein to be an equine posterior.
            The tens of millions of European Jews who died in Hitler’s extermination and the handful who survived would consider Dr. Stein to be a Certifiable Rectal Orifice within an Equine Posterior.

            Simon Peres would laugh in her face.
            The Iranian ayatollahs hope her ignorance rules all Jews.

          • waggaze says:

            The same can be claimed of the American Indians who faced extermination by Jews, Christians and interlopers in general. When these Holocaust survivors see justice then those you cite could be addressed. Until such time you have exhorted shear rhetoric without basis.

  6. dtgraham says:

    I think there’s of lot of angst and hand wringing in this article that I’m not sure is all completely justified. America may be very divided politically and with a very divided media, but to insinuate some future anarchy or meltdown is a little over the top.

    I know that some of the guardrails of American democracy have been taken down, but I have to believe that the Republican party will be helping to find ways of putting at least some of them back up again once the specter of continued electoral catastrophes (Presidential) becomes apparent.

    The United States is such an old and successful first world democracy with such strong, solid, democratic institutions that these words still ring true:

    “This democracy we have is a precious thing. For all the arguments and all the doubts and all the cynicism that’s out there today, we should never forget that as Americans we enjoy more freedoms and opportunities than citizens in any nation on Earth. We are free to speak our mind and worship as we please. We are free to choose our leaders, and free to criticize when they let us down.” — Barack Obama

    I don’t know about the any nation on earth thing, but this won’t change.

    • Dan says:

      There are numerous examples of successful destroyers of democratic societies:
      Lenin, Stalin, Tito, Adolph Hitler
      Pol Pot, Mao, Marcos,

      George Wallace,

      • dtgraham says:

        And not one of them share the humanitarian, progressive-left democratic values of a Bernie Sanders or a Jill Stein, both of whom apparently managed to make it on browninghipower’s list .

        George Wallace wasn’t successful.

  7. Dan S says:

    If Tic Tac incites & encourages violence after the election he’ll be looking at getting locked up ???? sooner rather than later

    • waggaze says:

      Hopefully the RICO trial with the “Mexican” judge will lock him up not unlike what happened to Adolph after the Munich insurrection. He can read Mein Kampf several times while doing his time in federal lock down.

  8. Dan says:

    Just a few reasons for putting El Trumpo on trial, state and federal;
    Confessed Sexual Predator with Physical Assault, multiple witnesses ready to testify;
    Felony tax fraud, using Trump Foundation money to campaign, while the foundation is not legally formed or operated;
    Repeated lies and attacks upon federal agencies;

    Proven slander and libel against numerous state, federal and local entities — and private individuals.
    Inciting to riot and physical assault in multiple cities and states.

    • PrecipitousDrop says:

      When the crash of the failed Trump campaign concludes in November, it’s gonna leave a crater.

      • waggaze says:

        A crater like no asteroid could ever leave on society. He has empowered the crazies of our nation and dared them to take up arms in protest protecting his ideologies of a mentally deranged criminal.

        • PrecipitousDrop says:

          I think most of the damage will fall on Trump, his campaign staff, the GOP, and his supporters.
          His businesses are already failing from his vulgar and divisive catastrophe of a Concert Tour/Campaign. His children, Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka depend on the Trump name for their livelihoods. I have no doubt they’ll tear him and the companies to bits, beginning November 9th. He has revealed himself to be a Loser. Therefore weak. Ergo, suitable for predatory consumption.
          His campaign staff will disperse immediately. There will be no chance for a permanent spot in any administration. Political operatives usually live in the shadows, in the dark hallways of convention centers, and behind the curtain in thousands of smaller halls. The Trump name on a resume will not open ANY doors of significant measure. Plus, dollars to donuts, more than half will never be paid as promised when they signed on. It will be an excellent test of Trump’s three-page non-disclosure agreement.
          The cascading domino effect on the GOP will be THE story to watch until the mid-term elections. They’re broke and dejected. It might well take ALL of two years to regain their financial footing.
          That leaves his supporters, the furious, white, non-college educated mix of Sam’s Club shoppers and the Alt-Right. They’ll point fingers and accuse everyone and everything but themselves through the Bowl games and probably dissipate after that. They’ll be their ordinary, habitually disgruntled selves in time for the Super Bowl. This election won’t matter after that. Lady GaGa, amiright? What better ending for the rise and fall of a reality TV celeb?

  9. Jon says:

    Trump has been sowing the seeds of discontent and civil unrest from the start. His now infamous Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists speech was made at the time he announced his candidacy in June 2015. Soon after he was being endorsed by right wing hate groups and websites.
    Other than a weak repudiation of David Duke’s endorsement after 1st lying saying he didn’t know Duke or anything about him and repeated requests for him to repudiate Duke, Trump has never repudiated any of the other endorsements.
    Trump and his supporters have no respect for democracy or the rule of law. Trump is an authoritarian and the authoritarian his supporters want to see replace our democracy. No law and order candidate would be encouraging his followers to disrespect democracy and engage in unlawful violent acts.
    The article mentions one of the lines I heard Trump deliver and was appalled at hearing it. Trump said this to his overly hyped crowd about the reports being made by women he has sexually abused, “This is a conspiracy against you, the American people.” No one had said a single word about the American people. The only words said were about Trump. He certainly doesn’t represent the American people. Nevertheless Trump’s rabid rats went wild.
    Trump has already done great damage to our country. He can’t accept losing and to spite the American people he will get even with them for not electing him by doing as much damage to it as he possibly can. He’s a loser. He’s a disaster. Sad.

  10. waggaze says:

    The author of this article has opined on the wild and uncontrollable cult following he has nurtured through racism and rabid bigotry rhetoric hitting the nail squarely on the head. These are the same undesirables McConnell, Ryan, Boner and the Teabaggers have used to undermine this president’s two terms in office through unstated racism. Drumpf opened the proverbial door empowering these dregs of society giving them a voice and has incited them to take physical actions akin to seditious acts bordering on rebelling against our legitimate government.
    Once this election is over and Clinton wins action mist be taken to reel these unsavory people into our normal plural society. They must be given the opportunity to calm down into a civil obedient group. If it proves to be that they cannot obey our laws and Drumpf continues to incite rebellion against our government action in the form of federal charges against him and his verbally empowered cult following must be pursued to protect our democracy and her people from anarchy.
    Drumpf has admitted business dealings with Russia and Putin and there is evidence he has initiated business discussions with Cuba which is strictly prohibited under US law and Congress. These are two areas DOJ and Congress cannot permit Drumpf to violate therefore charges must be levied against him personally and his Trump Organization. Together with the current fraud charges including a RICO Act charges against him for Trump University must be pursued with vigor and determination. No man or corporation is above the law just as inciting rebellion against our country cannot be left unchallenged and unprosecuted as this will empower other faction like the Bundy’s to rise up in seditious acts.

    • PrecipitousDrop says:

      I dunno, Wags…
      Sounds like YOU’RE sparking for a fight.
      A damned heavy-handed one, at that.

      • waggaze says:

        If Drumpf continues to incite his following as he has been doing of late in Cincinnati Ohio and other rallies his tactics speak for themselves. If he continues his rhetoric of a child of charges that everything is rigged against him and his followers calling them to take action against a legitimate government he should be charged with inciting rebellion and those who are so weak minded to follow his suggestions are eligible for the same treatment.
        Those of us who work and pay our federal taxes are growing tired of these freeloader and whiners disrupting pluralism and civility. These people have contributed nothing but disruption, hate, bigotry and racism blaming everyone else and taking no personal responsibility for their lot which includes the alt-right or Klan in common speak.

        • PrecipitousDrop says:

          Trump is losing BECAUSE of his deeply divisive and incendiary rhetoric.
          Trump is supported — in large part — by the minority of white residents who are still mad that a BLACK MAN was elected, and re-elected President. They are buoyed by the unabashed legislative obstruction of the Republican party and the party’s wink!-wink! nurturing of Obama Derangement Syndrome. Trump’s campaign has taken this 8 years of party line, added some verses to include hatred of Hispanic Americans and Muslims, and turned up the volume. Now, many in the Republican party find the volume to be intolerable — but not the underlying messages built of fear and hate. So, the Trump Loss fallout is really nothing new.
          Our duty is to reject this underlying message of hate and fear — at the ballot box — and fill our town councils, county commissions, statehouses, legislative districts, and the Senate with representatives who also reject this message. That’s how we refute the fear and hate cultists. That’s how they are silenced. It requires voting more often than every four years. Republicans know this, their opposition has yet to learn.

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