Wednesday, October 19, 2016

No, he should not

“The question is no longer whether Donald Trump should be President. The question is whether he should be free to roam among us.” — Andy Borowitz

DID YOU hear what Donny said tonight in the "debate"? He's not sure if he'll accept the results of the election. 

And people thought we (you and I and anyone with any sense) were engaging in hyperbole when we said Don has an affinity for fascism. What is he proposing? A splinter government? A coup d'etat? 

Here are two takes on tonight's rout from a pair of New York Times opinion writers.

Election? We Don't Need No Stinking Election

By Andrew Rosenthal
October 19, 2016

Remember when people, including me, thought that Donald Trump’s invitation for Russian hackers to invade Hillary Clinton’s emails was one of the most breathtakingly undemocratic things ever said by a presidential candidate? We were so naïve.

On the debate stage in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Donald Trump flatly refused, twice, to say that he would accept the results of the election.

Asked by the moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, whether he would make the same commitment to respect democracy made by his running mate, Mike Pence, and his daughter Ivanka, Trump gave us one of smug looks. “I will look at it at the time,” he said.

I don’t take much of what Trump says seriously. He’s not going to build a wall on the Mexican border, just for starters, unless his own company gets the contracts. But there is nothing more precious to American democracy than the peaceful transfer of power according to the will of the voters. It’s the founding principle of our country.

Not, apparently, to Donald Trump, who earlier in the debate claimed to be a great champion of judges who applied the Constitution literally as it was written. (Which, of course, would mean that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton could never have voted, never mind become president.)

He blamed Hillary Clinton personally for inciting violence at his rallies. (A lie.) And said that the news media are colluding with the Democratic nominee to poison the minds of voters, which is also untrue unless quoting his own words counts as poisoning. Trump then went on to talk about the “millions” of people who are falsely registered to vote. Another lie.

Wallace asked Trump again to simply say he would honor the election results. Trump’s reply: “What I am saying is that I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense.”

Clinton responded with a huge understatement. “That’s horrifying,” she said.

Trump won’t commit to honoring the election results. He is encouraging people to go to voting places to “monitor” voter fraud — a dog whistle for intimidating minority voters. And now he says he won’t stand by the American people’s judgment.

I don’t believe Trump is going to lead a popular uprising after Election Day. He’s not the leader of a movement, as he says. He’s a narcissist. If he loses, he’ll probably go back where he came from, to the haze of reality TV and shady business dealings.

But it was still terrifying to see someone in an American presidential debate implying that he did not respect the democratic system.

Donald Trump's Civics Class

By Mark Schmitt
October 19, 2016

Donald Trump “denigrates democracy,” as Hillary Clinton said, when he suggests that the election is rigged, or will be rigged, or that his opponent “shouldn’t have been allowed to run.” But he also shows a bizarre disregard for the idea that democracy is a collaborative enterprise, that it’s not a system in which a single individual exercises total power. That’s evident in his repeated claims that Clinton, as a senator, could have “changed the law” on, for example, the tax breaks he’s taken. It’s evident on his own side as well, with the idea that he can build a wall or single-handedly impose tariffs or taxes on companies that move jobs abroad.

Trump doesn’t understand the basics about how American government works, but beyond all the technicalities, he also shows a staggering lack of regard — or even acknowledgment of — democracy as a joint enterprise rather than a sole proprietorship.

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