Thursday, September 28, 2023

Advocates for Donald Trump

It really is quite extraordinary- not surprising, but extraordinary. On Monday, Brian Klaas of The Atlantic wrote

Late Friday night, the former president of the United States—and a leading candidate to be the next president—insinuated that America’s top general deserves to be put to death.

That extraordinary sentence would be unthinkable in any other rich democracy. But Donald Trump, on his social-media network, Truth Social, wrote that Mark Milley’s phone call to reassure China in the aftermath of the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was “an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH.” (The phone call was, in fact, explicitly authorized by Trump-administration officials.) Trump’s threats against Milley came after The Atlantic’s publication of a profile of Milley, by this magazine’s editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, who detailed the ways in which Milley attempted to protect the Constitution from Trump....

Trump loves to hide behind the thin veneer of plausible deniability, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. If a mob boss were to say, “In times gone by, people like you would have had their legs broken,” nobody would mistake that for a historical observation. The suggestion is clear, and it comes from a man who has one of America’s loudest megaphones—one that is directed squarely at millions of extremists who are well armed, who insist that the government is illegitimate, and who believe that people like Milley are part of a “deep state” plot against the country.

Noting that a member of the House of Representatives has echoed Trump's wish with “in a better society, quislings like the strange sodomy-promoting General Milley would be hung," Klaas' primary concern is political violence, a growing likelihood in the USA.

That possibility is serious enough but would not even be the most devastating outcome of Trump's threats. In the past week, the ex-President has encouraged assassination of a general and has denounced a major media company, which he said "should be investigated for its 'Country Threatening Treason." Attacking the 2020 election, last December he posted  "A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.”

The wish list thus includes termination of military officers performing their duty, media which questions him, and the entire framework of the rule of law, including the Constitution. It's clear Donald J. Trump intends to corral the military and all law enforcement as the next President, and it's not to maintain a democratic republic.

Then on Wednesday evening, several Republican candidates for President participated in a debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, and Ron DeSantis criticized the leading candidate, Donald J. Trump, for not showing up.  Christie further knocked the ex-President for running up the national debt and cozying up to Vladimir Putin, as he maintained Presidents Biden, Obama, and GW Bush had done. Haley knocked her ex-boss for largely ignoring the threat posed by China.

Seven candidates, fewer than half would criticize Donald Trump for not joining them on stage, two for a policy issue, and none for supporting totalitarianism.

Then it got worse. At evening's end, Dana Perino would ask what seemed like a silly question, but for which the response was telling:

And candidates, it’s now obvious that if you all stay, in the race, former President Donald Trump wins the nomination. None of you have indicated that you’re dropping out. So, which one of you, on stage, tonight, should be voted off the island?  Please use your marker, to write your choice, on the notepad, in front of you. 15 seconds, starting now. Of the people on the stage, who should be voted —

They are competing for a presidential nomination. Thus far, the leading candidate has refused to show them the courtesy or respect by engaging in debate. He obviously is taking both them and the voters for granted.

Perino gave the candidates an opportunity to say that in so doing Donald Trump had forfeited his right to be the nominee of their party, or at least that he should step aside for one of the worthy candidates.

Only Christie offered up Trump. Two (Pence, Burgum) said nothing while four of their colleagues explicitly ruled out answering the question. 

Six of the seven thereby either actively or passively defended their main rival by implying that he should remain in the race. At a (bare) minimum, they could have said, "any candidate who doesn't respect Republican voters should not be the nominee." They wouldn't even have had to utter the name "Trump."

Their rival has been indicted four times, including for encouraging a coup against the government of the United States of America and for purloining top secret documents, even ones disclosing nuclear secrets and plans for possible military action against an enemy. That individual now has given the thumbs up to assassinating a general, closing down a media company not subservient to him, and terminating the Constitution.

MAGA this, MAGA that. By contrast, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, and Tim Scott all are part of the non-chaos wing of the Republican Party, which much of the media ignorantly characterize as "moderate." And all but one of those, a guy who hates unions, teachers, and reproductive care for women, appear perfectly fine with Donald J. Trump becoming the 47th President of the USA.

Bring him on! Four more years! Trump for President, cry GOP voters- and the candidates for President. If I didn't know any better, I'd think it's one political party alone responsible for polarization of the nation.


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