Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Trump and the Post Go to War

When Donald Trump banned  Washington Post reporters from covering his campaign, the Post's editors fired back:
It had not seemed possible, but Donald Trump descended this week to a new low of bigotry, fear-mongering and conspiracy-peddling. . . . As the country mourned the wanton slaughter of 49 people early Sunday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee took a victory lap, hinted darkly that President Obama is an enemy of the nation, libeled American Muslims and, in grotesque punctuation, finished up with a vindictive attack on the media .

“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism,” he tweeted. “I don’t want congrats,” he continued, as though that were not exactly what he wanted, “I want toughness & vigilance.” Mr. Trump may have calculated that a suddenly anxious electorate would be more receptive to his campaign of fear and prejudice, emotions he immediately attempted to inflame.

Mr. Trump also raised suspicion in television interviews that Mr. Obama wants terrorists to strike the United States, or at least looks the other way as they scheme. “We’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart or has something else in mind. And the something else in mind — people can’t believe it. People cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on.” . . .

Mr. Trump capped a day of assaulting fundamental liberal democratic values by announcing he would ban Post reporters from covering his campaign events. If this is his inclination now, imagine how he might wield the powers of the presidency.

Before the Orlando shooting, Beltway analysts speculated about how a terrorist attack might affect the presidential election. Now we know at least part of the answer: Mr. Trump would reveal himself more clearly than ever as a man unfit to lead.


G. Verloren said...

Trump keeps becoming more cartoonishly Hitlereqsue, and yet people are still going to vote for him.

In fact, I think part of the problem is that very cartoonishness - many of his supporters think his behavior is all just an act, blowing smoke but bearing no substance. The possibility of his actually being serious seems to them beyond consideration, too absurd to be possible.

But that's how it always starts. The current crisis in Poland, of which the American media remains oddly silent, is the product of voters not believing the ultra conservatives they voted for would ever truly make good on their supposedly empty threats - that they wouldn't really attack the democratic process, despite promising to do just that. But they ended up keeping their promises, and Poland's entire legal system has now been undermined by the people they put in power, and the future of their entire nation is in question.

And the same sort of mentality also led Hitler into power in Germany. Too many citizens saw him as a blustering conman, and didn't take his threats or promises seriously. It was an era where many people were disenfranchised with the whole system - huge numbers of Germans considered themselves "apolitical", or claimed they "didn't care" about politics. And so they stood by and watched as the Nazi party rose to prominence, and then they stood by and watched as they manipulated events and cemented their position, and by the time Germany's democratic system began to be dismantled, it was suddenly far too late, and the startled and concerned portions of the population finally realizing their error had little recourse.

leif said...

an apt reminder that needs a broader audience.