Trump, in victory or defeat, has damaged American democracy

Posted 3 November 2016 at 8:50 pm


“Hillary’s corruption is a threat to democracy. If she is elected, investigations will go on for years and nothing will get done, folks.”  Well said, Steve.

How serious is the damage being done to our Constitutional Republic by inflammatory rhetoric and irresponsible demagoguery?  As he spouts the intoxicating phrases of someone (Steve Bannon) who may, or may not, be an anarchist/Leninist, we must assume for sanity’s sake, that candidate Trump is motivated by love of country.

This election is a test of our knowledge of history and the principles embodied in the Constitution. Glenn Beck, the self-proclaimed Constitutionalist, a man who once had a lot of “street cred” among the anti-Obama right, has warned of dire consequences should Trump prevail.

Make no mistake, the potential for calamity exists whether he “prevails” or not. He has used the megaphone of his wealth, fame, and stature as the nominee of a national political party to fan the flames of suspicion and distrust of the judicial system, and raised doubts about the validity of democratic elections and the free press indispensable to that democracy.

Recall that Jefferson once said, “If I had to choose between a government without newspapers and newspapers without a government, I would not hesitate to choose the latter.”

But who is he compared to Donald Trump? The fact that numerous solidly Republican “leaning” editorial boards have refused to endorse him qualifies them as “failed” in Trump world.

In some ways it is as simple as the chants he leads at his rallies: “Lock her up!” “Hillary for prison!”

Ironically, he forecasts apocalyptic scenarios for democracy if Clinton gets elected. Of course, he suggests investigations would have to go forward whether she is elected, or not. Has his popularity among millions of patriotic Americans made him forget that the criminal justice system separates responsibility for bringing people to justice into three distinct roles? Not even Donald Trump has the power to arrest, prosecute and convict without Fifth Amendment due process of law and a jury trial.

Keep in mind that Clinton was part of the administration that followed George W. Bush, a President whose “shortcomings” resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans. There were no investigations of Bush initiated by his successor that I know of. Neither was there an investigation of Ronald Reagan after he overruled the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff and sent 264 Marines to their deaths at the Beirut Airport in the early 1980’s.

In fact, Bush and Reagan were both re-elected overwhelmingly.

But Clinton is “different”, even if the chain of responsibility for the tragic deaths of 4 Americans at Benghazi is less clear.

The question is whether a President Trump will respect a Constitutional system and traditions (on view as recently as Obama’s Presidency) that helped make The United States of America great in the first place, or assume he knows better than everyone who has gone before him, including The Founding Fathers.

Or, should Clinton prevail, will candidate Trump graciously accept/respect the will of the people and set about attempting to disarm the “bomb” he has so cleverly devised?

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent


Retired American History teacher