Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Red-Faced Menace (continued)

Reaction to Trump and his acceptance speech continued on Friday, with striking strength and unanimity: this guy is truly dangerous.

Both the Washington Post and New York Times editorially warned of the disaster to the United States that a Trump presidency would be.  Other news organizations suggested the same, while some opinion sites were even stronger.

Individuals added insights, elaborations and unique expressions.  In his WAPost opinion piece called This is how fascism comes to Amerca, scholar Robert Kagan delineated the possible process that only begins with Trump's election.  "To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the Republican Party today. These movements play on all the fears, vanities, ambitions and insecurities that make up the human psyche."  If Trump succeeds in winning based on these, they will play out and entrench themselves.

Those GOPer pols who back him for political expediency will find themselves just as victimized as everyone else.  (JFK had a metaphor for this in his Inaugural: Those who try to ride the back of the tiger might wind up inside.) Kagan:

 "What these people do not or will not see is that, once in power, Trump will owe them and their party nothing. He will have ridden to power despite the party, catapulted into the White House by a mass following devoted only to him. By then that following will have grown dramatically. Today, less than 5 percent of eligible voters have voted for Trump. But if he wins the election, his legions will likely comprise a majority of the nation. Imagine the power he would wield then. In addition to all that comes from being the leader of a mass following, he would also have the immense powers of the American presidency at his command..."

Trump's election is unlikely to happen, but among those who insist that it could happen are Frank Rich at New York and John Cassidy at the New Yorker.

And another voice has been added to those wondering about Trump's ties to Putin and Russia--the estimable Paul Krugman, in his column The Siberian Candidate. Noting Trump's public infatuation with Putin (along with other rabid rightists), the involvement of his campaign manager in Putin-backed political campaigns, he wonders about the extent of Putin and Russian involvement in Trump's business empire, much of which is not known, partly because Trump refuses to release his tax returns. "We do know that he has substantial if murky involvement with wealthy Russians and Russian businesses. You might say that these are private actors, not the government — but in Mr. Putin’s crony-capitalist paradise, this is a meaningless distinction."

Krugman concludes: At some level, Mr. Trump’s motives shouldn’t matter. We should be horrified at the spectacle of a major-party candidate casually suggesting that he might abandon American allies — just as we should be horrified when that same candidate suggests that he might welsh on American financial obligations. But there’s something very strange and disturbing going on here, and it should not be ignored.

Of all the pieces published since Trump's speech that I've read, Timothy Egan's column Make America Hate Again in the New York Times is the most succinct and eloquent.  Evaluating the entire GOP convention he wrote: "For a campaign now devoted to “law and order,” the launch was mob rule: in spirit, in tone, in words. Long after we’ve forgotten Trump’s closing speech — that paean to self, that nightmare portrait of an America where the lights have gone out — we will remember the savagery just below the surface."

That savagery emerged in one pointed set of terms popular at the convention, described in the New York magazine blog piece called How 'Bitch' Became the Word of the Republican National Convention. 

Absorbing and evaluating all this is not pleasant, so as usual we turn to Borowitz at the New Yorker for his take:

Trump Succeeds in Delivering Speech No One Will Want to Plagiarize

According to his staff, Trump and his speechwriters had been working overtime during the week to create a tirade that was sufficiently bloated, unhinged, and terrifying to discourage potential plagiarists from reusing excerpts in the future.

No comments: