Trump tries to wreck the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - Eu­gene Robin­son

— Ap­par­ently we’ve reached the part where Don­ald Trump, not sat­is­fied with hav­ing de­mol­ished the Repub­li­can Party, tries to bring down the rest of the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem as well. No one should be sur­prised.

The garbage that comes out of his mouth gets more vile and pu­trid by the day. On Tues­day, he sug­gested that fer­vent de­fend­ers of the right to keep and bear arms could take things into their own hands if Hil­lary Clin­ton were elected. It was a shock­ing in­cite­ment to po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence.

“If she gets to pick her judges, noth­ing you can do, folks,” Trump told a rally in North Carolina. “Al­though

WASH­ING­TON

the Se­cond Amend­ment peo­ple — maybe there is, I don’t know.”

We all un­der­stood ex­actly what he was say­ing. House Speaker Paul Ryan sug­gested that per­haps he was try­ing to be funny. Since Trump knows noth­ing, per­haps Ryan will ex­plain to him that five of our 44 pres­i­dents have been shot while in of­fice.

A day later, Trump was equally un­hinged at a Florida rally when he went on a bizarre rant about the ter­ror­ist Is­lamic State, also known as ISIS. “In many re­spects, you know, they honor Pres­i­dent Obama. ISIS is hon­or­ing Pres­i­dent Obama. He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS. The founder. He founded ISIS. And I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hil­lary Clin­ton.”

Be hon­est, all you Repub­li­cans who sup­port Trump de­spite know­ing bet­ter. If you were walk­ing down the side­walk and some­one com­ing to­ward you was scream­ing those words ver­ba­tim, you’d cross the street. This is the man you want to en­trust with the nu­clear codes? Se­ri­ously?

Con­ser­va­tive ra­dio host Hugh He­witt tried gamely to help Trump clean up the mess. “I know what you meant,” he told the can­di­date Thurs­day, “you meant that [Obama] cre­ated the vac­uum, he lost the peace.”

“No, I meant that he’s the founder of ISIS, I do,” Trump said. “He was the most valu­able player.”

He­witt sug­gested this line of at­tack was a mis­take. Trump’s re­ply: “No, it’s no mis­take. Ev­ery­one’s lik­ing it. I think they’re lik­ing it.”

So much for the idea that Trump, at some point, will un­dergo a meta­mor­pho­sis and turn into a nor­mal can­di­date, the kind who doesn’t go around en­cour­ag­ing po­lit­i­cal as­sas­si­na­tion or ac­cus­ing the pres­i­dent of found­ing a ter­ror­ist group. If the cheer­ing crowds at his hate-filled ral­lies are happy, Trump is happy.

Speaker Ryan and all you other re­luc­tant Trump sup­port­ers, you know as well as I do that he’s not go­ing to change. Not ever. You will re­call that this was sup­posed to be the week when Trump turned to the econ­omy. He even gave a teleprompter-aided speech Mon­day that was gen­er­ally praised by con­ser­va­tives, who clearly are will­ing to grade their can­di­date on an ab­surdly gen­er­ous curve. But within a day, Trump was back to set­ting new lows in the his­tory of mod­ern pres­i­den­tial cam­paign­ing. If there is a tro­phy for Most Dis­hon­est and De­struc­tive, Trump is de­ter­mined to re­tire it.

He is also de­ter­mined, ap­par­ently, to ra­tio­nal­ize his likely de­feat by claim­ing the elec­tion was stolen from him.

The other trope he keeps re­turn­ing to these days is that the elec­tion is some­how be­ing “rigged.” He claims that the strik­ing down of dis­crim­i­na­tory voter ID laws in North Carolina, Wis­con­sin and else­where would make this pos­si­ble. He fails to ex­plain why Repub­li­can of­fi­cials — who ad­min­is­ter the vot­ing process in most states — would want to steal the elec­tion from their own party.

The point isn’t logic, of course. It’s emo­tion. Trump strikes a chord with Repub­li­cans who can­not bring them­selves to ad­mit they were beaten fair and square by Barack Obama, not once but twice. Trump has long sought to dele­git­imize Obama by re­fus­ing to dis­own all the “birther” non­sense and in­sin­u­at­ing that the pres­i­dent has some sym­pa­thy for ji­hadists. Now Trump seeks to dele­git­imize the likely next pres­i­dent as well by claim­ing the elec­tion will be rigged.

In 2000, af­ter the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Florida re­count must cease, Al Gore gra­ciously con­ceded to Ge­orge W. Bush. Gore said he was do­ing so “for the sake of our unity as a peo­ple and the strength of our democ­racy.”

Can any­one imag­ine Trump ever giv­ing such a speech?

Trump wants to stoke anger, re­sent­ment and vic­tim­hood. He abases our democ­racy — and Repub­li­can elected of­fi­cials abase them­selves by sup­port­ing him. His­tory will have no mercy for Trump’s en­ablers.

Eu­gene Robin­son is a syn­di­cated colum­nist. Con­tact him at eu­gen­er­obin­son@ wash­post.com.

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