Wednesday, July 13, 2016 9:44 PM
They say a fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer. As a political strategy, this seems to be working for Trump. David McCollough and Ken Burns have started a Facebook page “Historians on Donald Trump” , a forum where various historians can discuss Trump’s divergence from American Values and American History. In yesterday’s New York Times, McCollough explained, “I’ve always said, ‘My specialty is dead politicians.’ In that way, I could sidestep the question without getting myself involved. But this time around, I don’t feel that way any more.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has also thrown the traditional reticence of Supreme Court members to the winds to lambast the presumptive GOP nominee in no uncertain terms.
Much was made on today’s news of whether or not Notorious RBG behaved improperly or not—and I can see where that might seem the most sensational angle to take. But I can’t help thinking that there’s a larger question here. What would make people, whose careers virtually require silence on such current politics, feel required to speak out and warn people?
George Will, longtime conservative columnist and lifelong champion of Republicans, has quit the GOP over Trump’s candidacy saying, “This is not my party.” Many GOP figureheads will not be attending the convention, leaving the Trump campaign scrambling for speakers to fill the three days’ ‘festivities’. Elected Republican legislators run from reporters who might ask them to explain Trump’s daily statements. The “Anti-Trump” movement is still viral within the party, even though everyone agrees it has little chance of blocking his nomination.
Even foreign governments are getting nervous at the thought of a Trump presidency. In a way, Trump is like Climate Change. Anyone with expertise will warn you against it—the Democrats fear it, and the rest of the globe fears it—only the GOP finds either phenomenon acceptable. I think Hillary’s campaign can run attack ads simply by airing 1930s newsreel footage of Il Duce—Trump’s role model, in both manner and ideology.
Why his apparent success? Well, people are unhappy—that much is crystal clear. Plus, Donald Trump isn’t really running for President of The United States—he’s running for Most Popular. When people sincerely run for President, they usually lay some groundwork in law and politics. Trump has hired lawyers and thrown parties for politicians—maybe he thinks that’ll do. But basically Trump’s message has been, “I can be mean.” His implication is that he’ll be mean for us, but I think he’ll just continue to be a mean person, a bully—and most bullies are cowards, with little interest in the common welfare.
But I think what maddens the educated, knowledgeable people, like historians, columnists, and Supreme Court justices, is the tremendous gulf between Trump’s ears when it comes to America and what American government is really about. Trump, being without experience in anything but deals and sales, doesn’t have the breadth of vision to encompass the enormity of the task he’s asking for. He’s not just too ignorant to do the job—he’s too ignorant to know what the job really is. He may win the popularity contest in November, but his presidency would make Brex-regret seem like a mild hangover, compared to a suicidal impulse. After centuries of glorious liberty, Trump is poised to make American democracy eat its own entrails.