Donald Trump is redefining America as a third world country in which the press is a tool of the government, political opponents are threatened with jail, truth is an unnecessary luxury, elections are stolen by the elites and only the fervor of your supporters matters.
It is these last two items that are of most concern. The campaign has insinuated for some time that the election is “rigged”. It seems that the only way Mr. Trump loses is if the fight is unfair. Otherwise, he is so smart, talented and charismatic that such a result is inconceivable. Regardless of the laughability of that statement, if enough of his followers are rabid enough to believe the election process is unfair or is somehow controlled by some outside agency like the “elites”, we could see the beginning of a long, slow, tortuous trip to third world status for the several countries that used to be the USA.
There is no discussion of how this “rigging” happens. Maybe through voter fraud from illegal immigrants recruited by the Clintons. Maybe just outright cheating in the vote count by election officials. Or the Russians could be hacking the voting systems to make sure the Trumpanistas don’t win. Perhaps it is through the “crooked media”. Interestingly, it is the media that made him in the first place by reporting on all the outrageous things he says. That attracted many people. As the election grows nearer, more people are paying attention. The press still reports on everything he says but to a larger audience with more uncommitted voters. The expanded audience is more likely to be skeptical of Trump’s claims. He doesn’t like that. Therefore, rigged.
However, it would be a mistake to blame everything on the Donald. He has a 30 year or more platform of growing distrust in the government sparked primarily but not exclusively by the right. There are multiple possible starting points from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich. All of them and their successors in Republican politics have railed against government being the problem, being in the way, being too big, too slow, too impersonal and more recently just inept and incapable. Bernie Sanders and his band made similar points about the failure of governmentto execute its responsibilities. Oddly enough, those two threads are closely related. And they are not wrong. Broadly speaking, they are about Congress not doing its job for a very long time. Congress has focused not on solving problems but on serving conflicting philosophies. Their approaches to politics has created more polarized constituencies and allowed them to hold up any legislation that either creates a political risk for them or fails to meet their philosophy completely. ACA is a good case. Democrats can’t admit it has any flaws and Republicans can’t admit it has any benefits. So it can’t get any better and no progress can be made on afordable healthcare. The same logic applies to immigration, jobs, economy, inequality and security. No progress, no agreement. It leads to a lot of bubbling in the political and social cauldrons.
So what do I want him to apologize for this time? For using the wretched situation our Congress has created to inflame passions instead of offering solutions. I know that he has put forward some immigration, tax, education and other plans. But he prefers, it seems, to incite the crowds to jeer the press corps and cast outrage at those who oppose him. And he continually takes the spotlight off his plans anytime there is anything that dims the light on him! This leaves him behind in the polls (which irritates him to no end) and causes him to cast about for excuses.
On November 9th, I hope to have heard a concession and a plea to Congress to stop fighting begin working on solutions regardless of who wins. America can’t afford more division.