Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Donald Trump Is An American Monster

He "represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise. . . . [He] is also America's answer to the monstrous Mr. Hyde. He speaks for the Werewolf in us; the bully, the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable, full of claws and bleeding string warts, on nights when the moon comes too close .... " --  Hunter S. Thompson, The Death of Richard Nixon:  Notes on the Passing of An American Monster

As everyone has heard by now, Donald Trump suggested at a rally today that the "Second Amendment people" were the only ones who could prevent Hillary Clinton, if she were elected, from abolishing the Second Amendment. 

Here's the actual quote:  "Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment.  [Crowd boos]  By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks.  Though the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know."

Was this a call to assassinate Clinton?  Supreme Court justices?  As the understated Nicholas Kristof put it:  "When you have to ask the question about a presidential candidate, that's a problem."

Rebecca Solnit aptly explains:  "Trump is a master of doublespeak, dog whistles, deniable statements, and the rest. He puts things out there that can mean terrible things but that he can wriggle around about. So he both did and did not call for an assassination; he made a statement whose grammatical looseness includes that possibility and allows him deniability." 

Together with his recent efforts to delegitimize a Clinton presidency, encouraging his supporters' calls to "lock her up" and stating "I’m afraid the election’s gonna be rigged, to be honest," Trump is unconscionably setting the stage for undermining democratic rule and encouraging a violent response to a Clinton electoral victory. 

So, has Trump finally gone too far?   Has he finally provided cover for those craven Republican leaders who continue to support, if not endorse, him to belatedly rid themselves of his taint?  Has he finally gone so far that the media will shed its reflexive "both sides do it" analysis in which Trump's lies, bigotry and batshit craziness is equated with Clinton's fumbling explanation for her use of a private email server?

And speaking of the media, I miss Hunter S. Thompson.


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