Editor of the Reformer:
I've been having a lot of Trumpmares lately. Unless the Republicans can pull an elephant out of a hat it's all but certain that Trump will be the Republican nominee. It's also possible that Trump will force the Republicans to nominate him by threatening to run as an independent or calling his minions to violence if they don't. Either way, if Clinton gets the Democratic nomination there's a chance that Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. Clinton does not garner much enthusiasm, she is not trusted by many voters and some progressives will not vote in the general election because they just can't stomach voting for yet another Wall Street Democrat. If Sanders gets the Democratic nomination, I think Trump will have a much harder road to the presidency.
Some say Trump doesn't really mean what he says when he's in his misogynistic or racist mode — he's just being a politician so get used to it. No, I will not get used to it. I don't know what's worse — someone who is so cut-throat and cynical that they'll use the most offensive stances in order to stir the pot of hatred no matter what the consequences, or someone who actually believes all the heinous rot that comes out of his mouth. I believe that a reading of Trump's history puts him in the latter camp.
What Trump has said and done during this campaign is more than enough fodder to damn him as an odious and dangerous person. For example, his opinions about women are Neanderthalesque. Just two of the latest out of dozens: Trump defended his campaign manager who was arrested and charged with battery for roughing up a female reporter and Trump stated that he believed women who underwent abortions should be punished if it is outlawed. Excuse me Mr. Trump, should the men who impregnated the women be punished as well?
Trump's past is ripe for the picking when it comes to his racism, from his "birther" howls against President Obama to the following, which the press has barely mentioned: In 1973 the Department of Justice sued Trump Management Corporation, Trump was the president. The suit alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act for racial discrimination against blacks looking to rent apartments. The allegations included lying about the availability of rental units and applying different rates and terms for blacks. The corporation counter-sued. That suit was settled out of court in 1975. In 1978 the suit was reopened due to non-compliance.
His ever-growing number of supporters are just as troubling as Trump himself: the predictable political opportunists and pragmatists who are falling in line behind Trump now that he is the clear front runner, tripping over themselves trying to justify their decision, the KKK and other white supremacists groups, and closeted and not-so-closeted racists, the New England Police Union and hundreds of thousands of Americans who deny or overlook Trump's hate mongering and project all that they need and want from a "leader" who in reality has said nothing of substance, has no government knowledge or experience and has demonstrated an appalling ignorance of basic history and world affairs.
Even the already weakened First Amendment is under further attack. Reporters and protesters alike are confined to pens at many political events, nothing new about that farce on the right to assemble and freedom of the press. To make matters worse, in 2012 Obama expanded the power of the Secret Service to restrict speech even more and make arrests. Trump has taken full advantage of that disturbing fact and the SS is going to the very edge of the law and perhaps over it, as witnessed when they grabbed a journalist by the throat and threw him to the ground for refusing to stay in the pen.
The SS hasn't been that aggressive at any other candidates' events and the thought that their over-the-top reactions signal their support for Trump sends a chill down my spine.
One thing Trump does excel at — an instinctive and tenacious ability to bring out the hateful side of people and fire them up into a frenzy. The outrageous comments and sordid details of his history just feed his rise. The media continues to give him free 24/7 coverage and the establishment Republicans are just starting to stir into action — too little too late.
There's a quote that I can't get out of my head when I think about Trump and what his presidency could portend for our country. The quote is from Martin Niemoller, a German Protestant pastor who spoke out against the Nazi regime and, as a consequence, spent seven years in concentration camps: "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out ..." Well, you probably know the rest.
Susan Odegard, Westminster West, April 2