As soon as the second presidential debate ended the cable news networks took to the air to name winners and losers while the candidates’ teams converged on the spin room to manipulate reality and the emerging narrative. None of it matters. None of it.
Within the first half hour Donald Trump set our country back decades by accusing Bill Clinton of rape and claiming that Hillary Clinton, as a defense attorney, successfully defended a man guilty of rape. As if that wasn’t enough, Trump then stood toe-to-toe with Clinton and threatened, if he won, to appoint a special prosecutor to convict her and throw her into jail.
Let’s not talk about style.
Let’s not mince words.
The days of wringing our hands over the correct usage of the terms “fascist” and “demagogue” are over. Trump’s lack of personal scruples and demented lust for power has manifested in the most un-American way possible. This monster has openly contradicted the Constitution multiple times, repeatedly saying it shouldn’t be a cause of “suicide” for our country, but this was the worst and most indefensible step he’s taken since advocating a ban on Muslim immigrants.
American Democracy has long been considered the greatest experiment in human history. Though we have faltered, and my god have we faltered, it is an institution meant to inspire the best in mankind. Trump threatening retribution against his political opponent is a thug maneuver better suited for a third-world dictatorship. This is the stuff of tyrants and despots, and though Trump may not even be aware of his tendencies, his demeanor and personal obsessions are enough to drive this country to the brink of disaster.
Make no mistake, his collection of neuroses and prejudices is among the most potent threats our country has ever faced. This is the same evil that gave rise to the Third Reich, that kept generations of African-Americans in chains, that unlawfully detained Japanese citizens during World War II, that subjugated women and children for centuries. Quite simply, Donald Trump represents the worst parts of the human spirit and a breakdown of our country’s electoral system, not to mention a failure on the part of its citizenry, has brought him within a heartbeat of the presidency.
If we survive this election without drifting into the deep, dark depths of totalitarianism, it will only be a matter of pure, blind, stupid luck.
God help us if we can’t do better than this.
God have mercy on us if this is the best we can do.