I have serious doubts that the American experiment will survive his reign.
The Founders were wary of demagogues and created a political system of checks and balances to weaken the chance that one would take power. That system has survived centuries of domestic and foreign tumult and the occasional election of buffoons and rascals as commander in chief, despite
But our republic has never been tested as it will be when
He fans the flames of tribalism and nationalism, inspiring and comforting those with deplorable views. He purchased the support of a majority of American voters with a set of brazenly false, often contradictory promises. He praised and made common cause with brutal Russian dictator
His campaign and his personal manner were so repulsive that many top members of his own party couldn't even bring themselves to mention his name or say if they were voting for him.
His unfiltered expressions of anger and contempt were so dismaying that his campaign reportedly had to yank his access to Twitter in the waning days of the campaign -- yet voters decided to hand him the nuclear launch codes.
Sure, as a lefty I'm discouraged almost beyond words at the fact that
Trump's victory also means that
But that's politics and policy. The same would have been true had any of the other umpteen Republican hopefuls won the
Trump is different. He's an aspiring strongman with a divisive record of bigotry and misogyny. He has put a quiet stamp of approval on white nationalism, and he has mainstreamed hateful anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish and anti-black sentiments that, until the rise of his candidacy, had been pushed far into the social margins.
Much was made of the anger that fueled Trump supporters. Anger at the loss of good-paying jobs for those without college education. Anger at the idea that unauthorized immigrants were taking jobs from American citizens. Anger at multiculturalism and the attendant demands of "political correctness." Anger that the government system is rigged against them. Anger that media elites and other establishment types look down on them.
That anger may subside for a time as they celebrate Trump's victory, but it will surely return when they come to recognize -- as many of us already have -- that he is a grotesque fraud and a spectacular liar.
I'm not saying this to sway anyone's vote. The campaign is over. But many of those who championed him and are now exultant will come to despise him as much as those who have opposed him.
He will not bring back jobs that technology has taken. And if he actually starts the trade wars he has promised, prices for everything in the Wal-Mart will rise, the market for exports will dry up and working people will suffer the most.
He will not build a wall. He will not give low-income people better, cheaper health insurance. He will not put a stop to crime "on
Extreme buyer's remorse will set in.
Oh, he'll blame his comprehensive failures on others -- narcissists and hucksters always do. But sooner rather than later he will stand exposed even to his supporters as someone who never had a clue how to make America greater than it is, and who exploited for his own gain the fury and credulity of people who feel marginalized and disrespected.
His hair-trigger temper, poor self-control and failure to appreciate the nuances of foreign policy will make him a singularly dangerous man on the international stage.
His arrogance and his contempt for those who disagree with him will shatter what's left of comity in
Nearly all the things that Trump falsely claimed during the campaign were a disaster will, in fact, become disasters under his rule.
Could I be wrong?
Well, I've been wrong about Trump at nearly every turn for the last year and a half. I thought he had politically self-destructed at least half a dozen times, most recently with his absolutely bizarre performance in the third and final presidential debate.
And I was wrong about this race until the middle of the evening Tuesday, when I had to stop believing that Americans are too smart not to see through his flimflam and realize how spectacularly unfit he is for the presidency.
With luck, I'll be wrong again.
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