Much too far

Americans must do what the GOP refuses to do: Reject Donald Trump before it’s too late

I just don’t get it when it comes to Donald Trump. I don’t see the appeal. I mean, that stuff about him being a straight shooter, a tell-it-like-it-is realist—I don’t think so. What I see is demagoguery, and he’s gone too far yet again.

It was sickening the other night watching conservative commentators, especially journalistic embarrassment Sean Hannity, falling all over themselves to explain away Trump’s comments about gun owners snuffing out Hillary Clinton. Spinning Trump’s words to make them benign is the job of his handlers, not the media. Then again, Fox News is The Donald’s de facto campaign staff.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Trump was talking about how Clinton is a threat to the Second Amendment. These are the words that actually came from his ugly pursed lips immediately thereafter: “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people—maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Was Trump encouraging gun owners to assassinate Clinton? Probably not. Was what he said a joke? Probably. Was it reckless, irresponsible and sick? Absolutely.

Of course, despite the clear context of his comments, Trump has come up with an entirely implausible explanation—that he was referring to gun owners’ power as a voting bloc to defeat Clinton in the general election. “Give me a break,” he responded to questions about his intent.

Give him a break? Is he serious? Anyone who backs Trump on this is being intellectually dishonest. I mean, come on, this is his modus operandi. The man cannot contain his sociopathic rhetoric. He has no filter. And he’s delusional if he thinks a majority of Americans are stupid enough to buy his version of what those words meant.

Speaking of dishonesty, Trump’s once again playing up his narrative about the “dishonest media” being out to get him. What a tired trope. At this point, though, I cannot imagine anyone is going to fall for that. Truth is, Trump is his own worst enemy.

In the days to come, Clinton and her Green and Libertarian rivals are sure to peel off more prominent Republicans. The fallout is just beginning.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump’s comments a joke gone bad. But perhaps the biggest indicator of Trump the liar comes from his own running mate, Mike Pence. When asked by a reporter whether he believed Trump was inferring violence toward Clinton, Pence stumbled. “Of course,” he said. He then corrected himself: “Of course not …” Freudian slip. The vice-presidential candidate went on to parrot Trump’s stance.

While replaying his response over and over, it struck me. There’s the face of a man who’s lost all self-respect.

We need to start thinking about how we got to this place—how a reality-TV star is a major-party nominee. Trump’s rise to prominence, I believe, stems from the anti-intellectual philosophies adopted not only by the Republican Party but also now by many regular folk. He is the standard bearer for the movement, and the thought of him leading our country is terrifying. His latest comments only reinforce what Americans must do (that which the GOP refuses): Reject Trump and his culture of ignorance before it’s too late.