Trump’s assault on democracy

A new and frightening low from the Republican candidate

The author is a former editor-in-chief of the CN&R.

By now, most Americans know what Donald Trump thinks about women. It’s been public knowledge for years that he’s crude, disrespectful and deeply sexist. The so-called Access Hollywood tape only confirms it.

That a candidate for president of the United States holds women in such disregard, and seems almost proud of it, is reason enough not to vote for him.

There’s another and even more significant reason, however: Donald Trump seems ready and willing to subvert a fundamental aspect of our democracy.

If he loses, Trump has said, it will be because the election was “rigged” and his loss was due to cheating. And if he wins, he will jail his defeated opponent.

Of all the awful things Trump has said and done, these are the worst. First, he’s trying to destroy Americans’ faith in the democratic process by charging that the election is illegitimate, though he offers no evidence of this. Indeed, election officials across the land have insisted that rigging a presidential election sufficiently to determine the winner is virtually impossible.

And to tell Hillary Clinton, live on national television during the second debate, that if he won “you’d be in jail,” is something a tin-horn Third World dictator might say. But here’s Trump, smiling and nodding during rallies when his supporters chant “Lock her up!”

Americans are rightfully proud that every four years they vote for president and the loser steps gracefully aside. That’s a major reason why our democracy, the oldest in the world, has survived for so long. To have a major-party candidate for president irresponsibly threaten to ignore this fundamental feature of our political system is frightening. It verges on treason.

Regardless of what you think of Hillary Clinton and/or her policies, nothing she has said or done comes close to her opponent’s brazen disregard for our core democratic fundamentals. I don’t agree with her about everything, but I do know that she respects our political system. She would never threaten an opponent with prison. That in itself is reason to vote for her.