Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Trump clear danger to democracy


September 11, 2019

While President Trump’s hold on reality seems to fade daily, his hold on party power seems to be growing.

South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are apparently preparing to cancel Republican primaries to deflect any opposition to Trump’s re-nomination.

In opposing this development, William Kristol, a notable anti-Trump conservative, last week said, “Trump is an authoritarian. Excusing and enabling authoritarianism corrupts.”

Kristol, of all people, should know that authoritarianism has always been a hallmark of conservatism.

Please hear me out.

Conservatives generally favor authority figures like the military and police. Rules and laws are to be obeyed and enforced.

Conservatives tend to follow pastors bent on punishing sin before recognizing gentler tenets of Christianity. Business owners tend to be conservative, and businesses do not tend to operate by taking votes from employees.

Now the big “however:” Conservatives believe the authority of the federal government should be very limited.

What Kristol seems to imply is that Trump and his followers have lost track of the line between respect for authority and limits on central authority, if that authority is someone they like.

And now Kristol warns, “The spirit of authoritarianism is taking over an entire political party.”

Then he asks, “Will principled Republicans — including those who might prefer Trump to his challengers — oppose this?”

I would advise Republicans to heed Kristol and the lesson of Hillary Clinton in 2016. I don’t remember the halting of primaries, but I do remember that the Democrats quashed any opposition to Clinton. Bernie Sanders got no help from the national party.

Clinton was burdened with the baggage of real or imagined scandal, her husband President Bill Clinton’s affair with an intern, her apparently cavalier attitude toward state secrets, and her lack of likeability.

Nevertheless, she still was able to convince the Democratic establishment that it was her turn, and nobody else’s, to be president.

With far less to show for his record as president than Hillary Clinton’s stellar, if blemished, record of public service, Trump, too, has convinced his adoring Republican party that his second term is a given.

Adolph Hitler — no, I’m not making that comparison — decided after his plan succeeded over that of his generals in the battle for France, that he was a military genius and should guide his armies.

He lost the war.

Trump is ignoring campaign generals. He won in 2016 in spite of both the GOP brass and a majority of the popular vote.

His campaign consists of doubling down on just being himself. That is, ruling (yes, ruling) by whim, lies, ignoring advice and following his faulty gut (or is that Sean Hannity?), and lately by being right at all costs, beyond the border (wall) of sanity.

Despite all this, Trump rules the GOP and his base.

I’m just warning the GOP, using the fate of ego-driven real and wannabe autocrats as an example, that victory is far from assured.

And I agree with Bill Kristol, Trump poses a clear and present danger to democracy.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a semi-retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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