Wednesday, August 10th, 2016...12:23 pm
Editorial: Trump’s dumpster fire
There was some good news last week.
The Trump presidential campaign is slumping seriously in the polls.
Statistician Nate Silver recently wrote on the FiveThirtyEight blog: “The recent Fox News, Marist College and NBC News/Wall Street Journal national polls show Trump trailing Clinton by 9 to 14 percentage points, margins that would make for the largest general election blowout since 1984 if they held.”
You might recall that Minnesota’s favorite son, Walter Mondale, got thumped by Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. Mondale won only Minnesota (by 3,761 votes out of more than 2 million votes cast) and the District of Columbia. Reagan won the electoral vote 525 to 13.
Hopefully, Trump will experience a similarly crushing defeat in November. His campaign of anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican bigotry, misogynistic comments, baiting the press, inciting crowds to violence and generally degrading the political atmosphere has already done its damage. The Trump campaign richly deserves to end up in the garbage can of history.
And speaking of garbage, following the Republican and Democratic conventions, Trump really ignited his dumpster fire of a campaign, with attacks on the family of Capt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim U.S. Army soldier who died in Iraq, in 2004, while heroically defending his fellow soldiers from a suicide bomber. Capt. Khan was 27.
Trump, who is constitutionally incapable of accepting any sort of verbal slight, became enraged after Khizr Khan, the slain soldier’s father, delivered a moving six-minute address at the Democratic National Convention. The elder Khan, with his wife, Ghazala, standing silently by his side, addressed the Republican nominee who proposed banning Muslims from entering the U.S.: “Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution?”
Khizr Khan then held up a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution and continued, “I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.’
“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities.
“You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Responding, in part, to Khizr Khan’s speech, Trump told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, regarding Ghazala Khan’s silent presence during her husband’s speech: “If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.”
Trump’s attack on the Gold Star mother was met with condemnations across the board. The Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. issued a statement, condemning Trump’s “objectionable remarks” about the Khan family.
“Captain Khan died in battle trying valiantly to save others… He served our country,” said the JWV. “He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery along with those of many ethnic backgrounds and religious denominations. They served our country. Mr. Trump did not.”
Further, the group said that Trump’s attack on Ghazala Khan was “vile beyond words…. JWV is an apolitical organization. We do not support or oppose candidates or parties. This condemnation is against you personally. You, Mr. Trump, deserve our contempt.”
In another of many blunders over the past two weeks, Trump, again in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, on July 31, said that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was “not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.”
“Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?” Stephanopoulos replied, in a reference to the Russian annexation of Crimea, in 2014. Russia also backed separatist rebels that took the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, and shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, killing 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.
Trump lamely came back with: “OK, well, he’s there in a certain way.”
More alarming than Trump’s abysmal lack of knowledge in the area of foreign affairs is his take on nuclear weapons.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough recently told TV viewers that an unnamed foreign policy expert had briefed Trump several months ago. “And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked… if we had them why can’t we use them,” Scarborough related on his Morning Joe show.
Most readers can see the potential problem of a thin-skinned neophyte politician having access to nuclear weapons: If a foreign nation would rile Pres. Trump in some way, he could nuke ’em. Problem solved.
Which brings us to the crazy.
Eugene Robinson’s Aug. 1 Washington Post column was titled “Is Donald Trump just plain crazy?”
The columnist looked at Trump’s attacks on the Khan family, which showed a profound lack of empathy. Also, according to Robinson, the GOP candidate has a propensity to lie and contradict himself.
“The presidency comes with far-reaching powers,” Robinson concluded. “Not everyone should be allowed to wield them.”
Other observers have expanded on this theme, suggesting that Trump’s behavior points to a mental illness. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell specified this week that the GOP nominee is in the grip of narcissistic personality disorder.
In 2016, the U.S. electorate faces a stark choice. Only Hillary Clinton is positioned to stop the political ascent of Donald Trump, who could wreak great damage on this country and on the world as president. The urgent political choice before us is to vote for Hillary Clinton and reject the preposterous Trump candidacy.
— Mordecai Specktor / editor [at] ajwnews [dot] com
(American Jewish World, 8.12.16)