We need to take Trump seriously.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.
Whenever I talk to a non-Trump supporter about the possibility of Trump becoming president, I usually run into some sort of disclaimer. “I’m a little worried, but it’s never going to happen.” “This is getting scary, but obviously he isn’t likely to become president.” “I mean, even if he does become president, it isn’t like he’d be able to get anything done.”
Normally this is the part of the article where I’d cite various expert analyses and predictions, but therein lies the rub. Trump’s campaign has repeatedly and consistently disproved the experts. This means that, instead of being able to rely on the prognostications of the talking heads, the only safe route is to look at the indisputable facts. These are:
- Trump has a commanding lead in the Republican presidential primary. At this point, the best hope for stopping him from getting nominated would be a brokered convention, and the GOP hasn’t had one of those in more than seventy years.
- Assuming Trump gets nominated, he would most likely run against Hillary Clinton, a Democrat with incredibly high unfavorability ratings, a litany of scandals, and a base rendered unenthusiastic by her vicious primary campaign against Bernie Sanders.
- Right now Clinton holds a high single digit lead over Trump – an advantage, to be sure, but hardly an insurmountable one for the likely Republican candidate.
In short, there is no sound reason to believe that Clinton is guaranteed to best Trump in a general election. On the other hand, there is ample precedent to suspect that whichever candidate wins this election will sweep congressmen from their party into both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the process. If that happens in the event of a Trump victory, this will most likely give him supermajorities with which to enact his legislative agenda – as well as a fresh Supreme Court pick of his very own.
Do I believe this is the most likely outcome? No, but it defies common sense at this point to argue that it isn’t a distinct possibility. Less than one year from today, America could have Donald Trump in the White House, a Republican Congress that feels politically obligated to do his bidding, and a Supreme Court with at least one judge who will likewise feel beholden to him.
I write all of this because, if the people who oppose Trump are going to stop him from taking over America, NOW is the time to take this threat seriously. We can no longer afford to assume that things will work themselves out simply because they have always done so in the past, or because it seems inconceivable that America would really be this stupid. I have no idea what Trump would do if elevated to the highest office in the land – the man has been wildly inconsistent in his policy positions, so your guess is as good as mine – but I do know that, based on his rhetoric, there is a chilling possibility that he will force Muslims to wear ID badges, expel all undocumented Mexican immigrants, violate the First Amendment rights of journalists who criticize him, and cater to the whims of the white supremacists who have been flocking behind his campaign. Symbolically, his election will create a narrative in which America’s first black president was replaced by a man who openly fanned the flames of racism against him throughout his presidency (if you don’t think birtherism is racist, you’re beyond hope), and who defeated our potential first female president despite appealing to gross misogynistic stereotypes throughout his career.
In short, there is a possibility that much of the progress America has made over the last few generations is about to be wiped out. So yeah, people, it’s time to start taking this shit seriously.