Boston Globe gives Trump a Bronx cheer


This morning the Boston Globe offers a glimpse into President Donald Trump’s America with a mocked-up front page illustrating the kind of stories we could expect if Trump were elected president. Stocks plunge, trade wars loom, and “riots continue” over mass deportations.


Other mock entries include a story about unrest in the ranks of the U.S. military as soldiers refuse orders to kill family members of Islamic State militants, and the headline: “New libel law targets ‘absolute scum’ in press.”

“It is an exercise in taking a man at his word,” explains the editorial accompanying the graphic on the front page of the newspaper’s “Ideas” section:

That’s not a pretty picture. But then nothing about the billionaire real estate developer’s quest for the nation’s highest office has been pretty. He winks and nods at political violence at his rallies. He says he wants to “open up” libel laws to punish critics in the news media and calls them “scum.” He promised to shut out an entire class of immigrants and visitors to the United States on the sole basis of their religion.

The toxic mix of violent intimidation, hostility to criticism, and explicit scapegoating of minorities shows a political movement is taking hold in America. If Trump were a politician running such a campaign in a foreign country right now, the US State Department would probably be condemning him.

The editors chastise the GOP for missing opportunities to stop feeding the “hateful currents” behind Trump’s movement. The party, the Globe argues, needs to ask itself how its own actions and inactions paved the way for Trump’s ascendancy and muster the courage finally to stop him using “every legitimate roadblock,” warning, “It is better to lose with principle than to accept a dangerous deal from a demagogue.”

Once upon a time, Republicans worked up an autopsy of their 2012 presidential defeat. And promptly round-filed it. Their 100-page report designed to Make the GOP Great Again urged:

We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too. We must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities. But it is not just tone that counts. Policy always matters.

States such as Michigan, Kansas, and North Carolina proved just what sorts of policies matter outside the RNC’s fanciful self-reflection worked up by the likes of Henry Barbour, Sally Bradshaw, Ari Fleischer, Zori Fonalledas, and Glenn McCall:

Bradshaw was a senior adviser for Jeb Bush’s now-defunct campaign. Henry Barbour, nephew of longtime Mississippi power broker Haley Barbour, had a family tie to Bush’s campaign: His brother Austin was also a senior advisor to the campaign. Ari Fleischer, of course, was George W. Bush’s first White House press secretary. And Fonalledas was on Jeb Bush’s Hispanic Leadership Committee.

They represent a party that a broad swath of the angry GOP base has rejected for Trump. Contra conservative ideology since at least Reagan, “the base doesn’t really believe in, or much care about, small government.” Trump’s success proves “the party’s intellectual leaders, who organized the base around the National Review/Weekly Standard consensus — small government, free trade, pro-Israel, deregulation, low taxes, social conservatism and an aggressive foreign policy — have been generals of a phantom army.”

Except maybe for the aggressive foreign policy part, “Donald Trump might as well have read [the autopsy] and done the exact opposite of what it said.” His followers don’t care about all that Beltway insider stuff. They’re tired of feeling like the kid picked last in gym class. They want to stick it to the party elite and ISIS and the Chinese and the Mexicans. They don’t really want to make America great again. They just want someone to make them feel better about themselves. They want a strongman. They want a boy named Trump.

John Avlon might have to update his list of America’s 9 Worst Demagogues to include Donald Trump. Trump is a perfect 10. Just ask him.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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