Barring a surge of common sense and moral courage, the Republican Party this week will make Donald Trump its candidate for leader of the free world.
Today’s party of Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan would be unrecognizable to those predecessors, and the act of democracide that it is about to commit would be unfathomable to them.
Lincoln would mourn that the sacrifices he sanctified at Gettysburg may in fact turn out to be in vain – that the man who thirsts to succeed him has deliberately and for wholly selfish reasons reopened the wounds that Lincoln’s second inaugural address encouraged us to bind up. Eisenhower would wonder when and how perceived duty to an extreme ideology came to outweigh duty to country. Reagan would shake his head and, with his ironic chuckle, ask “why on Earth one of America’s two major parties would tear itself apart.”
And none of them would care to dine with Trump, either the original – and real – version or the new, suddenly re-engineered, temporarily cleaned-up one.
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Absolutely no good can come from the act that Republicans will commit in Cleveland; the unknown is how bad the result can get, and for whom. That is, whether their democracide temporarily threatens only their party for one election or whether the nation could be brought down by a Trump presidency.
Too pessimistic and pinched a view?
Consider that no one – including, apparently, Trump – knows what he actually intends to do as president. He is full of vague aspirations wrapped in emotionally charged slogans and petulant, undisciplined, blatantly untruthful language. No policies are evidenced.
Consider that, despite his vice-presidential choice of a traditional conservative, he would be a president with only remnants of a party, many of whose past and would-be leaders – including ex-presidents and ex-vice presidents and a dozen or so Republican senators – are boycotting his Cleveland coronation.
Consider that he is barely acquainted with the content and philosophy of the U.S. Constitution, demonstrated by his reference to defending “Article 12” of that seven-article document; that he carries around in his head only the haziest version of a geopolitical world map: “Belgium is a beautiful city,” “bomb the hell out of” ISIS oil fields in Iraq (most are in Syria), struggles to distinguish Hamas from Hezbollah; that he has made no apparent effort to shore up these deficiencies and at times uses his ignorance as justification for being granted enormous power.
Consider that he has drawn millions of votes from America’s unhappiest, most dispossessed people by inflaming their righteous grievances and deepest fears for their future. His con is that America is failing, a universal laughingstock run by fools and crooks and losers, and that he can fix it. Just vote for him first, then he will tell you how.
But he doesn’t know how. That’s why this is the week of Republican democracide.
Davis Merritt, a Wichita journalist and author, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.