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Trump shows his contempt for the Constitution yet again

Those of us who have paid attention- and who care- noticed almost immediately when Donald Trump entered the presidential race that he not only has far too thin a skin to be the leader of a democracy but has the unsettling habit of threatening those who disagree with him. While a lot of people seem to miss this none-too-subtle point, that is kind of a bad habit for the leader of a free people to have. And it's also the thing which- while granting the tremendous positive involved in having Justice Gorsuch on the Court, with the prospect of more like him- makes him kind of not really better than Hillary would have been. Not, at least, if you value the Constitution.

Of course, you could make the case that she would have subverted the Constitution through her Supreme Court nominations. But saving a step in doing that and having a president who subverts it personally is not necessarily a good thing.

A president does not, to coin a phrase, "support and defend the Constitution of the United States" by trying to intimidate people who use their First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful assembly (to say nothing of the freedom of the press) in ways he doesn't like. But there has been nothing- not The Wall, not "America First," not closing down immigration from Muslim countries, nothing- which Mr. Trump has promised to do as consistently since the day he announced his candidacy as to abuse the powers of his office to punish those who disagree with him.

He promised during the campaign (thank God he doesn't actually have the power to do it!) to change the libel laws so that he can sue anyone whose criticism of him he doesn't like. He renewed that threat only a few weeks ago.  He and his supporters alike have a habit of saying that life in America is going to be "hard" for his critics and otherwise trying to intimidate them. Thus far, the attempts have only been verbal Thus far. But even threatening such things is the approach of a dictator, not of a democratic leader. It shows a manifest contempt not only for the First Amendment but for democracy and the American way.

Well, today he did it again. The President of the United States violated his oath of office by threatening to use the IRS to punish those who marched today to demand that he release his income tax returns- something every president in modern times has done, and which Richard Nixon did even though he, like Mr. Trump, was being audited by the IRS himself.

"The election is over," he tweeted- as if the Constitution he has sworn to support and defend only guaranteed the right of free speech during election campaigns, or as if the President of the United States isn't accountable to the American people in between elections! That Donald Trump doesn't understand our Constitution or our way of life has been clear ever since he announced his candidacy. That he is an authoritarian at best has been obvious ever since that day.  Early in the campaign, a sociologist did a study which found that the characteristic which most accurately forecast that a voter would support Donald Trump was authoritarianism. Their behavior and rhetoric ever since, like his own, has only confirmed that finding.

It seems incredible that so many otherwise rational people scoff at the obvious danger that having a man like Donald Trump in the Oval Office poses to our freedoms. Every attempt to bully those who disagree with him or whom he simply doesn't like merely underscores the fact that the incumbent President of the United States is an enemy of the very values he swore on January 20 to support and defend.Donald Trump is no conservative. Donald Trump and the core of his supporters have no place in the traditional political spectrum of a nation whose most basic political values they scorn.

One wonders what it will take to get the Trump apologists in the Republican party and elsewhere- I'm talking about the sane ones, the ones who do believe in freedom, the converts to the cause who are in denial rather than ecstasy about the president's contempt for the Bill of Rights and our way of life- to wake up and smell the tyranny. Will somebody have to be physically hurt? Would even that do it?

Or will he have to actually do the things he keeps promising to do, and which so many of his supporters somehow manage to ignore?And will they admit it when and if he does?

One thing is certain: if the Republican party hadn't discredited itself for all time by nominating the man, it has certainly done so by lining up behind him and becoming the accomplices, if only in their silence, of a bully and a demagogue who is an enemy of everything they have ever claimed to stand for.

Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and Ike and Ronald Reagan would be ashamed.  I do not for a moment believe that any of those men would be a Republican anymore if he were alive today. It's almost as if today's Republicans have no shame.

Mr. Trump certainly doesn't. Narcissists seldom do.


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