The Damage Donald’s Done

by | Nov 3, 2016 | National Politics, Presidential race, Republicans | 8 comments

More than any candidate in memory, Donald Trump has changed politics. He hasn’t just been a major-party nominee for president. For the moment, at least, he has substantially revolutionized right-of-center political culture in this country. Here are three ways in which he has damaged the Republican Party and our political system.

  • Mainstreaming racism Going back to 1964, the Republican Party has accepted the votes of racists. These people may have been a minority of the GOP electorate, but they weighed heavily within the coalition and congealed into a unified bloc Deep Southern bloc. But despite happily collecting these people’s votes, Republican elites had suppressed their more toxic views from the public sphere. Trump has brought their bigotry out into the open. Many–in some cases a majority–of GOP voters tell pollsters that they favor an ethnically targeted crackdown on Muslims and Hispanics. Trump rally attendees heap racialized abuse on African-Americans and voters of generically “foreign” heritage. Prior to Trump, this openly bigoted behavior would have been nearly unthinkable. Now it is torching the civic fabric.
  • Criminalizing Democrats By defining Hillary’s campaign as criminal, Trump opened up a can of vipers. Following his lead vast swathes of Republican voters have come to view Democrats as deserving not only of electoral defeat, but of punishment at the hands of the law. “Lock her up” is an unofficial campaign anthem. And it has been applied across the board, including to our own top law enforcement official, Roy Cooper (who has never been accused of violating any law, ever). Trump’s flippant disregard for the sanctity of law has raised the stakes immensely. It has introduced an air of vicious hostility into an already ugly climate.
  • Fomenting violence I mean this literally. There was a rally, months ago though it seems like a lifetime, when Trump implored his supporters to “know the crap out of them.” They have done so numerous times. Furthermore, the atmosphere of violence has rippled beyond the far-right fever swamps. In any given political movement some people will be looking for trouble. And that includes the left-wingers who pelted a Trump supporter with eggs and bottles. Again, these kinds of kinetic confrontations recently seemed confined to emerging democracies. Who knows when they will vanish?

Trump is a menace, period. The damage he’s done is real, deep, dangerous and lasting. Which is to say: James Comey should be ashamed of himself.


  1. Dr. B

    Let’s take a look at the bright side. Trump’s candidacy has brought to the nation’s/world’s attention just how many racist, fascist, violent, misogynistic, knee jerk, self-righteous, dangerous, socially inept, xenophobic, gun toting, ignorant, survivalist, psychopathic, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals that are living in rural America. You have to recognize a problem before you can address it and this one is painfully obvious to everyone on this planet EXCEPT for them. Similar to the perverse pleasure I get from knowing what an eight year Obama presidency has done to their fragile psyche, when I contemplate the inevitable angst that a landslide Clinton victory will cause on their two celled brains it warms my heart.

    • SHSAlumnus

      Your post is, frankly, insulting to Neanderthals. Otherwise, no disagreements.

    • Ebrun

      Perhaps you should now “contemplate the inevitable angst” that a Trump victory is having on the “fragile psyche” of the radical left. They’re not dancing in the streets of NYC, LA, Portland and Denver. The left’s intolerance of opposing views is on full display.

  2. Someone from Main Street

    What has been astonishing in this campaign – the extent the Republicans will go to trash American political institutions in order to win. They are angling for a politiburo-style form of government. Votes don’t matter. People don’t matter. Law does not matter. Honesty does not matter.

    The leader is all that matters.

    Small-hand Trump is the worst thing to hit America in decades – and he’s extremely popular among the GOP base.


  3. Smartysmom

    You have to wonder to what extent republicans’ taste for guns and violence has led to the increase in (if there has been an increase and not just increased reporting of…) shooting of law enforcement officers? Inspiration? What goes around comes around?

  4. Jay Ligon

    The shock and awe Trump campaign bombarded the press and the public with so much outrage that the country will be sorting through the issues for years to come. As we enter the last weekend of the campaign, the Clinton campaign is stuck where it began – something about emails. A single issue allows the public and press to focus. The Trump campaign is like a hyperactive child on steroids.

    In a nationally televised debate, Trump tells us about his dick. And he tells us his hands are just fine. Really Republicans? That’s your guy?

    Trump has been involved with New York crime families for debates. That’s your guy?

    Trump assaults women. You are OK with that, Republicans?

    Trump exhorts his mob to beat up protesters, blacks, journalists. That’s your guy? Really?

    Where is your decency?

    While the press and public tries to form an opinion on Trump’s strange position on our veterans, POWs and MIAs, he insults the parents of a dead Marine officer and a pilot who was caged and tortured by the Vietnamese. Before we can get our minds around that, he suggests that nuclear weapons should be liberally distributed around the globe. Before we can catch our breath and assess the catastrophic ramifications of that idea, he attacks our allies in NATO and embraces an enemy of the US whose leader was once the head of the KGB. That’s your guy?

    His fraudulent ventures are investigated but he refuses to turn over his income taxes. He claims to have been a generous donor to charities, but investigations prove that he collected money for charity, but used it for himself. He claims business prowess, but he files for bankruptcy six times.
    His suppliers, contractors and workers are unpaid while he craps on a golden commode.

    His misogyny is always on display, and we can hear him saying that he sexually assaults women and kisses them when he wants to and grabs them by the genitals because his star status gives him that privilege. He peeps on naked teenage girls who are dressing for a beauty pageant. These are not youthful indiscretions, these are acts of a married, card-carrying AARP member. Hey Republicans! Have any of you ever been inside a church?

    Trump is profoundly and breathtakingly ignorant of the basic structure of the American government, and he is incapable of learning. Trump does not read, but he is seeking an office which requires the ability to assimilate volumes of data quickly. Hey Republicans! What is wrong with you?

    A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for racism and antisemitism because his inner circle is composed of a cabal of racists and Jew-haters. A vote for Donald Trump is a vote to undermine our national security because one of Trump’s greatest supporters is Vladimir Putin. A vote for Trump is a betrayal of friends and allies of the United States who have stood with us for more than half a century. A vote for Trump is a vote against women everywhere because he molests and assaults women and will be going to trial for rape after the election. A vote for Trump is a vote to destabilize our economy because every reputable economist including several Nobel Prize winners have warned that Trump economic plan would ruin the United States.

    Republicans voting for Trump hate most Americans – the blacks, Hispanics, non-Christians, the poor, and women.

    The Republicans can never again claim to represent family values when they know they have voted for a debauched Lothario.

    The Republicans can never claim to be patriotic when they voted for poltroon who has betrayed our veterans and traded state secrets with our enemies.

    The Republicans can never disavow their racism when they openly malign every non-white group in the country, when they endorse a ban on non-Christian religious sects, and ratified a racist call to ban Mexicans from the country. GOP legislatures passed a series of racist laws in an attempt to deny blacks a right to vote – a right that a generation ago Americans shed our blood to assure. Republicans have accepted the endorsement of openly racist groups like the KKK and courted their votes until the light of scrutiny caused them to mumble some sort of vague apology.

    Republicans must accept that they are un-American, unpatriotic cowards, and Donald Trump is their booby prize. That’s your guy? Really? What the hell is wrong with you?

    • A D Reed

      Super rant, Jay Ligon. Top-notch recap of this scumbag.

      Maybe you remember something Roseanne said 20-odd years ago, about herself, being “America’s worst nightmare: white trash with money.” DJT is that on steroids. Just a racist, low-class, uneducated piece of white trash from Queens, NY — Archie Bunker (also in Queens) with more money and slightly better grammar.

  5. A D Reed

    Good points, though there are way too many typos for this to be published before proofreading.

    congealed into a unified **bloc** Deep Southern bloc.

    Following his lead vast **swathes** of … s/b “swaths”

    Trump implored his supporters to “**know** the crap out of them.” s/b “beat”

    Also, you didn’t point out the virulent racism behind the “birther” movement that launched Trump’s career.

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