Even Scarier Than We Thought
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
This presidential campaign may be entering an even scary phase than what has transpired to date. The nature of how Trump himself and his campaign respond to criticism has been seen for months already. Trump has attacked the critic and avoided responding in any way to the criticism. He has charged those who object to anything he alleges as wrong, lying, or worse. Now there are further signals of a strategy which underscores and expands upon this technique but carrying it even further.
Trump has continually mis-spoken, denied, and lied throughout the campaign and few of those in the media have ever held him accountable. According to the Washington Post, candidates–traditionally including this year–when notified by any of the fact checking services and operations about factual errors in their statements and speeches generally correct themselves rather quickly. In the case of Trump, the Post reported he and his campaign are totally unresponsive to charges that they have mis-spoken and appear to blithely continue to repeat the same factual errors. There not even is a denial. This strategy has received very little push back from the media and almost none from any of Trump’s supporters.
Now comes Trump’s latest effort to seize control of the agenda of the Republican Party and the traditional process followed by presidential nominees or presumptive nominees. Trump apparently is prepared to dismiss all that came before as well as all that is riding for the GOP in the November election. He appears to have very little concern about the damage his approach may be inflicting on the party which he presumably is leading. While having arranged to meet next week in Washington with Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican congressional leadership, and RNC chair, Reince Priebus, Trump now has told interviewers on the Sunday talk shows that he might seek to oust Ryan as convention chair if he does support the Trump campaign.
This behavior coupled with the entire campaign style and the political slurs which he has used throughout the campaign appear to confirm a fear that some observers many have sensed for some time already. Donald Trump may well represent the greatest threat to American democracy as he continues to employ virtually every successful technique—except for a para-military force–used by Hitler as he entered German politics as the head of the National Socialist party in the Weimar Republic in Germany. All the rest is history.