Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
If you want to contemplate where Trump and the Judge Curiel scene could lead, consider the following scenario.
It is no longer only what Trump says, what his followers say, or the disregard and disdain he has for his critics. Virtually no one ever truly foresaw Trump being six weeks away from becoming the Republican nominee for President. It is no longer merely the fact that the entire Republican Party is reeling and it is desperate as to how to salvage the party this fall, to say nothing for its future. It is now a question of how far can and will Trump try to go, what is missing, and what could evolve in this country when he is finished.
To date nothing he has said has stuck. Trump denies the truth and charges made against him. He then launches attacks against those who attack him. He has an incredibly thin skin and takes no criticism whatsoever. While some suggest that the latest racist allegations will stick, there is no reason to be sanguine that this will be the case. The ultimate question and fear is what might happen if and when Trump indeed loses the election in November?
First, Trump will challenge the vote count. He will accuse various state officials with interfering in the voting process. There will be charge that his backers were denied the right to vote. His supporters will go to the streets. Local police will endeavor to control potential rioters. Photographers will be trampled and chaos will ensue. Ferguson and Baltimore could well be child’s play compared to what might follow. Trump will not suddenly behave in a normal manner and accept the rule of law. The picture is getting rather familiar to historians.
To carry Trump to the historical analogy which he is rapidly approaching—because the Nazis also denied the efficacy of the courts and the judges within months after gaining power—the only thing missing so far from the Trump election extravaganza is the absence of a para-military support group. There is no reason to assume that Trump would be unable to bring on board a set of military leaders and rank-and-file soldiers and/or police to protect him and help him reach his goal. There is little question that among his followers there are already many former servicemen who share his values and ideas. Insisting that the creation of such a force was only for his own protection it would be very difficult to challenge him, especially if there were to be a “staged” physical attack on Trump. During the campaign there already have been instances where Trump’s own security guards have interceded in the activities of the secret service assigned to him. (This too might be another interesting story for some journalists to undertake.) How this all may snowball is too horrific to contemplate.
Clinton may well succeed in defeating Trump at the ballot box, but it could eventually take President Obama as Commander in Chief to secure her election and maintain the viability of the Republic.
Hopefully, this is all just a bad nightmare!