History Has its Eyes on You (Trump Edition)

Timothy Egan in the NYT: A Week for All Time

They will remember, a century from now, who stood up to the tyrant Donald Trump and who found it expedient to throw out the most basic American values — the “Vichy Republicans,” as the historian Ken Burns called them in his Stanford commencement speech.

The shrug from Mitch McConnell, the twisted explanation of Paul Ryan, who said Trump is a racist and a xenophobe, but he’s ours — party before country. As well, the duck-and-hide Republicans, so quick to whip out their pocket copy of the Constitution, now nowhere to be seen when the foundation of that same document is under assault by the man carrying their banner.

[…]

They will remember, in a week that gave us a scary peek into the heart of American darkness, how the civil ties that bind a nation of people from all nations could be shredded. The blood from the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, no less a battlefield than Shiloh or Bull Run, was not yet dry when Trump was congratulating himself — a sleep-deprived narcissist on a morning me high. The worst mass shooting in American history was not about the murder of everyday people; it was about him: “Appreciate the congrats for being right.”

Indeed (the whole thing is worth a read).

Hopefully we will only have to remember all of this in terms of a candidacy and its effects on a political party, rather than as a presidency and its effects on the republic.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Hal_10000 says:

    OK, I agree with all the negative assessments of Trump but this … just a shade overwrought, no? I’ve said it a million times: Trump is not Hitler. He’s a low-rent George Wallace.

  2. @Hal_10000: Is the piece dramatic on tone? Yes. Is it out of bounds? In my opinion, no. There is nothing Hitleresque described here, but do you not agree that his behavior immediately after the Pulse massacre was, indeed, reprehensible (especially for. Major party nominee)?

    And I hate to tell you, but Wallace was a low-rent Trump, not the other way arouund, at least in the sense that Trump has a nontrivial chance to do what Wallace could never do: be elected President of the United States. He also does reflect some pretty ugly aspects of America politics that deserves repudiation.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And yet Trump will probably get 45% of the vote anyway. This says a lot more about America and the Republican party (their voters) than we like to admit. The weaselly actions of so many GOP politicians tells you they long ago sold their souls for their electoral seats.

  4. Loviatar says:

    While the focus rightfully so should be on the politicians, as stated previously I’ve always looked at the followers. Hal_10000 within a short period of time of the posting is here trying to downplay the point of the NYT piece. While he may not be a Trump supporter, he is more than willing to provide cover for the Vichy Republican party.

  5. JKB says:

    Funny how everyone takes the appreciate out of context. A bit ham-handed, yes. But the entire tweet shows he was obviously responding to someone

    Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!

    Given Democrats (Sen. Manchin (D-WV) for one) are all about doing away with due process, I wonder what will make the history books? An election, one of many, or the point where a major party came out of the closet on their desire to do away with ancient liberties first enumerated 801 years prior in Magna Carta?

    And let us consider the state of the American universities’ Humanities departments in that they made not remark on the 800th anniversary of that seminal document last year. Western civilization is so over for the academics.

  6. Hal_10000 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Yeah, his post-Pulse behavior was disgusting, just another nail in the coffin of me ever voting for him. But when I’m surrounded by like-thinking people all getting increasingly hysterical about the same thing, I get concerned.

  7. An Interested Party says:

    An election, one of many, or the point where a major party came out of the closet on their desire to do away with ancient liberties first enumerated 801 years prior in Magna Carta?

    Oh my, look at this grand announcement…based on nothing…what a pathetic attempt at deflection…

    But when I’m surrounded by like-thinking people all getting increasingly hysterical about the same thing, I get concerned.

    So if this grifter were to somehow get elected president, hysteria wouldn’t be an appropriate response? Well, along with throwing up…

  8. @JKB: I don’t think the quote is taken out of context at all. A massacre took place and Trump worked to make the event about him in some way.

    I agree that using the no fly list as a no buy list is problematic, but nowhere near at the same level as Trump being elected President in terms of its historical significance.

    The rest of your comment devolves in non sequitur.

  9. @Hal_10000:

    But when I’m surrounded by like-thinking people all getting increasingly hysterical about the same thing, I get concerned.

    I don’t see this post, or the column in question, to be hysterical.

  10. Put another way: I do think that history will look back very unkindly on the Trump candidacy, the politicians who supported him (even while criticizing some of his actions), and the voters who rallied to him. Just like they look unkindly on Wallace, for example.

    This is what the column is about.

  11. Jenos Idanian says:

    Progressive Oxymoron #1: “People who want to own guns because the government might turn tyrannical are insane. And they’ll probably vote for Trump, who’s just like Hitler!”

    Closely related Progressive Oxymoron #2: “Guns are so dangerous, they should only be in the hands of the police — who will use them to shoot even more unarmed black men.”

    And the point of the column seems to be that the New York Times will look back very unkindly on the Trump candidacy, the politicians who supported him (even while criticizing some of his actions), and the voters who rallied to him. Which should put the fear of God into anyone…

  12. @Jenos Idanian: Regardless of the fantasies of many, if the government becomes tyrannical, gun ownership will not reverse that fact. Life and power politics are not that simple.

    And even if a tyranny is violently overthrown, which requires more than just guns, it means a bloody civil war to get there.

  13. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    People who want to own guns because the government might turn tyrannical are insane.

    Not necessarily — they might just be quite stupid.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Bullets! Not Ballots!

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Or if you prefer:

    Democracy is tyranny!!! (unless I get my way)