The Issue That Makes Donald Trump An Enemy of The State


What Trump has done is desecrate the traditions of the presidency and the traditions borne out over two-hundred-plus years of the American republic, and we have to understand democracies exist on the basis of their traditions and norms and what fuels a healthy democracy is faith, trust and belief of the legitimacy of the system by the people who direct that system. And that collapse of faith, trust and belief is a signature failure of Trump in these past four years, and history will judge him very, very harshly for that. 

            – Steve Schmidt, former senior campaign strategist and advisor to presidential candidate John McCain, and founder of the Lincoln Project

I think I have made clear, doing my civic duty and holding fast to my calling as a proud member of the Fourth Estate, that Donald Trump has to go. His presidency, by any metric, has been an utter disaster. Even his veiled claims of a previously strong economy “before the plague” land fallow in the wake of his cataclysmic failures with the Covid-19 pandemic. We are reminded of the sham that George W. Bush “protected us” after 9/11. Yeah, but what about before 9/11? And what about the “plague” that could have been ameliorated with any measure of a consistent plan? The president still not only ignores its horrible devastation but is openly hostile towards the tools to curtail it. That, above all, will be his final undoing. 

But what ultimately disqualifies this president from a second term in office, beyond his botching of this once in a century crisis, his impeachment, his obstruction of justice in keeping our institutions from fighting Russian interference in the sanctity of our elections, and all the rest, is his disdain for the underlying principle of the great American experiment – the vote. I knew Trump would be an awful president before he ever made it down that escalator in late 2015, for I had lived in and around NYC and had seen his insanity up close, but not even I could have imagined he would openly question the legitimacy of our vote, our sovereign right to decide whether he will serve us or not. He has fanned racial unrest and abused the levers of power to threaten political enemies and even prompted his justice department to jail his opponents, but these relentless attacks on the military, the FBI, our intelligence community, our judges, and the trampling of the traditions that keep this democracy, the finest, longest running political structure in the history of western civilization, is unforgivable and should render him an enemy of America. He should not be president, he should be in prison.

Not only this, but the president of the United States has never voiced a commitment, in fact, has more than hinted that he will not agree to a peaceful transition of power should he lose this election. He already calls it a fraud; “The most rigged election ever.” The president has said he will not accept the results, he shall not bow to the will of the people like every president that has preceded him. This was dangerously humorous when he was still a citizen and had no power, but for a president to challenge the very foundation of this concept called America is unconscionable. 

This is not about Republicans and Democrats anymore. Without the sovereignty of our vote, the voice of the citizenry, this is a fascist construct, something Trump wants, and not because Trump understands what fascism is, any more than he understands or cares a thing about this nation or its most cherished doctrines, but because he thinks this is merely another business enterprise to dominate. We are not his real estate dodges or his con job university or his reality television show. We are not owned by Donald Trump, as much as he thinks so. We are not his lap-dog attorney general and his minions in the senate and his propaganda machine media outlets and his rich, out-of-touch, spoiled, manipulative family, although he has run the country under this pathetic assumption for four years. We are America, and we have a voice and that voice will speak on November 3, loudly and clearly, whether he accepts it or not.

Think about this for one minute, and consider George Washington, the first of these presidents, and his cede of power – something that was not automatically understood as the war for independence was won or as 1797, the final year of his subsequent presidency, approached. The world wondered, what would Washington do? No general who had won a war beyond Roman Emperor Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus in 458 bce and relinquished power after a military victory. Even those in the government, most notably founder John Adams, wanted Washington to continue as His Excellency until his death. Washington said no. He walked away. He created the presidency Trump now besmirches. Trump spits on Washington. As he spits on everything about America – not the country, the economy, the social construct of America – but its spiritual center that only holds, as Ronald Reagan once mused, from generation to generation if we adhere to its most sacred edict; that freedom begins and ends not with an army but a democratic election to decide our leaders. 

This, above all, is the damage that Donald Trump has caused this America. If law doesn’t matter. If judges are questioned. If the free press is made enemy. If our fallen are mocked. If our allies are corrupted. If our enemies are defended. If our very institutions are abandoned. What is America? What is left us?

When Donald Trump says your vote is corrupt and fraudulent and stands aloft from the people, then he abandons his position. It is the people who make America. Not Washington. Not Adams. Not Trump. America is not a flag. America is not a song. America is not a bunch of words on faded papers hanging in the great halls. America is a living ghost in the voice of the electorate. It echoes down through the centuries. That echo, when questioned, is a tragedy if it is uttered by any everyday American, but when it is assaulted by the president of the United States, it disqualifies that president from remaining so.

The pandemic is on the ballot in a few days. So is health care, climate change, the economy, our foreign relations, and all the rest. But that pales in comparison to one plain, immutable fact: America is on this ballot on November 3. We have to take it back. Remind ourselves and the world what the Revolution means, what is has always meant, long before this cancer on the body politic was allowed to fester.

We the people…

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