Donald Trump: The candidate of the apocalypse

July 22, 2016.

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

These are anxious times in America. Despite a
steadily, if slowly, growing economy and the absence of a major war,
people remain troubled by a sense of national underperformance and
myriad social ills, most recently the surge in racially tinged fatal
shootings committed by law enforcement officers and against them. A new Gallup poll reports that only 17 percent of Americans feel satisfied with the way things are going, the lowest percentage since October 2013 — and down 12 points in just the past month.

many, of course, a cause of concern is Donald Trump, who accepted the
Republican presidential nomination Thursday evening. Belligerent and
erratic, Mr. Trump nevertheless has a serious chance to win in November.
In his acceptance speech, he sought to enhance his political prospects
the only way he knows how: by inflaming public angst, so as to exploit

Mr. Trump took real challenges and recast them in terms that
were not only exaggerated but also apocalyptic. “The attacks on our
police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life,”
he claimed. Though he addressed issues ranging from public safety, to
immigration, to trade, Mr. Trump’s proposed solutions all shared a
common premise: the way to overcome difficulty is through force. To
American companies that exercise their right to move production abroad,
the Trump administration will administer unspecified “consequences.” 

giant wall will block migrants and drug traffickers along the Mexico
border. And “law and order” — an old trope of Richard Nixon and George Wallace that Mr. Trump brought out of retirement — will be restored.

politically effective because of their simplicity, Mr. Trump’s
now-familiar formulations would fail as actual policies — because they
are simplistic. There is no practical prospect, for example, of
constructing the wall he insistently touts; even if built, drug
traffickers and others could eventually tunnel under it. And, as per
usual, last night he added no details to this plan that might convince
anyone otherwise.

As for law and order, the president has at
most indirect influence over thousands of law enforcement agencies
across the country. To the extent it can be taken seriously at all, Mr.
Trump’s assertion that “safety will be restored” on the day of his
inauguration implies a vast federalization of a traditional state and
local function, contrary to long-standing law and custom — not to
mention the small-government doctrine of the Republican Party that has
so unwisely and hypocritically hitched its wagon to Mr. Trump’s star. To
tense communities in need of the nuanced toughness that police chiefs such as David O. Brown of Dallas
have successfully applied, a President Trump would project from the
White House a repressive attitude, unbuffered by a shred of sensitivity,
racial or otherwise. Less safety, not more, could be the result.

Trump began his speech by presenting himself as the bearer of painful
but necessary truth. And no doubt, for many of his listeners, his words
expressed a deeply felt emotional reality. There is real fear in the
land; real pain. But it will take real leadership, not the wishful,
demagogic brand Mr. Trump embodied Thursday night, to address this.

SOURCE: Washington post