Until now, the fears of a hypothetical Trump presidency- and even just typing that makes me a little woozy– were just that: hypothetical. We’ve all been able to imagine just how scary it would be, given his combination of rampant insecurity, raw egotism, paranoia, and general inability to keep two coherent thoughts in his head at any one time. But now, as the possibility becomes decidedly more real (although demographically unlikely), the actual outlines of just how fearful his win would be begin to take shape.
Hillary Clinton’s excellent attack on him yesterday, in which she mockingly demonstrated his unfitness to serve (and demonstrating that she knows how to needle him), was just the beginning. He further elaborated upon his attacks on the judge in his civil case, claiming that merely being of Mexican descent was a conflict of interest with Trump, a truly frightening line of thinking. And today, the Times has a piece by legal experts worried about his contempt for the First Amendment, separation of powers, and more.
But again, those are all still in the realm of “wouldn’t it be bad if he became President?” As he gets closer to the nomination, though, various norms start to take hold, and we see just how grotesque his victory really is. Reuters had the far more interesting story, about how security officials are worried about giving Trump the daily briefings that are traditionally accorded a nominee.
Eight senior security officials told Reuters they had concerns over briefing Trump, whose brash, unpredictable campaign style has been a feature of his rise as an insurgent candidate. Despite their worries, the officials said the “Top Secret” briefing to each candidate would not deviate from the usual format to avoid any appearance of bias.
Now, to be fair, one says that the briefings are more of an overview, and won’t tell him much that he won’t get from reading the paper. And it’s not like he has the intellectual wherewithal to actually explain anything. The briefings can be politically advantageous, because they give a patina of respectability to his rantings (“I’m getting security briefings because they know I’m the smartest. And let me tell you, people, ISIS is bad, ok. And the people doing the briefings are saying, ‘Mr. Trump, you have to save us, crooked Hillary can’t do, you’re the only one who can stop this’, ok?”).
However, it isn’t the politics of it. It’s the fact that people are beginning to really realize how different this is from anything we’ve ever seen, how large a mutation. We have someone who is not just intellectually unfit, or even morally, but tempramentally and emotionally. We have someone who is truly dangerous, and the people tasked with keeping this country safe are genuinely terrified. This needs to be made a much bigger deal. We’re seeing what the actual election of Donald Trump as President means- a complete breakdown of every national apparatus. The media needs to hammer this, to make sure he loses in such a way that completely discredits the terrifying politics of personal resentment.
(Of course, in the story, Rueters also quotes a sneering RNC official who makes an flagrantly dishonest snark about the email scandal, I guess for “balance”. This allows places like The Hill to have headlines reading “US Intelligence Officials Concerned About Briefing Trump, Clinton”. Goddammit, Reuters, and The Hill. This isn’t balance. Both sides aren’t doing it. This only normalizes the most abnormal and scary campaign we’ve ever had.)