Donald Trump is recruiting observers to oversee elections in Pennsylvania. The GOP candidate seems to think that the vote in the Keystone State and in the rest of America can and will be rigged to prevent him becoming President. In Trump’s eyes, apparently, American democracy and the integrity of its elections are more or less on par Ferdinand Marcos’ Philippines, Nicolai Ceausescu’s Romania or his good friend Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
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In fact, Trump doesn’t seem to have a very high opinion of America at all, nor does he appear to like it very much. He consistently berates the United States and insults it, questions its abilities and doubts its motives, accuses it of heinous acts, up to and including war crimes. Trump’s diatribes often sound like they’ve been taken directly from the curriculum of the Fidel Castro/Tokyo Rose School of Anti-American propaganda, made all the more potent and credible because he’s no foreign combatant or enemy leader but the presidential candidate of a major U.S. party.
In Trump’s America, elections can be fixed by order from above. Judges - like “Mexican” Gonzalo Curiel, who is trying the Trump University case – disregard facts and render verdicts based on ethnic prejudices. War heroes, like John McCain, are nothing but hyped-up sissies. In Trump’s America, Mexicans are rapists, Muslims are suspects, Native Americans are “Pocahontas” and Jews prefer to buy presidential candidates wholesale.
Trump’s America is a dark and dangerous place, like the dystopian nightmare depicted for many years in old-style Soviet propaganda. Its military is “a disaster," its police force dismembered, its fire marshals political hacks. Poverty is rampant, crime is uncontrollable and homicidal illegal immigrants roam the streets. It’s more dangerous in America today, Trump told the GOP Convention with a straight face, than at any time during his lifetime. In fact, the situation is so bad that the U.S. is no longer in a position to lecture anyone else in the world, including brutal dictatorships. “When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don’t think we are a very good messenger,” Trump told the New York Times in July.
For Trump, America’s allies are deadbeats who don’t pay their dues but its enemies are sources of inspiration. He admires Russia’s Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un. He has praised Saddam Hussein for his efficiency in killing terrorists and Chinese Communists for their resoluteness in quelling protests at Tiananmen Square. He’s even reached out to the Russians to hack U.S. computers and get a hold of Clinton’s deleted emails, an act that would be tantamount to treason under other circumstances.
Trump actively assists the propaganda efforts of America’s enemies. He claimed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton founded ISIS and supported al-Qaeda in Iraq, confirming what Iran, Hezbollah and other Shi'ite radicals have been asserting all along. Obama and Clinton set up Libya as a launching ground for terrorist assaults against Europe, he says. According to Trump, it is the American president and his previous Secretary of State who are responsible for the refugee crisis plaguing European countries. The blood of thousands of victims of jihadist terrorism in the Middle East and in Europe is on their hands, and thus, by extension, on America’s hands, the GOP candidate says. Perhaps he’ll volunteer one day to testify against America at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
But Trump doesn’t just dwell on the past: he also makes time to undermine America’s future relations with the world as well. He has threatened to leave NATO, to recognize the Russian occupation of Crimea, to abandon Baltic countries to their fate, to leave Japan and South Korea to fend for themselves. He has pledged to unilaterally breach trade agreements, start a trade war with China and pull out the World Trade Organization. He has instilled true terror in the heart of many foreign leaders by wondering time and time again why the U.S. should restrain itself from using nuclear weapons in Europe and the Middle East.
If Trump were a liberal, if he would be saying any of these things as a Democratic presidential candidate – never mind the incredible accumulation of his invectives - the GOP and the right wing media would tear him part. He’d be castigated as a Communist sympathizer, a treasonous back-stabber, a self-hating American. Fox News would broadcast a special in which his leftist assault on the United States would be placed against the backdrop of Benedict Arnold, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Jane Fonda and Aldrich Aimes combined. His election, Sean Hannity would grimly opine, spells the end of America.
But Trump is a candidate of the Grand Old Party, the one that supposedly espouses patriotism and glorifies American exceptionalism, and as such, he can say the most god-awful things about the United States and remain immune. And while one might wonder how so many of his Republican colleagues are sitting quietly as their candidate describes America as a latter day Sodom and Gomorrah, let’ s not forget that Trump’s rhetoric is but an extension of the feverish descriptions of a decrepit and immoral America that the GOP has been peddling from the day Obama was elected President. And that no matter what abuse, libel, slander or slur Trump comes up with next, for America, without a doubt, it is his own candidacy that is the greatest insult of all.