Opinions

OPINION: Donald Trump and American democracy are no longer compatible

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Even the toadiest of former President Donald Trump’s weak-kneed acolytes — the whole sad, sycophantic and obsequious lot of them — must know by now he is slices shy of a full loaf. Those who refused to speak out against his insanity, his outrageous behavior, conduct and narcissism must know even in the darkest, vestigial parts of their minds that the man is bonkers and a clear threat, a palpable danger, to everything Americans hold dear. Yet they remain silent, his good MAGA warriors.

How do we know former President Donald J. Trump poses a threat to our core beliefs? Trump, who last month announced his third presidential bid, is not bashful about saying so, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms. Trump late last week used his Truth Social media platform to yet again rehash his threadbare and disproved claims the 2020 election was stolen, despite there being not much in the way of proof to bolster such a claim. But that never has deterred him.

”Do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION?” Trump asked in a post on the social network platform after Elon Musk released Twitter files detailing the company’s 2020 decision to block the sharing of coverage of leaked files from Hunter Biden’s laptop.

”A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.”

That triggered a nasty bout of national angst and Trump later said no, no, no, he was not calling for the “termination” of the nation’s founding document. That was a lie put out by the “Fake News,” he said. But later he posted, “steps must be immediately taken to RIGHT THE WRONG … Simply put, if an election is irrefutably fraudulent, it should go to the rightful winner or, at a minimum, be redone … Where open and blatant fraud is involved, there should be no time limit for change!”

In other words, the former president wants a do-over of the 2020 election, an idea sanctioned nowhere in the Constitution. Nobody yet has suggested how it could be done — if anybody actually wanted to do it.

Count me among the zillions of Americans absolutely gobsmacked at how far this guy is willing to go in his windmill jousting over an election he clearly lost. Terminate the Constitution? He’s gotta be kiddin’, right? But he clearly is not. A guy with authoritarian tendencies, he clearly is willing to say or do anything and everything to get his way.

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There is his support of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. There is his apparent support of the violent mob’s call to lynch Vice President Mike Pence for not derailing the electoral process. There is his claim he could pardon himself. There are those pesky classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago and elsewhere, and his dalliance with QAnon, just to name a few.

The list is long and exceedingly weird.

Make no mistake, it is highly unlikely this name-calling blowhard could pull off messing with the Constitution. There are something like 17 million veterans in this country as well as police and boatloads of other public servants who vowed to protect the Constitution from all comers. Fooling around with the sacrosanct document could present a problem of loud, short duration.

But Trump’s election-denier message, thankfully, appears to be getting less and less traction among the hoi polloi as folks across the nation, even in the ranks of the Make America Great Again crowd, are starting to see the emperor ain’t wearing much.

Here in Alaska, former Gov. Sarah Palin and Kelly Tshibaka — both endorsed by Trump — lost their respective bids for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Trump’s clown car of hand-picked candidates, it should be noted, did not do all that well anywhere in the mid-term elections where he had endorsed more than 300 candidates with only mixed results. That mediocre showing put a dent in Trump’s 2024 presidential aspirations, left the Senate in Democratic hands and the GOP scratching for a slim majority in the House.

Given his past actions, and now his unhinged suggestion we shred the Constitution to get the 2020 and 2024 election outcome he wants, it is well beyond time for the Republican Party — if it wants to survive — to wake up.

To be fair, it is impossible to dismiss Trump’s accomplishments in the courts, the economy and regulatory reform, but all of that now is tarnished by his compulsive and dangerous drive to rule rather than govern.

For Republicans — for America — it is time to move on.

Paul Jenkins is a former Associated Press reporter, managing editor of the Anchorage Times, an editor of the Voice of the Times and former editor of the Anchorage Daily Planet.

The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.

Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins is a former Associated Press reporter, managing editor of the Anchorage Times, an editor of the Voice of the Times and former editor of the Anchorage Daily Planet.

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