OPINION: Trump is a danger to American democracy. How can so many good people still support him?

Imagine my shock when former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a gaggle of lefties on television something that sounded like an incontrovertible truth — or at least something I could agree with.

Clinton, interviewed on “The View” — itself a terrible waste of innocent pixels — was asked what would happen if former President Donald Trump were to win the 2024 election. She replied it “would be the end of our country as we know it.”

Clinton, whose shocking loss to Trump in 2016 was more about repugnance toward her than adoration of him, was absolutely right, and she fears what is coming.

”Trump is telling us what he intends to do,” Clinton said. “Take him at his word.”

And tell us, he does. Gleefully, with gusto. He seemingly cannot help himself.

”I am your justice … I am your retribution,” he likes to tell followers, promising the Make America Great Again gang his vision of a revenge presidency featuring him as their “warrior.” (Maybe we should call him Col. Bone Spurs.) He reportedly plans to weaponize the Justice Department and use the federal Insurrection Act to deploy our military to quash public protests.

Of late, Trump’s wildly dictatorial, authoritarian bent has been on full display, with him gushing about guys like North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, and promising to visit ruination upon his enemies.


Make no mistake, Trump is a grifting, intellectually challenged schmuck. He is an inveterate liar, a narcissist’s narcissist and a low-class misogynist. He best can be described as disinterested in government, the Constitution or how things are supposed to work in a free nation. In his world, somebody else does the work while he makes a fool of himself.

If it were not for dedicated, intelligent men and women surrounding him for almost every moment in the White House to thwart or block him when he went round the bend — attack Mexico? — there is no telling where we would be today.

The guy is facing myriad charges in courtrooms across the country for everything from his handling of classified government secrets, to election tampering and fraud. He spurred on the violent riot that left the Capitol of the United States in shambles. It is increasingly difficult to adequately describe Trump without scatological references.

While the Capitol attack was underway, he actually cheered on those wanting to lynch then-Vice President Mike Pence, yet, Republicans are in a swoon for Trump to carry their banner in 2024. He is maintaining a substantial lead over other 2024 GOP hopefuls. Political polls report something like six in 10 GOP voters would pick Trump today, ignoring his glaring shortfalls in everything from intellect to honesty, and he is almost sweeping key swing states.

That is a huge surprise. There is so much to dislike. Trump, a guy who never served in the military, is not bashful about denigrating those who did. Some of his former senior staff recently confirmed reports he characterized dead U.S. service members as “suckers” and “losers,” despite his earlier denials. He refused to even visit graves of American World War II dead in a French cemetery. At a 2017 Memorial Day event in Arlington National Cemetery, with its 400,000 gravesites, Trump wondered: “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

His former chief of staff, John Kelly, confirmed Trump wanted no military amputees at a 2018 White House military event because their attendance “doesn’t look good for me.”With all that, you might think, as I certainly did, that the very sort of salt-of-the-earth people supporting Trump would absolutely line up to loathe him for his lack of humaneness, civility and principles.

Like me, some conservatives wonder what is happening. How could decent people give Trump the time of day? Do we hate the left so much we will settle for Trump to avoid a Joe Biden? Are we willing to live in the frightening world Trump promises, where political opponents are labeled “vermin,” à la Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, in a bid to dehumanize them? Is that us?

Make no mistake, Trump’s administration accomplished laudatory things and made needed, lasting changes to federal policy. It managed to get conservative judges on the bench. It made war on unnecessary federal rules and regulations. It reoriented this nation’s military posture to confront China and Russia. But it left the United States in chaos, tearing at its own throat.

In recent days, there have been rumbles about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, an actor, filmmaker and retired professional wrestler with no government experience or service, running for president. Good grief. When will we learn? There is something dreadfully wrong with us.

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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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.