The Universal Notebook: This is the way democracies die

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For months I have been worried sick about what might happen if Donald Trump wins.

These days, I’m almost as worried about what might happen when he loses.

Trump’s irresponsible rhetoric could get someone hurt, or worse. He has openly discussed the assassination and imprisonment of Hillary Clinton and, now that it is clear that he will not win, he is attacking the very roots of our democracy, the sanctity of the ballot box.

In the third presidential debate, Trump refused to pledge to accept the results of the election, an unprecedented position for an American presidential candidate and one widely viewed as disqualifying him from the presidency. Trump couldn’t possibly lose, so the system must be rigged.

Trump has been abandoned by the rational members of the Republican Party and by the very media that helped legitimize his soundbite candidacy. He is left isolated and alone with the most virulent and dangerous of his supporters. No responsible citizen, corporation or newspaper would endorse Trump, but his frightening genius is that he has been able to turn his rejection into a fictional conspiracy, one that has the nastiest of his supporters threatening violence, bloodshed, assassination and coup.

This is the way democracies die.

We have the Republican Party to thank for the awful mess we are in. The Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Lies. Led by Trump, they first tried to delegitimize the presidency of Barack Obama by promoting the birther lie that he was not an American. Then they just spent seven years trying to block everything Obama tried to do.

Republicans have also spent a fortune in taxpayer money trying to blame Hillary Clinton for deaths in Benghazi, a failed effort Colin Powell has called “a stupid witch hunt.” Even the family of Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was brutally killed in the attack on the American embassy, doesn’t blame Clinton. They blame a Republican-controlled Congress for repeatedly denying budget increases for diplomatic security.

Then there’s the ongoing hogwash about Clinton’s use of a private email server. The FBI investigated and found her actions careless, but not criminal. In the words of FBI Director James Comey, “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

But egged on by conservative talk radio (one of the most corrosive forces in American civic life) and aided and abetted by WikiLeaks (a global criminal enterprise) the Clinton emails have become a favorite hobby horse of the far right – despite the fact that they have revealed nothing.

Now we have the great Trumpean lie that the presidential election is somehow rigged.

To hear Trump tell it, Clinton, Obama, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the FBI, every mainstream media outlet and now even the Republican Party establishment is involved in a vast conspiracy to deny him the White House. Never mind that there is not a shred of credible evidence of massive voter fraud; for Trump, “rigged” apparently means lots of people are opposed to him.

Clinton has her faults, but she is better prepared to lead America than anyone else who ran this year. Even Republican strategists now concede she will win a decisive victory. Trump’s chances of winning have sunk to a marginal 13 percent; on Nov. 8 we should be celebrating the election of America’s first woman president, but instead we will be holding our breaths and bracing for the blow-back from the fanatic fringe.

Those fanatics include unprincipled Republicans hoping to ride Trump’s flaming coattails to power, people like Gov. Paul LePage, Trump’s Mini-Me who has also spoken of shooting and jailing his opponents and how voter fraud is rampant. LePage says the dead can vote in Maine, and zombies voting would certainly help explain his two gubernatorial victories.

Trump’s fervent fans also include evangelical Christians hoping the profane billionaire’s rise signals the arrival of the End Time and the coming of the Rapture. They include blue-collar working stiffs who have been beaten up by the global economy and don’t know who to blame. But most worrisome are the alt-right extremists who now pose a more immediate threat to this country than foreign terrorists.

Clinton will win easily. But I fear for her and for the country if Timothy McVeigh types, whipped up by Trump and convinced she did not win fair and square, start attacking federal facilities, government officials, minorities and immigrants.

Trump’s candidacy, which started out as a bad joke, has become a real nightmare. This is the way democracies die.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

  • justanotherfakename

    The idea that a coup by Trump may be attempted is hyperbole, but the fact is that the divisions in our already deeply divided nation will be more stark than ever after Hillary wins. There are more bunker dwelling conspiracy obsessed, prison planet whack jobs than ever. Whatever contingent guards the executive branch will need be on their toes. The biggest loser in this sorry excuse for a democratic election process, are actual issues. Hopefully in the Senate something can be accomplished, but with an obstructionist House, I honestly have low expectations. More of the same block, bluster and blame will more likely be the name of the game. I hope for the best.

  • danmaine

    Why vote for Trump?
    Because I use my head to research and find out what candidates really are, not what the media wants me to think.
    Because Donald Trump has more women in executive and managerial positions than any comparable company, which tells me he is not a misogynist.
    Because he pays these women the same or more than their male counterparts, which tells me looks for capacity and skills in people, not color, gender or race.
    Because he fought the West Palm Beach City Council to be able to open his newly purchased club, so he could include blacks and Jews as members, who had been banned until then. This tells me he is not a racist.
    Because he has raised wonderful children who have turned out to be outstanding, hard working and compassionate adults. He must be doing something right.
    Because his economic plans makes sense, are conservative in nature, and I vote based of what is best for my family, my friends and my country.
    Because everybody, the left and the right are afraid of him, the media is trying to destroy his image, and even foreign governments are voicing their opinions, so he must be doing something right. Clean house maybe?
    Because I want a Supreme Court that will uphold the Constitution, not behave as minions of the administration. I have had enough with judges who are more like political activists than law enforcers.
    Because I fear for my family’s safety if the current trend of not confronting blatant terrorism continues – which is a threat to our way of life.
    Because I am fed up with the rampant corruption of this administration. Accountability in government is paramount, and as this administration has demonstrated, it is a foreign concept to them.
    Because I am fed up with the political correctness gone wild, and because Trump is not afraid to say what everybody thinks but does not dare to say. A thug is a thug, regardless of color, and that’s it.
    Because it is about time someone puts America’s interests ahead of other countries.
    Because I know he recognizes and embraces America’s exceptionalism, and will not tour the World apologizing for who we are. That tells me he is a patriot.
    Because, unlike HRC, he has actually held a job, worked hard and achieved success.
    And last, but not least, because I am more offended by what Hillary does than by what Trump says.

    • Kevin McCarthy

      And because you’re apparently incapable of an original thought. Copying and pasting a Facebook meme is about the level of sophistication that one can expect from Trump, although I sincerely doubt Trump is even capable of that.

  • Charles Martel

    In addition to “Clinton has her faults”. “Clinton will win easily.” you should’ve added, “I spoke too soon”.

  • Charles Martel

    Clinton supporters in action against an elderly black homeless woman.

    • Aliyah33

      Thanks for posting. These videos are no longer playable on YouTube; message given is the person removed his/her YouTube account.

      Re this Op Ed and others’ similar comments aligned with EAB, it’s evident too many don’t know about George Soros, his connections with Clinton, and the fact he controls much of the media…”owns” Google, hence YouTube, etc. – and the very sad fact they’ll never even bother to research Soros nor any of the suggestions you’ve continually made. Further, I doubt there’s much attention paid to the Wikileaks documents as well. However, I do look up these links and follow-up on your comments, and have found truth in what you’ve said – so, thanks again, Charles Martel. At this point, my opinion’s akin to Stefan Molyneax’s recent YouTube post, re EAB, et al.

      • Charles Martel

        Hmmm? I was able to click on the videos and they worked fine. Lately, I’ve decided not to spend much effort writing responses to the Leftists at The Forecaster. It’s a waste of time and easier to just post a link to a video or article.

        • Aliyah33

          Sorry, my mistake…it was actually the Gateway Pundit article I’d seen this morning before your comment. GP’s embedded YouTube video’s had that message, but the link you gave did have the videos working. Definitely, I’m with you about The Forecaster, but you’re apparently still in the clear with them – I don’t dare to include any link because I’ve been censored so many times. 🙂 I’ll still look for your comments…and want to write this, too. What piqued my interest was when you’d commented about Sharia law, political Islam, etc. At first, I was taken aback because it sounded, as others were accusing you of – “Islamophobe” (a word Clinton likes to use), but instead of being judgmental, I took a step back and started researching. Specifically, “Political Islam” by Dr. Bill Warner. And guess what? You were spot-on…and still are. Hats off to you!

          • Charles Martel

            I’ve been studying Islamic doctrine since 9/11. Back in the 70’s, I lived and worked in Afghanistan when not many Americans had even heard of that country. I’ve been the Portland, ME Chapter Leader for Act for America for 6 years now. However, to the Leftist apologists for Islam at The Forecaster, I’m still a racist, bigot and “Islamophobe”.

          • Aliyah33

            Hopefully, they’ll consider what you’ve written about your background and experiences. But, based on what they continue to write, it doesn’t appear highly likely…yes, Leftist apologists mired in PC thinking, the real downfall for all of us.

  • MisterMainer

    What a difference a week makes………..or should I say “what a difference a leak makes”.

    A government that is as rotten to the core as the Clinton Crime Family has made it is what makes democracies die.

  • funfundvierzig

    “Clinton will win easily”, this clumsy columnist concludes with utmost, if not pretentious confidence.

    “No responsible citizen, corporation or newspaper would endorse Trump”, intones the off-the-beam Beem.

    Folks, looks like one more ultra-liberal has failed to convince the great unwashed that they have to vote for his beloved but incorrigibly corrupt candidate in the pear-shaped pantsuit. Regular women and men by the tens of millions revolted and refused to obey the ultra-liberals who demand to think for everyone and order them about.