quarta-feira, 19 de outubro de 2016
Donald Trump’s Contempt for Democracy
Donald Trump’s Contempt for Democracy
By THE EDITORIAL BOARDOCT. 19, 2016
Donald Trump turned, in the third and final presidential debate, from insulting the intelligence of the American voter to insulting American democracy itself. He falsely insisted there were “millions of people” registered to participate in the election who did not have the right to vote and declared he would not commit to honoring the outcome.
Hillary Clinton was clearly shocked that he was attacking the very foundation of the republic, the American tradition of peacefully transferring power. “That’s horrifying,” she said, rightly. At one point, Mr. Trump even said, outrageously, “She shouldn’t be allowed to run.”
The presidential debate was another exercise in narcissism, bombast and mendacity by Mr. Trump. One could only hope that this might be the last grand display of his gross unfitness to be president.
Mr. Trump arrived at the debate in Las Vegas after days of making venomous attacks on the democratic process, and by implication, the voters’ ability to make sound choices. Asked about whether he would accept the election result, he tersely answered, “I will look at it at the time.” In rejecting his answer, Mrs. Clinton noted that Mr. Trump is a chronic complainer when he loses, even in an Emmy award competition. But applying his loser’s lament to an American presidential election is a far different proposition than whining about a TV show. “He is talking down our democracy,” Mrs. Clinton warned.
Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton clashed over Mr. Trump’s favorable view of President Vladimir Putin of Russia. She pointed out that Russian hackers have been traced by numerous government intelligence agencies as the source of leaks undermining the Democratic Party and the American election. Mr. Trump defended the Russian leader, insisting he had no close relationship with him, but that Mr. Putin had “outsmarted” Mrs. Clinton “every step of the way.”
They clashed as well on the issue of abortion, with Mrs. Clinton noting Mr. Trump had previously said abortion should be illegal and women who have them should be punished and that he also wants to defund Planned Parenthood. Mr. Trump said he would appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court.
And he stood by his insistence that he would build a massive wall across the Mexican border. “We have some bad hombres here,” he said, maintaining his insulting allegations that Mexican immigrants are criminals. Mrs. Clinton, clearly trying to needle her thin-skinned opponent, said he ducked the issue in his visit to the Mexican president: “He choked.”
The debate was tightly directed by the moderator, Chris Wallace, but Mr. Trump showed no inclination to back off his bullying and cunning in keeping the focus on himself rather than on the problems of the nation.
Mr. Trump again faced the issue that sent his reputation into a tailspin in recent opinion polls — his hot-microphone bragging in 2005 that he sexually assaulted women. Women have come forward to offer evidence of instances of abuse, and Mr. Trump insisted, falsely, that the accusations have been debunked. “They want either fame, or her campaign did it,” he said. “She got these people to step forward,” he said of Mrs. Clinton, as usual offering no evidence for his claims.
“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Mr. Trump declared, in one of his more transparent lies of the night.
Mr. Trump’s meltdown in the closing weeks could be dismissed as a sore loser’s bizarre attempt at rationalizing his likely defeat. But his trashing of the democratic process, in service of his own ego, risks lasting damage to the country, and politicians of both parties should recoil from him and his cynical example.