Trump Is a Danger to the Nation and World
"Get ‘em out!" That's what Donald Trump shouted to peaceful, silent protestors last week at his rally at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds.
People wearing Trump masks or anti-Trump T-shirts - even if they were silent and just stood there -were removed from the political event as the crowd jeered. This is Donald Trump's approach to free speech in a democracy.
As we know from other rallies, Trump has lamented the "good old days" when police could crack people's skulls with impunity, and he has encouraged violent action by his followers, going so far as promising to pay the legal fees of those arrested for assaulting protesters. If this is how Trump behaves toward non-violent political dissent as a candidate, imagine what he would do with the power of the presidency.
Trump supporters love his mantra about building a wall and "making Mexico pay for it." The Republican frontrunner says he would withhold billions of dollars in remittances that Mexican workers (documented as well as undocumented) lawfully send home to support their families until the Mexican government paid for a wall along the border. What would this act of extortion (a violation of international law) look like domestically? Every Western Union in the country would require police surveillance to implement an unconstitutional interference by government in private commerce.
In denouncing Carrier's decision to move its assembly plant from Indianapolis to Mexico, Trump promised to force the company's return by slapping a tariff on its Mexican-made products. "You're going to bring it across the border, and we're going to charge you a 35 percent tax," he told the Indianapolis crowd. "Now within 24 hours they're going to call back. ‘Mr. President, we've decided to stay. We're coming back to Indianapolis.'" With this promise, similar to what he's said in reference to Ford plants leaving Michigan, Trump is selling his followers a bill of goods.
Trump's "import tax" would be a blatant violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was enacted into law with strong bipartisan support more than 20 years ago. While such tariffs, illegal under NAFTA, would not likely force Carrier or Ford to return to the U.S., they could ignite a trade war with both Mexico and Canada. Slapping punitive tariffs on Chinese imports, which Trump has also proposed repeatedly, would likely provoke even greater economic retaliation. There are no winners in a trade war; instead, everyone loses. When it comes to trade policy, Trump is either being disingenuous with his supporters or this builder of hotels and casinos doesn't know anything about the global economy beyond real estate.
As for foreign and national security policy, Trump is even less knowledgeable and more reckless. He has suggested that the United States pull out of South Korea and Japan and that both countries should obtain nuclear weapons to defend themselves. In other words, at the same time that Trump is advocating economic warfare against a rising China, he would have the United States abandon its Asian allies.
He has taken a similarly irresponsible position on Europe. With Vladimir Putin's Russia becoming increasingly aggressive on the continent and beyond, Trump has called for the U.S. to reduce its commitment to NATO and to our longstanding European allies. Is it any wonder that The Economist magazine has identified a Trump presidency as one of the Top Ten global risks?
Donald Trump has never really been a Republican. Instead, he is using the Republican Party as a vehicle to achieve power. Yes, he is energizing and bringing new voters into the party, but as with their leader, many of them have no loyalty or commitment to the party itself. Trump's is a personalist movement with fascist tendencies; its leader is a thin-skinned narcissist who thinks the rules don't apply to him.
He is not just a threat to the Republican Party but to our republic as well. I'm not sure yet whether I will vote for Ted Cruz or John Kasich in the May 3 Indiana GOP primary, but of one thing I am certain. #NeverTrump.