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In Cheering Trump, Republicans Cheered the Death of American Democracy

Last updated on July 17th, 2023 at 07:14 pm

Republicans say they are worried about terrorism? Donald Trump’s acceptance speech last night was terrorism. His words terrorized America. It terrorized minorities. It terrorized women. It terrorized America’s allies.

Not only was it a horrible speech, but it was filled with demonstrated lies and invented statistics. Very sad.

It wasn’t just your average American sitting at home who was terrified, but pundits and media figures as well. Respected columnist Ezra Klein wrote, “Donald Trump’s nomination is the first time American politics has left me truly afraid.”

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How could it not?

His speech tonight invoked a nightmarish American hellscape that doesn’t actually exist. His promise to restore order made him sound like the aspiring strongman his critics fear him to be. “I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end,” he said. “Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.”

And no. By that, Trump doesn’t mean re-instituting an assault gun ban, or universal background checks on firearms purchases, let alone keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists.

Think rather, in terms of a guy who sleeps with a book of Hitler’s speeches on his nightstand and who gives the Hitler salute while demanding personal oaths of loyalty from his followers.

As Paul Krugman tweeted in response to Klein’s warning, “No matter what he does, 90 percent of Republicans will vote for him. That’s what should terrify all of us.”

I hate to say this, but Fox News’ Erick Erickson spoke for me when he tweeted,

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin’s response tied into Erickson’s:

Rubin wrote at in her blog Right Turn Thursday that “Trump doubles down: Fear justifies a strongman.” Which is, when you get right down to it, pretty much Hitler’s message. And Mussolini’s too.

It was notable for a presidential convention acceptance speech that it had so little hope, vision, or concrete examples of how Trump would advance his agenda and “Make America Great Again.” In essence he is saying, I am great so give me America.

As the saying goes, if this doesn’t scare you, you’re not paying attention. “This is,” as Rubin says, “the classic theme of an authoritarian seeking to manipulate the masses by raw emotion.”

When conservatives are afraid, they elect dictators. It’s what they do.

In a pair of tweets, MSNBC’ Chris Hayes tweeted, “just gets darker and darker…” and that, “It’s also just really hard to work yourself up into cheers when the topic is brutal death.”

Hillary for America Chair John Podesta released the following statement:

“Tonight, Donald Trump painted a dark picture of an America in decline. And his answer – more fear, more division, more anger, more hate — was yet another reminder that he is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be President of the United States. He offered no real solutions to help working families get ahead or to keep our country safe, just more prejudice and paranoia. America is better than this. America is better than Donald Trump.”

As Rubin said, how many of us realized what a crappy place America is? And this is for white people, not minorities. Can you imagine? America is a crappy place for white people? And you’re going to fix it? Forget the GOP platform for a minute; this is Trump’s platform.

Political commentator Nicole Wallace lamented on NBC that “Listening to this, I was struck by two things I always believed during my two decades in Republican politics. One, the voters always get it right, and two, the Republican Party that I worked for for two decades died in this room tonight.”

But it isn’t just the Republican Party, sad though that loss is to a democracy that depends upon two strong political parties. What is worse is that thousands of conservatives cheered the death of democracy last night.

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