Do your part to stop Trump

Trump fascist

My state goes to the polls today to cast ballots in the presidential primaries. For me, one simple thought is driving my decision about how to vote today.

Trump must be stopped.

I sincerely wish I could trust the Republicans to do it themselves, but for all their #NeverTrump protestations, signs of accommodation with the authoritarian megalomaniac are already there. So that means its up to the rest of us.

His rivals for the GOP nomination have made much of Trump’s self-declared flexibility on the issues, if that’s what we’re going to call his wild inconsistency and whim-driven flip-flops on policy. What’s far more troubling are those positions where he has been rock-solidly consistent. In fact, those examples aren’t troubling, they’re terrifying.

In prosecuting the war on terror, Trump has vowed to torture, not just in a vain effort to gain intelligence, but to exact vengeance; he has vowed to kill the families of terrorists and terror suspects; to wage religious war; to “level the playing field” by adopting the same barbarous tactics as ISIS; to order the American military to commit war crimes, which he would legitimize by having “the law expanded” to authorize whatever ruthless tactics he deems necessary.

In an open letter to the American public, members of the Republican national security community summarized their united opposition to Trump this way:

Mr. Trump’s own statements lead us to conclude that as president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world. Furthermore, his expansive view of how presidential power should be wielded against his detractors poses a distinct threat to civil liberty in the United States. Therefore, as committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a Party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head. We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.

Today I will do what I can to stop Trump. Michigan has an open primary system which allows me, a Democrat, to vote in the Republican primary instead. And so I will.

While some are arguing that the only way to defeat Trump is to rally behind the candidacy of Sen. Ted Cruz, his policy positions make that an unacceptable choice for me. I will cast my vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the closest thing left in the Republican race to a mature, sensible, and pragmatic leader.

If you are a Michigan Democrat, I plead with you to cross party lines and do likewise. Hell, vote for Cruz or Rubio if you want, just not Trump. If you are a Michigan Republican, I plead with you to vote for any candidate but Trump. Not Trump. Never Trump.

Trump must be stopped. Do your part.

We were warned (again)


As the Republican establishment frantically tries to change the trajectory of an election cycle that has careened dangerously out of their control, here’s another prescient warning:

Remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

But having failed to heed George Washington, why would they listen to John F. Kennedy?

We were warned


As the Super Tuesday primaries unfold throughout the day, and while you watch the returns roll in tonight, consider these cautionary words:

Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

When Donald Trump secures the Republican nomination for president, remember that in 1796 we were warned, by none other than George Washington himself.

Thanks for nothing, Ulster


I hate to break this to my friends in Belfast, but according to Reihan Salam writing at Slate, we here in the states have the Scots-Irish, descended sons and daughters of Ulster, to thank for propelling Donald Trump to his commanding lead atop the GOP primary heap:

[In Iowa] … the counties that went for Trump tended to have higher rates of unemployment and a higher share of adults who identify as Scots-Irish, or simply as “American.” …

The Scots-Irish or “American” whites who see Trump as their champion are profoundly different from the metropolitan whites who dominate the upper echelons of U.S. society—so much so that the convention of lumping them together as “white” detracts far more from our understanding of how they fit into our society than it adds to it. J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, a forthcoming book on the place of Appalachian whites in modern America, estimates that roughly one-quarter of whites belong to the Scots-Irish tribe that has embraced Trump.

Then again, I suspect my Belfast friends would likely be unsurprised by this given that most of them are labeled Catholic (whether they’re religious or not) in Northern Ireland’s dysfunctional identity-centric society, and America’s Scots-Irish are the descendants of Ulster Protestants.

In fact, given the arrogance, aggressive ignorance, xenophobia, and religious bigotry that Trump gleefully espouses, he’d fit right in among Belfast’s fleggers