Let’s Not Downplay Trump’s Role in the “Derangement of the American Mind”

Pittsburgh

I am thankful for clear-headed conservatives like Charlie Sykes.  Here a taste of his recent piece in The Weekly Standard:

But, his critics insist, Donald Trump plays a unique role here. And they are right; presidents are supposed to be a unifying symbol in times of stress, but Trump can barely go through the motions.

Both as a candidate and as president, he has used his extraordinary megaphone to push the envelope of acceptable discourse and behavior, not merely by the crudity of his attacks on his foes, but by his cultivation of a menacing swagger as a sign that “he fights.” He has openly encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies and celebrated the physical assault on a reporter who was body slammed. Perhaps inevitably, his supporters/followers have often modeled their language and behavior on his, especially as he has stoked anger against his critics and embraced conspiracy theories about their malevolent plans to destroy America.

In a nation of more than 300 million, there are more than a handful of unbalanced individuals who might take all of this both literally and seriously.

That is what makes these times so dangerous and Trump’s behavior so reckless. Leadership matters.

Read the entire piece here.

3 thoughts on “Let’s Not Downplay Trump’s Role in the “Derangement of the American Mind”

  1. I read the entire piece by Charlie Sykes, and he does an equitable job of also criticizing several senior Democrat personalities for their lack of civility. Sykes is attempting to spread the blame to all political corners. Trump is not the only politician to be castigated in the article.
    While I theoretically would like to see President Trump tone things back a bit, in practice this would lead to defeat. There is only one way to overcome the Democrat and media hegemonic power vice, and that is to remain on the attack against them. Far too many well-intentioned Republicans have attempted to work with these people only to discover that plaudits in the Washington Post and the New York Times do not actually imply acceptance. The left will do what it has to do in order to maintain or to regain power. The late John McCain reveled in his complimentary “Maverick” moniker and as long as he bucked the G.O.P. leadership, the establishment press went fairly easy on him. Yet when he dared to run for president against the anointed Obama, McCain soon discovered that he really had few friends in those circles. They got a little nasty.
    I will allow that Trump can be boorish and rude, but the proof is in the pudding that this tactic has totally kept the Washington-New York-Hollywood-Democrat alliance off balance. No sooner have they attacked him that he has landed a counterpunch. They have never had to deal with a Republican of this nature. Even Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator, on his best day could not parry with the press and the Democrats in such an effective manner. Sure, Reagan was more the gentleman and his verbal style was different, but I also personally think that the current Democrat-media apparatus has made Trump’s style necessary. Nancy Pelosi is not Tip O’Neil, and Chuck Schumer is not Robert C. Byrd or any of the other more reasonable past Democrat leaders. This current crop of Democrats are ruthless and heartless as evidenced in the recent Kavanaugh hearings.
    It may or may not be true, but it seems I recall reading somewhere that the young Donald Trump retained the old Roy Cohn for various legal services. Yes, Roy was controversial for several reasons, but he was also a very effective and “sought after” attorney. In any case, a bit of advice Roy supposedly imparted to young Trump was to never go on the defensive. One might call it the George Patton strategy, albeit applied to a wholly different field. This Roy Cohn-Donald Trump anecdote may or may not be true, but Trump’s style certainly has been effective in confounding those who are trying to stop his agenda.
    I wish things did not have to be this way. Perhaps after the upcoming election, both sides can sit down and discuss a truce————but I’m not holding my breath.

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  2. I saw the President speak just as he was boarding Air Force One today. His initial answers with regard to today’s synagogue shooting are a return of more death penalties, carried out more quickly, and armed security in these places.
    The first won’t work. The second either. But even conceiving of churches being churches with armed guards bespeaks his lack of a grasp on what a church is. His response is uninformed and simplistic. I think some churches do have armed guards. That is their business. The president believes an armed guard would have done the trick today. Multiple trained police arrived knowing there was a shooter and some of them got shot. I doubt the armed guard would be trained to face an AK-15. More needs to be done about the guns and nuts situation away from the doors of churches, synagogues, schools and businesses, not arming someone at every door.

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    • John: once again, you are linking by implication — unless your choice of photo was an accident — Trump as the causal agent for murder and violence. Facts appear to be irrelevant (for example, early reports about the synagogue shooter are that he was virulently anti-Trump).

      It is disappointing to see you embracing — quite selectively — this kind of thinking. I would say exactly the same thing were you a court evangelical attempting to blame Bernie Sanders and the Left for James Hodgkinson.

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