Trump's accelerating assault on democracy

We have not wasted much ink in this space detailing the day-to-day outrages, depravities, and lies of the Trump administration over the last 44 months. Such an exercise would leave precious little room for the steady diet of local coverage to which our readers are accustomed.

But lest anyone labor under any misapprehension: This unhinged presidency is loathsome to us in every way. It must be brought to an end by the power of our votes.

Each minute of this sustained national nightmare that is the Trump presidency has brought further descent into lunacy, criminality, and misinformation.

Now, as the campaign season lurches toward its climactic fall chapter, the Trump-Pence strategy is clear: Stoke discord and ferment violence on the streets of American cities and, in a desperate flail, appeal to the most vile fears of their malcontented base. In the meantime, the back plan: Sow the most poisonous of crops— doubt in the fundamental lifeblood of our republic— throughout the land. What bitter harvest will their wickedness reap come November?

Last week, the Trump-Pence ticket shamelessly misused the White House and other federal property to stage the Republican convention, a flagrant violation of federal law. And yet, on went the show, as even left-wing media —eager to appear even-handed in their coverage— aired the proceedings with only passing references to the abuse of power.

This week has brought even more grotesque behavior. The president’s well-documented affinity for white nationalist killers was once again torch-lit by a teen vigilante, Kyle Rittenhouse, charged by Wisconsin authorities with murdering two men and grievously wounding a third on the streets of Kenosha last weekend amid protests set off by yet another police shooting of an unarmed Black man.

In his patented double-speak, Trump on Monday seemed to defend Rittenhouse’s actions as self-defense, suggesting the AR-15 wielding 17 year old “probably would have been killed” had he not let loose a barrage of bullets at unarmed protestors.

Not since the aftermath of the bloody neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville had the Republican nominee for president come so close to inciting and justifying white supremacist vigilantism.

His opponent, former Vice President Biden, meanwhile, has been unequivocal in denouncing any form of violence amid the protests in cities like Portland and Kenosha. Biden is spot-on when he notes that it is Trump who brings “toxicity” along with him wherever he rolls.

“Fires are burning and we have a president who fans the flames rather than fighting the flames,” Biden said. “Donald Trump looks at this violence and he sees a political lifeline.”

It’s even more sinister than that. On Tuesday, ignoring appeals of state and local officials to stay away, Trump descended on Kenosha, a small city still reeling from the aftermath of murder and days of unrest. It would, of course, be too much to ask this particular politician to pass up an opportunity to enflame his red-capped brigade.

Meanwhile, yesterday in Massachusetts, still in the midst of a disruptive and deadly pandemic, people exercised their civic duty in strong numbers. Whether casting ballots in person— as my family did, with no hardship, in Lower Mills— or sending it along through the mail, the voting was done with great confidence that our sacred right, our franchise, is fully intact.

We have a president who intends to undermine that right. We must not let him succeed.