Tyranny of Trump and His Deplorables

As Hurricane Harvey came ashore near Corpus Christi, Texas, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security had a message for the country. Protect yourselves, we were told, and follow directions of emergency agencies. Emergency messages, he said, “are not fake news” and represent the president’s concern for those who didn’t vote for him as well as for those who did.

This statement proclaimed to the world the extent to which President Donald Trump has poisoned our governmental system. Even in an emergency, the public is to question the legitimacy of news from the mainstream media. Reliability of emergency information calls for the president’s personal endorsement to be considered valid. Furthermore, this president has been clear that he values only the minority who voted for him, to the extent that we must be told when he has decided to govern in the interests of those not within his enclave.

We soon heard another piece of news affirming the President’s concern for all Americans. A former sheriff in Arizona who was investigated by the Bush and Obama administrations for patterns of civil rights violations, who defied a Supreme Court decision and an order from another federal judge, and who was finally convicted for defying the rule of law – he was pardoned before sentence could be passed.

Pardons are often controversial, but they come when the judicial process has been completed. President Trump, we know now, tried unsuccessfully to interfere in Justice Department processes to stop prosecution. Upon conviction, he decided to intervene to halt the judicial process, foregoing the careful deliberation usually required out of respect for the rule of law.

But this president does not respect the law, the constitution, or the courts. A president who has already obstructed justice by interfering in investigations of his campaign and staff has now used a pardon as an instrument of obstructing justice before it can run its course.

We are living under presidential tyranny. Trump is intentionally destabilizing pillars of our democracy – the free press, judicial processes, courts, ethical rules against conflicts of interest, and the separation of powers even within the executive branch to protect the integrity of our justice system. His purpose? To support his own legitimacy and unfounded claims of the greatest victory ever. To accomplish this, he rules solely in the interests of his “base,” a minority of the electorate who admire even his most outrageous statements and actions.

Who are these people in Trump’s base? They are not traditional Republicans, even though most Republicans continued to support their party despite the inflammatory and disreputable campaign behavior of Donald Trump. Traditional Republicans in congress are routinely trashed, the very people whose cooperation is necessary for his agenda to be accomplished. As his popularity drops, he encourages primary challenges against Senators who criticize his unacceptable behaviors, never considering that toppling those who have voted with him opens the door for a successful Democratic replacement.

Who are the grinning, shouting, chanting people on stage behind Trump as he goes into lunatic rages in West Virginia and Phoenix? Are they “salt of the earth” working class people who want to get ahead by socking it to the rich who have exported their jobs and live in luxury at their expense? Absolutely not!!! That is the “fake news” being spread by Trump publicists. They are cheering for a man who is the primary example of what has victimized them. And he has filled his cabinet with oodles of the same class of people. Those on stage are willing dupes acting out of prejudice, not from economic self-interest.

The people on stage for the rallies in Phoenix and West Virginia are now supporters and fellow-travelers with the Nazis, white supremacists, and KKK members that marched in Charlottesville. If you want to hear them really cheer, just declare that Obama is not really an American citizen. Or demean Mexicans, any Latino group, or Muslims. Ask them if Sheriff Joe is a hero because he threw out constitutional rights for targeted minorities; or if the court system is rigged because it punishes lawbreakers like Sheriff Joe; or if he should pardon Sheriff Joe. Ask them if Trump discriminates and they will say he rejects political correctness. Another popular way they endorse attacks on the constitution and human rights is by saying they oppose “identity politics.”

Donald Trump’s tyrannical actions as president demean the integrity of our constitutional system because it limits what he wants to do in fits of rage or when he feels the breath of investigations on his neck and knows his long history of lawlessness is going to be exposed.

President Trump took an oath to defend the constitution. This is usually taken as a commitment to serve the best interests of all the American people. His actions have served only himself and the minority in his base. Over the seven months of his administration, examples of keeping his oath of office are hard to find while examples of violating laws and constitutional limitations keep piling up.

Hillary Clinton called alt-right Trump supporters deplorable. She was right. Those on stage at Trump rallies and those in the audience have expanded those who deserve to be called deplorable. The cheering rally crowds who endorse inexcusable disrespect for the constitution and the presidency itself have allied themselves with the extremists of the alt-right.

The majority of Americans are living under a tyranny as an authoritarian president forces the despicable values and desires of the very worst among us, although they are relatively few, on all of us.

Still, leaders of the Republican majorities in congress do not act. Every day the pillars of democracy and rule of law are chipped away as their constitutional protectors say too little and do almost nothing.

This president is an authoritarian tyrant trying to rule based on the very worst among us. Tyrants can’t be tolerated. They must be confronted with action and forced from power. Our constitution provides lawful ways to hold a tyrant accountable and remove him. It’s time Republican leaders in congress honored their oaths to the constitution and removed a president who never intended to keep the oath he took.