This week, audio uncovered by The Washington Post confirmed what most of us already knew about Donald Trump: he’s a pretty awful human being.
If that wasn’t clear before this week, consider that from the start of Trump’s campaign, the emphasis has been more about getting the American people to despise or fear certain groups (immigrants, China, Syrian refugees), instead of getting us to like him.
His approach has been to invent fake threats and present himself as the strongman who is uniquely qualified to step in and “make America great again.” What this strategy has demonstrated — and what The Washington Post’s audio makes very clear — is that Trump lacks a fundamental respect for other human beings.
It isn’t a coincidence that a man boasting about how his social status grants him the right to assault women is also running on a platform that appears unbound by constitutional or legal constraints.
Unlike previous candidates who have at least nodded to the existence of the U.S. Constitution, Trump’s campaign has been a constant assault on the limitations of powers outlined in the Constitution.
At various points, his campaign has called for the sanctioning of religious institutions on the basis that some of their members’ beliefs are dangerous (a violation of the First Amendment); the support of torturing enemy prisoners, as well as the targeting and killing of their families (a violation of the Eighth Amendment); the shutdown of Muslim immigration into the U.S. (a policy that would essentially shred the Constitution, but is most notably in violation of the Equal Protections Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment).
The campaign has also demonstrated overall ignorance to the idea that the powers of government are separated across three distinct branches.
It’s likely that we will be spared from these ridiculous policies, as the emergence of this new audio from Trump will likely destroy his chances of winning the election.
However, the 2016 election should serve as a wake-up call to Americans in that Trump has been able to get this close to becoming the most powerful man in the world.
This campaign cycle has demonstrated that a platform rooted in racial collectivism and nationalist protectionism can be politically successful in 2016. Because Trump’s strategies and policy positions have been well-received by some, it’s likely that they will be emulated by others seeking elected positions going forward, on the left and the right.
As the nature of democracy is such that eventually, someone you disagree with will be in power, those who are concerned with the implications of a Trump presidency — or the presidency of any particular candidate, for that matter — should shift the conversation away from who is going to be elected this November.
The conversation we should be having — one that reflects more on the nature of government and politics — is about just how much power should we be giving our elected leaders. Because the one thing we can count on is that Trump won’t be the last terrible person to run for office.