The Daily Star ran as its editorial this morning Charles Krauthammer's blistering take-down of Trump. My initial reaction was surprise. Then, after 10 seconds of reflection, I realized that all true conservatives should feel the same way, feel absolute horror at Trump's promise to autocratically send Clinton to jail. That promise is an affront to everything our country stands for.
That Trump crashed because of a sex-talk tape is odd. It should have been a surprise to no one. His views on women have been on open display for years. And he’d offered a dazzling array of other reasons for disqualification: habitual mendacity, pathological narcissism, profound ignorance and an astonishing dearth of basic human empathy.
To which list Trump added in the second debate, and it had nothing to do with sex. It was his threat, if elected, to put Hillary Clinton in jail.
What makes Trump’s promise to lock her up all the more alarming is that it’s not an isolated incident. This is not the first time he’s insinuated using the powers of the presidency against political enemies. He has threatened Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post, for using the newspaper “as a tool for political power against me and other people. … We can’t let him get away with it.”
With exercising free political speech?
Trump has gone after others with equal subtlety. “I hear,” he tweeted, “the Rickets (sic) family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”
He also promises to “open up” libel laws to permit easier prosecution of those who attack him unfairly. Has he ever conceded any attack on him to be fair?
This election is not just about placing the nuclear codes in Trump’s hands. It’s also about handing him the instruments of civilian coercion, such as the IRS, the FBI, the FCC, the SEC. Think of what he could do to enforce the “fairness” he demands. Imagine giving over the vast power of the modern state to a man who says in advance that he will punish his critics and jail his opponent.
Let me add this. As I've said before, the real story of 2016 is not all about Trump but all about his supporters, the people who applaud his lies and his Fascist promises. That Trump's supporters cheer his promise to "lock her up" marks them as caring as little as Trump does about our country and what really makes it great. And that is the scary thing about what we have to look forward to after November 8.