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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Proper Respect




Trump voters ask me to respect their choice. I can’t. It’s not a respectable choice. This is a democracy. I respect their right to make that choice. If you want to vote for him, I will not lock your door or chain you to the bed or hide your car keys. In a country where Republicans are disenfranchising their opposition wherever they can by pushing “voter I.D. laws,” I will respect your right to make up your mind and cast your vote. Nor would I support any trickery that would try to prevent you. But I cannot respect your choice.

Donald Trump is a demagogue. Mike Pence criticized President Obama for calling him this. He said that name calling has no place in our democracy. (Someone ought to introduce Mike Pence to his running mate.) But it is not name calling to call Donald Trump a Demagogue. “Crooked Hillary” is name calling, “Lying Ted,” “Lazy Jeb.” These are examples of name calling. If I called Donald Trump the bloated host of the hirsute, Day-Glo alien attached to his scalp, that would be name calling. “Demagogue” is a descriptive term—wholly accurate: “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.” It is a negative term because it labels a negative thing, like “murderer” and “rapist.”

Donald Trump is a demagogue. And that’s about the nicest thing I could say about him. To choose to vote for him is a mistake. It may be one made out of a sincere and heart-felt desire to make America Great. But it won’t do that. You don’t make a shirt clean or a country great by dragging it through the mud.

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