Anyone who assumed that Donald Trump was not truly endangering the future not only of the Republican Party but the American Republic as well only needed to hear one exchange in last night’s Fox News Republican debate. If there ever was a moment to truly question whether Trump was committed to democracy it came in the midst of the discussion of U.S. national security policy. This was his response and approach to the following question:
…when you asked the U.S. military to carry out some of your campaign promises, specifically targeting terrorists' families, and also the use of interrogation methods more extreme than waterboarding, the military will refuse because they've been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders. So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?
He replied: “They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me.”
Then Trump was challenged further by the questioner, “But they're illegal.” Trump replied after a bit of digression, “…I'm a leader. I'm a leader. I've always been a leader. I've never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they're going to do it. That's what leadership is all about.”
The sooner the country understands that this is not the language of a democrat but of a fascist demagogue. If America is to remain a country governed by law than the citizens had better realize that candidates for the presidency need to comprehend this reality. The type of leadership proposed above by Donald Trump is not acceptable; not to Democrats, not to Republicans, not to any Americans.
The fact that so many Americans have become infatuated with Trump and have joined his movement is understandable. It also a very sad commentary on the state of political leadership in the United States; nevertheless there are options—in both parties. History has examples of what happens when a democracy opts for a leader who is caught up in the cult of personality and has no regard for the law.