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It’s Just Not Normal: Trump’s Demagoguery and the GOP’s Embrace of It Are Way Out of The Mainstream

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It Is Up to Us to Stop Them

After Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, it’s clear the Republican party has decided to embrace the dark, dangerous, and divisive vision of America that was peddled from the gold plated podium last night. Donald Trump showed no interest in toning down the controversial rhetoric and policy proposals that earned him the nomination, and his strategy, as the New York Times put it, is to “terrify voters into voting for him.”

Those of us who believe in an inclusive, pluralistic America must resist this drive to normalize the “othering” of wide swaths of American society. And it’s up to us to rise to the challenge of winning this November so that our view of an America that extends equal opportunity to all, regardless of background, survives the recklessness of the GOP and the divisiveness of Trump.

See below for key excerpts of the analysis coming out of last night’s speech:

New York Times Editorial Board, “Donald Trump’s Campaign of Fear”: 

The dark vision of America advanced by Mr. Trump is one in which immigrants, including immigrant families, are prime sources of “violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities.” Abroad, America is a disrespected, humiliated nation…This is not only factually false, it’s a wildly distorted view of all the nation stands for.

Washington Post Editorial Board, “Donald Trump: The candidate of the apocalypse”:

…Belligerent and erratic, Mr. Trump nevertheless has a serious chance to win in November. In his acceptance speech, he sought to enhance his political prospects the only way he knows how: by inflaming public angst, so as to exploit it…Mr. Trump took real challenges and recast them in terms that were not only exaggerated but also apocalyptic.

EJ Dionne at the Washington Post, “Trump’s acceptance speech: Seeking victory by scaring the country to death”:

His [Donald Trump’s] core strategy is rooted not only in exploiting the fears of Americans but in heightening them…We are thus about to have the ugliest and most divisive presidential campaign in our history. Trump is an effective demagogue. Republicans have allowed him to take over their party. It falls to the rest of the country to resist being seduced by anger, resentment and fear.

David Brooks at the New York Times, “The Dark Knight”:

The G.O.P. used to be a party that aspired to a biblical ethic of private charity, graciousness, humility and faithfulness. Mitt Romney’s convention was lifted by stories of his kindness and personal mentorship. Trump has replaced biblical commitments with a gladiator ethos…This is less a party than a personality cult.

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, “Trump tried to be Nixon. His festival of ugly hate was far, far worse.”:

 …He [Trump] promptly launched a series of lies and distortions designed to portray a country physically falling apart, badly weakened militarily, humiliated by our international enemies, looted by corrupt elites, and under terrifying siege from crime, immigration, and terrorism. To paint that lurid, apocalyptic picture, he relied on cherry-picked and distorted statistics to create inflated or outright false impressions of skyrocketing murder rates, dark hordes surging across the border, a refugee crisis that threatens “the west” (wink, wink) and our own shores.

… Now that the true nature of Trumpism is clear, a simple victory is not enough to hope for. We need a decisive, crushing one.

Peter Suderman at Reason, “Donald Trump’s RNC Speech Was a Terrifying Display of Nightmarish Authoritarianism

…The essence of that argument is that America is unsafe and decline, and that as a result it should be cut off from the world, plunged into fear, and managed by a simple-minded strongman who ego and bluster know no limits. This was the argument that Trump made last night. It is his pitch for the presidency. And it is a lie—a fictitious, nightmarish vision that a power-hungry narcissist invented for the purpose of acquiring power for himself by being elected president. That’s the all-too-possible nightmare that should terrify us most.

Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “In this election, the stakes are clear. The contest is between a party that nominates and supports a racist demagogue, and a party that celebrates pluralism and fights for inclusion. We believe that the foundations of the American experiment – that all people are created equal and our differences are a source of strength – hang in the balance. We must rise to the challenge and turn out to vote in record numbers. We must reach out to loved ones to make sure they vote. We must be clear that voting is one part of a process of building power needed to improve lives. Let us recommit to doing everything we can—in the run up to Election Day and beyond—to fight for an America where the promise is realized for each and every one of us, regardless of the color of our skin, the place we were born, the faith that we practice, the accent we speak with and who we love. It’s on, and it’s up to us.”