These two relatively mild modifiers are enough to completely disqualify Trump

A lot of them may RUN from him, but too few stand up to be counted.

A lot of them may have RUN from him, but too few stood up to be counted.

Some of you have expressed the opinion that I’ve just gone overboard in describing the unique threat to our country that is Donald Trump.

I entirely disagree. The one thing that, for me, would make a Trump victory even worse would be if I were kicking myself tomorrow, thinking, If only I’d tried harder, maybe I could have persuaded one or two people…

What’s that sports expression? I don’t want this to end with me thinking I’d left anything on the field. Or that, wait… that I hadn’t left it all on the field. Whatever. Something like that.

Besides, there are so many things to be said about the worst man ever to capture a major-party endorsement for POTUS. And the fact that anyone would consider voting for him a good idea is so stunning that at the very least, I must give vent to my amazement. (Today, I read yet another piece purporting to explain why people would support him, and sorry — it doesn’t get the job done. It still doesn’t add up.)

But let’s say, as Jerry Brown used to say, that less is more. Let’s say a minimalist approach would have persuaded more of my interlocutors — or, at least some.

I think I got a glimpse of how to do that last week, while reading a Washington Post editorial headlined, “History will remember which Republicans failed the Trump test.” (Which it will.)

Since the many things that are wrong with Trump were not the subject of the piece, his disqualifying qualities were dealt with merely in passing, very quickly. An excerpt from the piece:

WHEN THE republic was in danger, where did you stand? History will ask that question of Republican leaders who knew that Donald Trump was unfit to be commander in chief.

Some said so, despite possible political risks. Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former high-ranking officials such as Brent Scowcroft, Colin L. Powell, Henry M. Paulson Jr., Michael V. Hayden and Robert M. Gates did their best to help Americans understand the risk of electing an ignorant, thin-skinned man with no relevant experience. Scores of respected former ambassadors and assistant secretaries also spoke out. Meanwhile, other senior statesmen were quiet; George P. Shultz and Henry A. Kissinger, for example, said only that they would endorse neither candidate. Their voices could have made — could still make — a difference. So could the voices of former presidents: Though there have been hints that former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush support Hillary Clinton, they have not taken the public stand their nation needs….

Did you notice it? The Post‘s editorial board dealt adequately with Trump using only two, relatively mild, modifiers: “ignorant,” and “thin-skinned.” (They also said he had “no relevant experience,” but that was hardly necessary. That’s just one reason why he is so ignorant.)

Only one thing is missing, really, to completely persuade any reasonable, informed person that there is NO WAY this man could be considered for this job, even for a second: The fact that he is not merely ignorant; he is unwilling to learn. (He’s not like these guys.) Which, of course, is the worst, most damning, and permanent sort of ignorance. This man actually thinks he knows everything he needs to know. He’s utterly convinced of it.

That, in and of itself, completely disqualifies him. Maybe, under desperate circumstances, we could deal with a guy who could learn on the job, but not someone who refuses to.

The “thin-skinned part” takes him from merely grossly unqualified to being dangerous. This is a man who stops everything when he believes he has been disrespected — which is, of course, a lot of the time (and, in his defense, he’s not always imagining it). There is no issue so important that it cannot be dropped while he goes on the attack against the offender. Getting even is, for him at such times, the number-one priority in his universe.

You just don’t hand the awesome, historically unprecedented power of this job — which includes (and while it gets tiresome with repetition, one feels obliged to mention this until people actually listen) the ability to destroy most life on the planet in a matter of minutes — to someone who considers his own personal grudges so pathetically important. Even if he doesn’t decide to nuke somebody because they made a comment about his hands (I actually think the chances of his doing so are slim, although not quite “none”), the fact is that for a time, he wouldn’t be able to think about anything else. We’ve seen it. And that’s bad enough.

Yes, there are many, many other things that can be said against this man — the racism, the xenophobia, the lifelong habit of treating women like dirt. Other stuff.

But to a reasonable, thoughtful person who takes voting seriously, “ignorant” and “thin-skinned” should be more than enough…

23 thoughts on “These two relatively mild modifiers are enough to completely disqualify Trump

  1. Doug Ross

    On the remote chance that Trump does win, how many seconds do you think it will take for Lindsey to start walking back all his previous statements. Can you imagine what it would be like for him to be persona non grata in his own party and with the President?

    “Mr. President, Lindsey Graham is on line 1. Said something about you being awesome… “

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I doubt that.

      Of course, Lindsey usually reaches out to whoever wins, wanting to work together. It’s his way. He and McCain both did that after Obama won in 2008.

      And, contrary to what you suggest, that’s actually a good thing.

      But this time, I don’t see how.

      Of course, if Trump wins, we’ll all have to think, OK, how are we as a country going to deal with the next four years? And putting our hands over our ears and making noises like a siren won’t help anybody…

      1. Doug Ross

        If Trump wins, he won’t need to work together with Lindsey at all. Lindsey will be working FOR Trump. He’d have ZERO power.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author


          See, that’s what Trump thinks being president is. He thinks it means he’s the boss, like at one of his casinos. He doesn’t get the co-equal role of Congress, or the Courts… or so many other things…

  2. bud

    Brad, we’ve had some serious disagreements over the years but on this we agree. I’ve never been this nervous about an election. Trump is genuinely terrifying. Not sure why folks can’t see it. He’s just not a normal human being.

    1. Scout

      I’ve had conversations with people about it. For some I’ve talked to, they do acknowledge his extreme unsavoriness, but somehow the supreme court is important enough to them to take the risk. Also they buy into the Hillary hate, which I just don’t get either. Then there are others who I have no understanding of how/why they can support this man. They don’t acknowledge anything I have to say, and they are not hesitant or apologetic about their support, like the supreme court crowd who at least admit reservations but still somehow inexplicably think Hillary is worse.

      He seems like evil incarnate to me. I feel like screaming to people with the spiritual gift of discernment to hurry up and get to discerning. But I have said more than I ever usually do, and still people are not discerning.

      What is terribly ironic to me is that these supreme court Trump voters profess to be terribly Christian. And I don’t mean to doubt their faith; I believe they genuinely are. But from my perspective as a Christian, I don’t see how his position on that one issue could ever outweigh all the other ways that he really really really does not represent Christian values. Especially when on the other side, you have a person who has dedicated their life to working for women’s and children’s issues. Whatever else people say about her, that part is a fact. And ought to be relevant if you claim a biblical perspective is important to you, since taking care of widows and orphans is kind of an important part of the Bible.

      So I don’t get it.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        And… even on abortion, her position (on her good days) is a Christian position — just not the Christian position that makes sense to me.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the United Methodist position is that abortion is a thing to be avoided, and should be as rare as possible, but when push comes to shove, pro-choice.

        And on her GOOD days, that’s where Hillary is — willing to work with us pro-lifers to make abortion more rare.

        On other days, of course, she’s busy playing to the “never-saw-a-bad-abortion-yay-Planned-Parenthood” wing of her party, so her Methodist position isn’t as much in evidence.

        Here’s what gets me: I can’t believe ANYBODY trusts Donald Trump to nominate people to the United States Supreme Court. He is so obviously a man who has no knowledge of, or respect for, our Constitution and the roles that the three branches play — or rule of law, for that matter.

        Of course, as you know, I’m not looking for anyone to apply any sort of litmus test — including pro-life ones — to judicial nominations. I see that as deeply wrong. Of course, a lot of pro-life folks see that as rather cold and bloodless of me, putting a political science abstraction ahead of the lives of the unborn. But they don’t see what I see — that if we don’t respect the court, and the process of choosing people for it, there’s no hope for any of us…

      1. Doug Ross

        Using your map, I’ll put NH and FL in Trump’s column. 290 Hillary, 248 Trump. Romney got 206, McCain 173. If he beats Romney, he can’t be considered a LOSER, just a loser.

        Republicans will control House and Senate without much trouble but it will get closer.

        You should be collecting on our bet soon.

      2. Mark Stewart

        Bryan gives Hillary a higher projected count than I did. That was unexpected!

        BTW Doug, Bill Weld encouraged libertarians in swing states to vote for Hillary this morning. Of course, there may be more of those than usual this year…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Wow. I just saw what Weld said a couple of days ago. From The Washington Post:

          Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is “totally unfit to be president of the United States,” Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

          Democrat Hillary Clinton, by contrast, is a “perfectly reputable, professional, responsible candidate for president of the United States,” he said.

          Weld urged support for his ticket, headed by Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, but added: “I do see a big difference between the two other candidates, Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton.”…

          Don’t tell Doug I said this, but that Bill Weld is an American hero. Rather than say what might be advantageous to his own hopeless ticket, he stated the plain truth.

          People are acting like he’s a lunatic, but why can’t everybody be like that?

          1. Mark Stewart

            Well, he is sort of – he joined the Libertarian ticket. But he is a clear-eyed Republican. And a politician of integrity. There are few of those out there, as Doug always points out.

      3. Brad Warthen Post author

        Nice prediction.

        When I did it, I couldn’t get her nearly that high. I had to push my own credulity to get her to 270. You know me — cautious.

        Now, send up some light hawsers to the masthead so it will be safe to put up more sail…

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