Even many Republicans have called Trump names like Mussolini. But the thing is, it’s not entirely clear that Trump is some kind of mob fascist. It’s without doubt that many of his followers want him to be, but other than a guy who will say anything, it’s hard to know what Trump will do, exactly, precisely since he is constantly changing what he says. Muslim ban? It was a suggestion! He’s flip flopped on climate change, on the Clintons, on being a Republican, and, since the beginning of the campaign on wars, abortion, and all kinds of other issues. We just don’t know what he would actually do. This isn’t to apologize for what he’s said—it’s actually disgusting how cynically he is manipulating his voters.
Would he be tightly handled by Republican elder statesmen? It doesn’t seem like that’s even possible at this point. Is that a risk we want to take?
The real decision in this election isn’t between some kind of Clintonian Third-way centrism and neo-fascism. It’s, quite frankly, between someone who knows what she’s doing and someone who doesn’t. At the end of the day the Hillary Clinton administration is likely to have as many compromises in it as the Bill Clinton administration for the simple fact that there is likely to be a Republican Congress—at least a Republican House. Bernie Sanders couldn’t have made that much different either. In fact, it’s quite possible that on some issues, Trump is to the left of Hillary. At least as it’s currently defined, Trump does appear to be to her left on trade.
For those too young to know, it was never Bush’s right-wing governing that brought him down. He won re-election after appointing right-wing judges, cutting taxes on the wealthy, and launching a war of choice. It was when his administration’s incompetence after Hurricane Katrina was exposed that he really began to fall down.
Now imagine that literally everything the executive branch touches becomes a Katrina. That’s a Trump presidency for you. And the damage to our credibility as a nation will be worse than any errant right-wing policy.
So while Lindsey Graham is right to say that there will come a point where love of country must trump hatred of Hillary—for Republicans—there will come a point for independents and Democrats where love of left wing policies will have to be trumped by love of country and we’re going to have to accept less than perfect policy outcomes to avoid a total disaster.
What do I mean by this? I mean I think it would be irresponsible for the party to try too hard to shoot the moon on control of Congress this year if there is any doubt at all about the presidential race. If every poll shows Hillary up by double digits, that’s one thing. But if it’s anything like the last 4 elections, then we need to—as Obama said—run scared.