Editorial: America Is About To Enter The Most Dangerous Period In Its History

The Lincoln Memorial.National Park Service / Public Domain

"An American Nero is on the throne. He would set fire to his Rome before relinquishing power."

In the weeks preceding Tuesday’s midterm elections, President Donald Trump showed he is willing to pull out all the stops in order to spare himself the humiliation of losing — stoke racism and fears over immigration; tell lie after obvious lie; insult and smear his opponents; employ any means he deems necessary to avoid the pain of being branded a loser.

But as bad as all of that seems, The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen believes the worst is yet to come.

> America is about to enter the most dangerous period in its 242-year-old history. Soon we will know if the House of Representatives has been captured by a justifiably vengeful Democratic Party, seeking to block Trump at every turn, and possibly impeach him. The President will fight back, not recognizing any distinction between his political survival and that of the nation.

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> Just look at what Trump has recently done in an attempt to retain GOP control of Congress. He abused his power as commander in chief by sending troops to the Mexican border. He concocted a threat to national security by falsely characterizing a march of several thousand desperate Central Americans — many of them women and children — as an “invasion” of criminals and, in the words of his sycophants at Fox News, carriers of diseases not seen since the Black Death of the Middle Ages.

What might a cornered Trump do? If the Democrat-controlled House blocks his more outrageous initiatives and launches investigations, Cohen says there is no telling what the president might do.

> Neither precedence nor propriety will contain him. Unless the Democrats win big and thereby send a cautionary message to the GOP, Senate Republicans — more interested in their own political survival than that of the nation — will continue to constitute the Coward’s Caucus.

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> How will Trump react if cornered? Certainly not in a mature, statesman-like fashion. More likely, he will be on a permanent rolling boil. He will obsess about impeachment and about being defeated for a second term. He would then go down as a one-term President, becoming the one thing he cannot abide: a loser. He will do anything to avoid that outcome.

And he will continue replacing aides who oppose his agenda: “Yes Men are on the way,” Cohen writes.

> An American Nero is on the throne. He would set fire to his Rome before relinquishing power. The Republican Party is inhabited by the spirit of Know-Nothingism. It has not merely lost its traditional base; it has lost its mind. A dangerous period is approaching and only a new leader can save us. He or she is already here. Look in the mirror — and vote.

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