Here’s the Real Danger of a Trump Presidency

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Aside from the possibility of declaring martial law or starting a nuclear war over a nasty tweet, Ross Douthat figures there are three “baseline dangers” from a Trump presidency:

  • Sustained market jitters
  • Major civil unrest
  • Rapid escalation of risk in every geopolitical theater

This list demonstrates why the Republican Party was unable to stop Trump during the primaries: it could never come to grips with who he really is and what he appeals to. Conservatives, even reformish conservatives like Douthat, just won’t admit that the single biggest danger posed by Trump is that he has normalized a frighteningly unashamed race-based populism. They’ve never been willing to stomach the political cost of acknowledging this.

This is why Trump’s Republican opponents launched such feeble attacks on him. They couldn’t call him out for his racism because (a) he was just being a little more explicit about it than them, (b) it risked losing the tea party base, and (c) conservatives are not supposed to admit that racism exists. So Trump slid by, and then got clobbered by a Democrat who had no such constraints.

Trump has other appeals than just race. He’s got all the usual conservative hot buttons covered—taxes, abortion, Supreme Court justices, etc.—as well as a seductive pitch to the working class about bringing back their jobs. Nonetheless, race-based (and gender-based) resentment is clearly at the core of his campaign. If the Republican Party continues along the path of open white ethnocentrism that Trump has re-energized, it will be bad for the Republican Party and quite possibly devastating for the country. That’s the biggest risk of a Trump presidency.

Plus the nuclear war thing.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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