Donald Trump is a clever manipulator. He understands that many Americans are angry about their powerlessness, their diminished economic opportunities, and the tsunami of social and technological change. He clearly understood that appealing to and stoking that anger by blaming immigrants, Muslims, the media and the “Democratic mob” could build a mandate for his “leadership.”

He has never offered any rational approaches to address issues such as education, broadening of economic opportunity, health care, or environmental sustainability — all issues that affect his base of supporters as well as most of the electorate. He has just offered various enemies to hate. His political rallies have besmirched the core values embodied in our political system. He has applauded violence against the media and others who criticize his actions. His language, behavior and tone have enabled political violence both here and abroad.

While law enforcement has alleged perpetrators — the synagogue assassin and the pipe bomber — in custody, Trump remains free and able to foment more hatred. There are as yet no consequences to him for his manipulation of voters’ darkest impulses.

It appears to me that the only immediately available justice for Trump’s behavior would be the defeat of all of his party members running for House and Senate seats in the midterm election. I sincerely hope that voters, repulsed by the violence enabled by the president, will eliminate the current congressional members who have failed to control or, in some cases, even criticize their party leader. Pipe bombs for prominent administration critics, anti-Semetic murders — these should be be warnings that motivate people to vote for a different government.

We need a Congress that is willing and able to focus on real problems and prevent the president from manipulating hatred to sustain his control of the executive branch.

Thomas Adelman


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