Will Bunch is right. Donald Trump's America is hell. It's his fault we're here. We're in hell, and it's time to escape.
Researchers went back and looked at the counties where Trump held his 2016 campaign rallies and found those jurisdictions posted a stunning 226 percent rise in hate crimes. That paper didn’t include El Paso, which was targeted in 2019 by both the Trump campaign and a mass killer. Or Southern Ohio, where the president held a rally on Thursday. Just last week, an FBI memo said fringe conspiracy theories are becoming a domestic terrorism threat — a warning that came to life with a series of pops on Saturday morning. Now, what are we going to do about it?
“He [Trump] is a racist, and he stokes racism in this country,” said El Paso’s Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman and current 2020 presidential candidate. “It fundamentally changes the character of this country, and it leads to violence.” O’Rourke’s words were a moment of moral clarity that America so desperately needs right now. We just need a lot more.
Our intolerable state of affairs screams out for a crisis footing. We need Mitch McConnell to stop tweeting platitudinous baloney and call the Senate back from its summer recess and act on legislation that prevents gunmen from hunting human beings with weapons of warfare — a ban on military-style weapons that can kill or maim a person every second and the high-capacity magazines that feed them. If McConnell and the GOP leadership won’t hold that vote — and they won’t — then Democrats need to shut down Capitol Hill until it happens. There cannot be business as usual.
Last night, a meeting of the remarkable activists from Moms Demand Action —- the preeminent anti-gun-violence group right now — was taking place in Washington, D.C., and as news poured in from El Paso, they swarmed the White House for a candlelight (and iPhone-light) protest at White House that was powerful and profound. We should join them. All of us. People in Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, and elsewhere have taken greater risks to protest behavior that — while undeniable outrageous — arguably is nowhere near as bad as what the 45th president is perpetrating.
But the real moment of clarity as the sun rises over El Paso and Dayton is that President Trump urgently needs to resign or be impeached. Already, 120 House members have signed onto impeachment. But while the frequently cited Mueller report does lay out serious high crimes and misdemeanors, the real reason for impeachment should be Trump’s incitements to violence — which experts call stochastic terrorism — and his appeals to racism.
A president choosing to use the bully pulpit of his office to embrace racism — with the naked political goal of his own re-election — and now inspire mass murderers is the greatest abuse of American power in my lifetime, worse than the crimes of Richard Nixon’s Watergate. This is exactly why the Founders baked impeachment into the Constitution, and it’s why the 2020 election may be too long for us to wait. If things are intolerable now — and they are — take a moment to ponder how much worse things can get over the next 15 months if we continue to do nothing.
The man has a point.
A very, very good one.
Beto O'Rourke, to his credit, has an even better one.
He gets points for saying what others will not, that's for sure.