Monday, October 17, 2016
By Ann McFeatters
Tribune News Service
Despite Donald Trump’s self-destruction, malevolent misogyny and other stunning character flaws, this red state will vote for him, as will roughly 40 percent of the country.
Here, outside the sprawling Fort Hood military base, and elsewhere across this massive state, more voters dislike and distrust Hillary Clinton than admire her. And they like the idea of bringing change to Washington, no matter how turbulent that change might be. Many anxious Republicans, terrified over their party’s future, feel they have to support its nominee, even if they have to hold their noses while voting.
That said, there are cracks in the Texas GOP.
After the surfacing of a 2005 tape in which Trump talks nastily about not having to repress his sexual urges with women, the state’s lone Republican woman in Washington, Rep. Kay Granger, said Trump should be replaced.
Earlier on, The Dallas Morning News, for the first time in 75 years and 20 elections (excluding the Lyndon Johnson-Barry Goldwater duel, in which it stayed neutral), did not endorse the GOP presidential nominee, saying Trump is “hostile to conservatism” and not a real Republican.
But do those cracks matter in a state where active and retired military are prevalent and a paramount issue, understandably, is national defense?
If you’ve listened to Trump’s answers on the topic – one he says he gets asked about more than anything else, except health care – you’d think so.
After all, he has said the military is a “disaster” and must be fixed but then failed to say how. (Come to think of it, he has no specifics on any of his wild promises.)
He’s the candidate who inartfully suggested soldiers succumb to post traumatic stress disorder because they aren’t strong enough. He said this at a time the military is trying to destigmatize mental illness by reassuring veterans seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
The statement infuriated Vice President Joe Biden, whose son Beau served in Iraq and who has frequently visited soldier overseas, seeing PTSD everywhere. One young captain who was supposed to get a medal reportedly begged Biden not to give it to him because the fellow soldier the captain pulled from a burning vehicle didn’t live.
Trump also spent a week vindictively feuding with a Muslim Gold Star family whose son died fighting for America. He absurdly made it even worse in the second presidential debate by saying if he had been president at the time, their son would not have died.
Trump supported going to war in Iraq and now denies it.
He said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who fought in Vietnam, is not a hero to him because McCain was a POW and heroes don’t get captured.
Trump said he would torture suspected terrorists and kill their families. This not only is against international law but won’t work because tortured prisoners say what they think their captors want to hear, not the truth. It also would endanger American prisoners of war.
All this is to say, soldiers and veterans who admire Trump, in Texas and elsewhere, ought to think again.
In his discourteous, dismissive, disdainful behavior toward Clinton during the recent debate, Trump said a truly awful thing. He said he would put his political opponent in jail if he is president. That happens only in dictatorships.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.