by Mark P. Painter
In 2016 one country elected a narcistic, opportunist, bigoted, congenital liar, claiming populism but born to wealth and privilege, a cheating and mostly failed businessman, to head the party and the government. He proceeded to appoint grifters and incompetents to the cabinet, valued loyalty to himself above loyalty to the country. He lied to the country, his colleagues, courts, and then lied about the lies. He was clearly the worst and most dangerous leader the country ever had.
But his party allowed, even encouraged, his behavior. Except for a very few righteous Republicans—who were drummed out—the party became his enablers, parroting his lies and excusing his behavior. Other enablers—corrupt media—also spread the lies as fact, duping many people.
His party even had a chance to remove him, twice, to stop the harm. But they still abetted his designs. The whole party was trapped by the Orwellian Big Lies they helped spread.
Even after he was defeated by a vote of the people, most party members backed his lies. In effect, they sanctioned his efforts to cling to power by subverting democracy. When he attempted to stage a coup—a rejection of democracy itself—those who could act stayed silent. Yes, a few criticized the leader for sedition—but they quickly backtracked and again swore fealty to an aspiring tyrant.
Now this country stands in danger of another coup attempt. The danger is real—we are just now seeing the full and awful truth of January 6. And the leader, far from being disgraced, stands tall in his party still—and remains a threat to our very democracy.
In 2019 another country, albeit through a different but democratic system, elected a narcistic, bigoted, congenital liar, claiming populism but born to wealth and privilege, to head the party and the government. He proceeded to appoint grifters and incompetents to the cabinet, valued loyalty to himself above loyalty to the country. He lied to everyone about everything. He broke laws and rules that he himself had enacted.
Some in his party criticized him. But not nearly enough. But he went too far—he lied to the legislature and was caught. About a month after that, leaders of his own party denounced him. They went to him and told him he must resign. And he did. He is now disgraced and no longer a danger to his country or the world.
In three years, Great Britain ridded itself of a cancer. In the United States, we still have ours after six.
Mark P. Painter served as a judge for 30 years. He is the author of six books including “Write Well” and “The Legal Writer.”