Raymond Gaita writes in The Conversation (15.11.16) about the lows that the Trump campaign descended to during the US Presidential election.
‘Many people in America and elsewhere are scared of what Donald Trump will do. As I write, some are in the street protesting that he is not “their president”. Type “What did Trump say?” into Google and it will be obvious why.
‘Many of the same people are also bewildered, still incredulous that he became even the Republican candidate, let alone the president-elect. Never has a candidate in a Western democracy shown such contempt for the conventions upon which democratic accountability depends. Never has a politician seeking office insulted and threatened so many of his fellow citizens. Trump is praised for giving voice to the justifiable anger of a “forgotten” white working class, but in doing it, he encouraged contempt – even hatred – of many of their fellow citizens and reckless disregard of the kind of man he is and what he said he would do.
‘Commentators now describe him as an unconventional politician who ran an unconventional campaign. Is it merely unconventional to threaten to ban Muslim immigration? To lament the fact you cannot any more just take hecklers at a rally aside and “beat the shit out of them”? To express pleasure at the prospect of torturing suspected terrorists in ways “far worse” than waterboarding them? To lead crowds in the chant “lock her up”, when the person they are referring to is your opponent in the race for the presidency? To display such contempt for women that most prominent Republicans disowned him?
‘One could go on. To call him unconventional, or even radically unconventional, is to forget how important are the conventions, often unspoken, that enable decency in politics. He has poured a can of excrement over those conventions.’