Taylor de Lench/Globe Staff
Hundreds of readers have written letters to the editor in response to Sunday’s mock front page in the Ideas section, which imagined what the United States might look like under a Donald Trump presidency. The following is an edited sample:
Finally, an answer to the absurdity of Trump’s positions
I commend John W. Henry as publisher and the editorial page staff at the Globe for putting forth a bold and direct critique of Donald Trump as potential president of the United States. Anyone who objects to the ironic view presented in Sunday’s mock front page should remember that editorialists and columnists often write in a satiric style, and that much of the page took off from Trump’s own statements of record. The implications expressed, such as the likelihood of trade wars as a result of unnegotiated, hostile trade barriers, follow from logic and from experience with the nations that would be negatively affected.
I am relieved to see members of the free press finally speaking up to counter the absurdity of Trump’s positions. Trump is right about the disaffection and sense of disempowerment that many Americans feel. He is not right about how our American democratic principles and rule of law operate.
He appears not to know, or care, how the roles of Congress, the executive branch, and the judiciary are spelled out in the Constitution and in our laws. As imperfect as they may seem at times, the fact is they have guided us, and it has been the practice of the people and the elected officials to guard and preserve these institutions for more than 200 years.
When he railed against the Globe’s portrayal of a Trump presidency, he said “it’s a make-believe story,” as is “the whole paper.” The implication is that the newspaper in general does not use facts. Trump is free to use name-calling, scapegoating, complaining, and fanciful promises as his form of communication. But that does not make what he says true or real. The absence of facts at his disposal gives the lie to what he claims.
Globe stoops to skewer Trump
I’ve been a Globe subscriber for decades. I tend to lean right, and sometimes I have difficulty with the liberal slant, but I still consider the Globe a world-class newspaper, far superior to other offerings in New England.
I was shocked to see the mock front page in the Sunday Globe imagining life under a Donald Trump presidency. I would expect something like this from a college newspaper or a tabloid, but The Boston Globe? I am not a Trump supporter, and I would feel the same if any other candidate had been targeted in this way.
Perhaps you thought this was cute or, even worse, informative. I see it as sophomoric and am embarrassed that my newspaper would stoop to this level.
I’m disappointed to see you acting like a shock tabloid instead of a serious news institution. If that’s what you want, think about some other political headlines.
For Bernie Sanders: “Fed government takes over GE.”
For Hillary Clinton: “Clinton Foundation raises $1b in first month of new administration.”
For Ted Cruz: “Christianity the official religion of the USA.”
Mock front page is a serious wakeup call
Thank you and your entire editorial page staff — really, the entire organization — for Sunday’s mock front page of the Globe. As you indicate, taking a candidate’s rhetoric and positions to their logical conclusions is exactly what we should do when we consider for whom we’ll cast our votes. I submit that the Republican establishment has failed to do this for years, and I join you in the fervent hope that they will do so after this election cycle concludes.
In the meantime, your front page forces us to confront ourselves and the harsh realities of who we are and who we will become as a whole nation if we don’t stand against the various forms of hatred that Donald Trump espouses and embodies.
THANK YOU for Sunday’s “Stop Trump” mock newspaper. It’s so concerning to see voting decisions being made on such high emotions that the realities of a possible Trump presidency seem to get lost. It’s about time his dramatic boasts and threats are played out. I hope this serves to open eyes to the disastrous effects a Trump presidency would have on our country and the world. I hope it causes voters, unlike this presidential candidate, to use good judgment.
Portrayal of extreme positions could dull us to dangers in middle ground
As welcome as it might seem as an exercise in provoking conversation about one year hence with a President Trump, the faux front page in Sunday’s Ideas section does a disservice to truly understanding the choice we face.
There is no way that any of the stories you presented could come to pass. However, the more vivid the picture of what “could” happen, the more the pump is primed for what would happen. Donald Trump or his principal rival, Ted Cruz, will pull back their most extreme positions. But by then, the still-serious abridgement of the Constitution that they wish for will seem “reasonable” and a point on which to compromise.
Prosecuting physicians for performing abortions will seem reasonable after pulling back on arresting women who seek them. Stepped up powers for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement will seem like a compromise for not building a bigger wall. John Bolton will seem like a rational choice for secretary of state compared with people like Sarah Palin. And after all, water boarding is obviously more humane than subjecting someone to the rack.
Becoming acclimated to outrageous possibilities unfortunately blinds us to the real dangers in the more likely middle. The benefit of this kind of editorial event in the Globe may not outweigh the damage of moving the curve further to the right.
Obama has presided over the kind of sins you fear from Trump
I write to comment on the dire prophesy over what might happen if Donald Trump is elected president, as imagined in your April 10 Ideas section.
You presented the headline “Deportations to begin” across a faux front page reflecting how the first few months of a Trump presidency might look. In fact, deportations are already underway, and President Obama has the dubious distinction of deporting more people than were deported under the administration of George W. Bush.
In addition, US drones have killed many families in multiple nations — at wedding parties and funeral gatherings — and just a few days ago a tribal elder on his way to resolve a land dispute in Afghanistan reportedly was killed by a drone. As people came out to collect bodies, two additional drone passes were made that killed first responders.
These events are already happening, but have been ignored by the media.
There are certainly things to be concerned about in regard to Trump — in particular, his affinity for hate speech, which can be used to incite violence against those who are considered “other.”
However, it is dishonest to portray him as committing sins that were chosen for the Sunday Ideas section — deportations and killings of families — when these terrible acts have been taking place with little public outcry for some years.
Two-party system is stifling voice of the people
I disagree with the April 10 editorial, which states that it’s the responsibility of the Republican Party to stop Donald Trump (“GOP must stop Trump”). On the contrary, it’s the party’s responsibility to represent the will of the people.
This isn’t China. The United States doesn’t have party rule. This year, it’s possible that both the Democratic and Republican nominees will be chosen by party elites because, as the Globe editorial states, “the rules are the rules.”
The nominees should be chosen by the people, and not by unelected superdelegates or insider manipulation at a brokered convention. The real problem is that the two-party system is obsolete. More parties are needed to represent the new American diversity and to break the legislative deadlock that is strangling our country.
You can’t just discount the choices of GOP primary voters
To suggest, in the editorial “GOP must stop Trump,” that the choice of about 40 percent of the Republican primary electorate — Donald Trump — should be discounted, is one thing. To go on in the final paragraph and say that the choices of as many as 75 percent of these voters — Trump and Ted Cruz — should be set aside is breathtakingly elitist, and undermines everything that went before.
Adopt a system where a high disapproval rating would be a deal-breaker
“Stop Trump” is the wrong theme; it will be inevitably seen as thwarting voters (“The GOP must stop Trump”). A better theme is the more general one of stopping a candidate with high disapproval from winning a presidential nomination. For 2016, the only way to do that is a contested convention, but looking beyond that, we need a system that prevents a disapproved candidate from being the front-runner in the first place.
The reform of using “approval voting” would accomplish this. Instead of voting for one top choice from as many as 17 candidates, you vote for all candidates that you approve. A candidate such as Trump, with a low ceiling on approval, wouldn’t do well.
Our Founders designed an indirect way of electing a president. We’ve moved to a more direct system of voting, but it has a major problem. We need to fix this problem by using approval voting in presidential primaries.
Media kept Trump campaign aloft
Kudos on your satirical front page for April 9, 2017. We most heartily agree. But nowhere do we see any acknowledgement of the part that the media in general have played in Donald Trump’s rise. With so many outlets having given him what seems like 90 percent of the coverage, without his paying a dime for a political ad, the media have hugely helped the development of his campaign. How he got past his comments about Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina is beyond us.
Thank you to the Globe for the brilliant realization of Donald Trump’s America one short year from now. His presidency is a terrifying prospect. Republicans have much soul-searching to do, but let’s not forget the contribution of some media outlets to Trump’s success. CNN, among others, has become TNN — Trump News Network, providing excessive Trump coverage while practically ignoring rational candidates such as Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Shame on them for giving voice to this dangerous man and putting ratings ahead of the country.
Where’s the satirical treatment for the Obama years?
I read your satirical edition blasting Donald Trump. I’m fine with it, but I also think it is a great illustration of the lack of balance by the liberal press. Where was your satirical piece on Barack Obama “fundamentally changing America”? How about one of the following headlines: “America downgrades the military and chooses to lead from behind while the Middle East burns” or “Free speech under attack as Obama administration jails climate change deniers” or “America now run by bureaucrats and executive order.”
I realize the editorial page department wrote the satire. Your paper would be a lot more valuable if it had more conservative voices on staff.
Looking for a little more from the crystal ball
While you were predicting the future for April 9, 2017, regarding the Trump presidency, at least you could have given us the winning lottery numbers for that day. Ridiculous!
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