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Photo courtesy of Senator Sanders' office
Photo courtesy of Senator Sanders' office

BY STATE SENATOR JAMES SANDERS, JR.

When Barack Obama was President, Republicans made many claims about his alleged unfitness to hold office. We heard, on cable news and on the street that he just wasn’t dignified and distinguished in the way we expect a President to be. Mistakes and missteps were always interpreted as disasters. Benghazi was not just an error but also the worst thing to happen in American history. President Obama was racially inflammatory for expressing sympathy towards Trayvon Martin. He also referred to as “a liar” during his own State of the Union Address. There are dozens of examples like these.

Many Americans said such things about Obama, but hold their tongue at the clear evidence we now have of Donald Trump Jr.’s alleged collaboration with Russia during the presidential campaign. How can that be? The question has many plain answers. Those who say there is a touch of racial bias involved probably are not far off. I believe, though, there is a more important factor at work.

Consider this: Donald Trump is a billionaire from New York, who ran on a platform of taking down the coastal elites. He is the messiah of domestic manufacturing, who has his clothing line made in China. He is the twice-divorced accused casual sexual assaulter with no religious conviction, who will uphold family values and Christian morals. From the very beginning, his supporters have tolerated contradictions in Trump. Now, he is the pillar of American independence, whose campaign worked with a hostile foreign power.

It takes more than mere political, or even racial, bias, to overlook contradictions like these. It takes a common enemy so evil and dangerous that contradictions become tolerable. For middle America, that enemy is the college-educated liberal elitist, living in a city like New York or LA, who doesn’t care about them.

Look at how Trump’s supporters came to Donald Jr.’s defense when he released emails clearly showing his intent to collaborate with the Russian government. It became a great victory over the liberal media! He one-upped them by beating them to the revelation, nevermind what he actually did. To these folk, honesty and integrity are not what matters – beating the liberal media is what matters.

When a politician’s supporters care so deeply about defeating a shared enemy, they are less likely to hold their leaders accountable.  An unaccountable leader, especially an unwise one, will soon become irresponsible. With irresponsible leaders in power even Democracy itself starts to look less certain. What began as a discrete failure of justice evolves into something much more sinister.

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