Former legislator Stanford Adelstein is trying to be his party’s voice of conscience against the fascism of Donald J. Trump. The Rapid City Republican has aptly compared Trump to the racist, totalitarian President Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip of Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. (Adelstein, only the third Jewish man elected to South Dakota’s Legislature and one of five total*, maintains that America has resisted any such decline to fascism thanks to its “two-hundred-year commitment to… almost universal pluralistic support of differing religions, races, and ethnic groups,” which pluralism I cited as the fundamental American value in my July 4 essay.)
Now Adelstein hears Trump praise Saddam Hussein for killing terrorists (a false claim that ignores Hussein’s pragmatic nurturing of terrorist groups who attacked his opponents and his willingness to deem any dissidents “terrorists” and crush them with brutal tactics). Adelstein recalls Trump’s explicit belittling of Hussein’s use of chemical weapons against the Kurds (“Saddam Hussein throws a little gas. Everyone goes crazy. ‘Oh, he’s using gas!’“).
And Adelstein concludes that the only honorable path for Governor Dennis Daugaard and the delegates he leads to the Republican National Convention in two weeks is to refuse to nominate Trump:
This is the candidate of my party?, of the party of Lincoln?, of the party that sent this now grown up jewish boy of 12—but spared from gas—to the Capitol of South Dakota to help make laws??????????????
If a single delegate from South Dakota refuses to abstain from voting for this monster, that person is has not the values of our great people, and they should be shunned when they return the return to the home of Mount Rushmore. Our Governor the delegation chairman, who spent his life saving children of eleven or twelve, should refuse to answer when Paul Ryan calls the words of this wonderful, magnificent, magic place SOUTH DAKOTA [link mine; Stanford Adelstein, Facebook post, 2016.07.06].
I agree with Adelstein that It Can’t Happen Here. But the American values that keep It from happening depend on each of us actively standing up for those principles against aspiring tyrants. Governor Daugaard, the former Senator from Rapid City makes your duty clear. Do it.
Related Reading: The Daily Wire reports that the effort to unbind the GOP delegates proceeds apace.
*Correction 12:18 CDT: A commenter below reminds me that two more Jewish men, Marc Feinstein and Dan Lederman, won seats in the Legislature after Adelstein, bringing the historical total to five.