The dangerous delegitimizing of the American presidency

Trump has been widely denounced as a bully, a blowhard, and a bigot, but none of those are automatic disqualifiers for the White House — and in fact, some Trump supporters see them as selling points. Charges of fascism, however, are more serious. As divided as America is in 2016, pretty much everyone agrees that Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Francisco Franco were terrible leaders and/or straight-up evil.

The Trump campaign has dabbled in playing the Hitler card against opponents, accusing the Cruz team of using “Gestapo tactics” to win delegates, but more frequently, it’s Trump on the receiving end. On Sunday, for example, conservative billionaire Charles Koch told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl that Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. is “reminiscent of Nazi Germany.”

While Trump is being painted as a proto-fascist, Clinton is taking fire from all sides. As Clinton herself not infrequently points out, she has faced searing attacks from Republicans for some 25 years. And among Democrats, Clinton has been criticized for voting to authorize the 2003 war in Iraq since about the day she cast that vote in 2002. That vote likely cost her the nomination to Obama in 2008, and Sanders recently used it (along with her acceptance of help from super PACs and her paid speaking engagements to Wall Street banks) as one of his arguments for why she is unqualified to be president in 2016.

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