Op-ed: When Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton the devil and threatened to jail her it was not the first time I had heard such talk, though not in recent years and in America.
It reminded me of political contests in the Third World, and often the incumbent made good threats to jail opponents.
Sometimes they were never seen again.
This was over the top even for a potty mouth. We don’t threaten opponents on debate stages.
"If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your (missing email) situation," Trump said, "because there has never been so many lies, so much deception."
Trump's threat -- which he has made before on the campaign trail -- is extraordinary even by the standard of the vitriolic 2016 campaign.
Clinton responded first by calling Trump's comments about her emails false, then said, "It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country."
Trump, as if continuing her sentence, added: "Because you'd be in jail."
It was very Nixonian, said former Attorney General Eric Holder, a Democrat. He recalled Nixon’s attorney general quit when ordered to fire the Watergate special prosecutor.
But Republicans were shocked as well.
“Former White House said, "Winning candidates don't threaten to put opponents in jail," he tweeted. "Presidents don't threaten prosecution of individuals. Trump is wrong on this."
There was a certain irony as Trump stalked Hillary on the stage, to use the verb chosen by several pundits, to talk about jailing her.
He is the one facing trial three weeks after the election for running a phoney university. And he will face trial in more than one state for ripping off students. Trump’s Foundation has been ordered to cease and desist taking donations because it is not registered.
In our living room, and many others from what I heard on several stations, people wondered why the taller Trump kept creeping up behind Clinton when it was her turn to speak. It seemed like something from a Frankenstein movie.
In the past such bizarre behavior has worked for Trump. Appparently not Sunday night.
Nearly as scary as the jail threat was his total lack of knowledge of Russia’s role in Syria. It reminded some viewers of Libertarian Gary Johnson’s comment “What is Aleppo.”
The two polls taken right after the event showed Hillary the winner.
Before the debate many Republicans had abandoned him, others said they would look for a strong performance to get him back in the race as his poll numbers tumble.
While Hillary and Bill were being hammered again for emails, little was being said about the Republican lawyer who turned their lives to hell.
Former special prosecutor Ken Starr, who subjected Bill Clinton to attacks Richard Nixon never faced, was in the news.
This was a man who had defended the tobacco industry and was tight with Republican groups.
Starr was never able to convict Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinski case or others, despite years of investigation. He could only make Clinton look bad.
But Starr lost the presidency of Baylor University.
Deadspin’s headline said: “Ken Star Faceplants When Confronted With Email Showing He Was Told About Rape At Baylor.”
Nothing is more important than football at the Texas University.
Let’s go back to the Clintons, and what created the unfavorable view many Americans have of them.
Here is what the New York Times had to say:
“By the time of Bill Clinton’s presidency, the dependably Republican Mr. Starr had built a prestigious career as an attorney, appellate judge and solicitor general under President George H. W. Bush. Then, in 1994, a congressional committee made Mr. Starr a special prosecutor to investigate the Clintons’ involvement in the Whitewater real estate venture and, juicier, the death of deputy White House counsel Vince Foster, a Clinton confidant.
Mr. Starr aspired higher and wanted to go deeper. Soon, his brief had expanded to investigating the sex life of a young woman named Monica Lewinsky. Relying on covert recordings of her confessions, Mr. Starr’s report read at times like a steamy romance novel: “She unbuttoned her jacket; either she unhooked her bra or he lifted her bra up; and he touched her breasts with his hands and mouth …”
Alternet reported: “The righteous moralist who spearheaded the impeachment of Bill Clinton has ignored sexual assaults on his own campus.”
It added: “Not to put too fine of a point on it, but Ken Starr is accused of ignoring sexual violence at Baylor University mostly because doing something about it would have jeopardized a cash cow. In his near six years as president of the school, Starr led an administration that law firm Pepper Hamilton concluded “as a whole failed” on every front to adequately address or attempt to investigate sexual assaults carried out by student athletes. Last week, the school’s Board of Regents issued a statement that it was “shocked and outraged” by the gross “mishandling of [sexual abuse] reports,” and announced it was firing head football coach Art Briles, sanctioning and placing on probation athletic director Ian McCaw and demoting Starr from president to chancellor. Days later, Starr announced he was stepping down from that role, but would continue to teach law at the institution.”
In other words, though he accepted responsibility for rapes committed by athletes, he would keep his law professor job.
Why are there no panels of pundits ripping him apart like they did when Bill Clinton had a brief chat with Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch?
Op Ed: I still vividly recall being harassed by fellow college seniors for volunteering to work for Bobby Kennedy. They strongly supported Eugene McCarthy because he confronted President Lyndon Johnson months before RFK.
What is happening today, at least in my eyes, is similar to 1968.
McCarthy’s troops, led by students, hated Bobby for waiting so long. The fact that politicians would hate him for challenging LBJ did not matter to these students.
To a certain degree Hillary Clinton is in a similar fix.
And so is the country.
If Sanders’ cadres drop her it could elect Donald Trump.
In 1968, after Bobby was killed, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Hubert Humphrey. Richard Nixon was elected. No more need be said.
So should Bernie back off, or even consider running as Hillary’s vice president? That is what it looks like to me.
The Daily Beast suggested Sanders is not a candidate suited for minorities because he does not understand them. It’s not just about poverty. Some minorities are middle class are doing even better. But they face constant insults and in some cases, are targets for police.
This raises the philosophical question an individual can only answer for herself or himself.
Should I vote for the lesser of all the evils or not vote and take what happens. At least then the voter can not be blamed. Or can he/she?
Then there is the question of whether citizens should abandon the ballot box or if that is a sort of treason.
It is unreasonable to say this is not the same issue because we do not have 500,000 mostly drafted soldiers in Vietnam.
Trump and most of the leading Republicans are ready to carpetbomb the Middle East and any other area they fear.
More bombs were dropped on Laos alone than the U.S. dumped in World War 2.
Though it is not being mentioned much, if at all, by the mainstream media the declining living standards may not be the only thing angering people.
Some of these people willing to ignore outrageous statements by Trump may be so angry because they are upset with court decisions allowing gays to marry and continuing to allow women to have abortions and many other issues that are not being decided the way they would prefer.
2016 US election news and other news from the USA
Worked in journalism, including on the Internet, for more than 40 years. Started as a news editor at the Colorado Daily at the University of Colorado, joined a small Montana newspaper, the Helena Independent-Record, and then United Press International.