Is the First Amendment safe from Donald Trump?

cnn trumpI write this as someone who was willing to vote for Trump. This gives me great pause….

Donald Trump has said a lot of strange things — some funny, some creepy, but none scarier than what he said on Friday: that if he is elected president, he will "open up our libel laws" to make it easier to sue the media and "win lots of money." No matter what you may think about his other policy ideas, if he keeps this promise, we won't be able to effectively express dissent against anything else he might want to do. We can fight any bad policy if we have a robust First Amendment.

Read the rest on CNN.

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Comments

  1. Patrick says

    Betchya five bucks Chris Christie is his AG in waiting. Christie ran his whole campaign on the basis of enacting an authoritarian legal crackdown on people who flaunt the power of the federal government. He's perfect for the job.

  2. david says

    The more Trumpmania continues, the more I am reminded of Stephen King's The Dead Zone . . . and the analogy of the tiger in a man suit . . . be very wary, my American friends

  3. MoebiusStreet says

    What's scarier: his disregard for the 1st Amendment, or his complete failure to understand the role of the President and how laws are made in America?

  4. Tom in San Diego says

    Sure it's safe – and the press should be held to an easier to an easier to prove standard for negligently publishing defamations. Now they can precklessly publish anything they please for just the sake of ratings/selling papers etc.

  5. [INSERTWITTYNAME] says

    @MobiousStreet

    How about the large part of the electorate that is fine with thinking that democracy means "my ignorance is as just as good as your knowledge".

  6. Dan Weber says

    Trump's policies are completely incoherent, except for the ones that involve getting money. If he's saying "you will be able to sue and get money," it's one he actually means.

  7. says

    I write this as someone who was willing to vote for Trump.

    His long history of threatening frivolous lawsuits wasn't a dealbreaker for you?

  8. says

    I wonder if some of the talk show hosts who have been cheering Trump on (eg Howie Carr, WRKO, Boston) might persuade him to make an unprecedented public reversal, out of their own professional self-interest. Otherwise, this is a deal-breaker.

  9. Craig says

    I write this as someone who was willing to vote for Trump.

    I'm glad you're reconsidering, but still, this is a very disturbing statement. It's not exactly the same as "I write this as someone who was willing to vote for Adolf Hitler", but it's too close to it for comfort.

  10. papadhann says

    @MoebiusStreet:

    To be fair, an inability to understand the limits of presidential power is basically a requirement to campaign for President.

  11. Tom in San Diego says

    Con Law. WOW. Magic stuff.

    My Con Law professor – a true expert – one who wrote his own casebook – said:

    Con Law opinions are a lot like noses. Everybody has one. :)

  12. Edward J. Cunningham says

    @Marc Randazza

    Well, registering people because of their religion IS something that Adolph Hitler did.

  13. Narad says

    ^ Sorry, the edit clock ticked to zero while I was copping a square. Put another way, your "second best" is maybe so generally asshurt that he'd mebbe veto a strong federal anti-SLAPP law?

  14. Neto says

    If this is the first thing that has made you pause it means you haven't heard enough speeches.

    I think the stages are as following:

    – Hear nitpicked comments about him and agree he is crazy.

    – Actually listen to him and realize that he is way more nuanced than expected. Specially when he is around other GOP candidates.

    – Enjoy his strong personality and be entertained by it. Agree with some of the things he says. He says so many things about everything that it HAS to happen.

    – Actually listen a lot of speeches.

    – Realize that there's contradictions and vagueness all the time. The prevailing idea is toughness. He is tough and a winner and you will win! This is how I win win win. I'm great at everything. Win with me. Keep using that word. Win! You hear me? Win. Everyone else loses. He wins.

    – Realize nothing that he says matters that much because he has said it all and it wasn't about what he said but about how he said it.

    – Wonder about what the hell will happen and assume that, be it HRC or him. US will stay pretty much the same. Less civil liberties, screwed up foreign policy with patently ineffective domestic government.

  15. says

    So the guy who wants to establish a religious test for immigration has troubling views on the First Amendment?

    Well jeez, Marc, who'd have thunk?

  16. Marzipan says

    I believed the previous corpus of Trump's fascist rhetoric (in which "fascism" follows Paxton's formulation on the last full paragraph on p. 218) sufficient reason to disqualify Trump from any voting consideration if his four-time proven failure in business weren't. Then again, we all have unique hair triggers that a histrionic, narcissistic flibbertigibbet can set off without forethought.

  17. DanA says

    While he may not be Hitler he is trying awfully hard to be Mussolini. Beyond that his proposal for how he would deport illegal immigrants is if not an actual warcrime is close enough that it is hideously awful.

  18. Echo says

    So this first amendment thing. It seems pretty nice, but on the other hand it's the only reason the entire staff of gawker aren't dangling from streetlamp crossbars.
    So I'd call that kind of a tie.

    If some other candidate suggested a better way to deal with the mainstream media, I'd be willing to entertain their proposal.

  19. noone says

    "the entire staff of gawker dangling from streetlamp crossbars."
    That reminds me of the laywer joke with the punchline "A GOOD START!!!"

  20. opus says

    Trump is a dolt, but if anyone thinks the Hildebeest would be any better on the 1st has better dope than me.

  21. Erik says

    Listening to Trump spout policy positions is like listening to my penis profess eternal love in a room full of beautiful naked women. Yes, there is totally genuine 100% belief… until five seconds later it changes to something else because "ooooh so shiny!" I think that there is literally no filter between his mouth and his brain and he just says whatever crosses his mind in the moment. The difference between him and random meth-addled homeless people that do more or less the same thing is that he says these things with enough charisma and force that some percentage of people actually take him seriously.

  22. NielsR says

    Is Trump trying to sound like Nicholson's Joker?

    "And now, folks, it's time for "Who do you trust!" Hubba, hubba, hubba! Money, money, money! Who do you trust? Me? I'm giving away free money. And where is the Batman? HE'S AT HOME WASHING HIS TIGHTS!"

  23. A.Nagy says

    "Look at the alternatives. It isn't hard to come to the conclusion that Trump would be the second best candidate in the race."

    I am and Trump is dead last on my list. That being said if this was a reality Tv show and not the real world, Trump would be #1 for sheer entertainment value.

  24. T says

    I thought you were trolling when you said you'd vote for him. WTF dude?

    You're down to vote for someone who approvingly recounts (false) stories about rounding up Muslims and shooting them with pigs-blood bullets, praises Putin and excuses his journalist killings, and commended the Chinese for Tienanmen Square?

  25. raz-0 says

    I think people look at trump the wrong way. Honestly, given the last quarter century of each president trying to outdo the last at abusing the powers of the executive office and trying to do away with the influence of congress and the system of law via executive orders, do I REALLY want someone better versed in operating int he margins and getting a foot in the door?

    Or do I want a buffoon who everyone doesn't really want to work with, with near zero understanding of how the system he is attempting to game works, and who has the highest probability of having congress actually do their jobs and check and/or balance the executive office rather than figuring out how to line their own pockets and weasel their way into the rarefied air of the heavy hitters of the oligarchy.

  26. says

    You're down to vote for someone who approvingly recounts (false) stories about rounding up Muslims and shooting them with pigs-blood bullets, praises Putin and excuses his journalist killings, and commended the Chinese for Tienanmen Square?

    Sad when someone with those qualifications is the second best name in the hat, isn't it?

  27. T says

    C'mon, that's a dodge. Not one other candidate feels it's appropriate to spout violent fantasies about targeting minorities and violently crushing dissent. Those things are of an entirely different quality than poor policy prescriptions.

  28. Jackson says

    @T

    Is that actually true? Or do they just believe it and don't say it?

    After all, with politicians, always look at the actions and never, ever, ever look at the words. I am actually of the belief that Trump is pretty much the same as all the other petty little tyrants in the election.

    He's just willing to admit it. Does that make him better or worse? Your call, but it's not like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, or John Kasich all want to deliberately do less with the government and give you, personally, more freedom. Every single one of them has their own plans to grab power, and have a history of doing so.

    It's Turtles (or Trumps) all the way down. There is a reason for the old saw of "How do you know a politician is lying? Their lips are moving."

  29. Mark says

    Marc, I would rather vote for Bernie than for Trump or Hillary, but it does look like it will come down to those two. Are there any other Republican candidates you could vote for? I was liking Rand Paul until he dropped out. He seemed to be the most Libertarian of the group. What are your thoughts on him?

  30. says

    Far be it for me to suggest who you vote for, but if Hillary is on the ballot, I'm either holding my nose and voting Republican, despite not being impressed with the R candidates, or I'm writing in "none of the above."

  31. T says

    @Jackson,

    You may well be right, although I'd probably argue that some of those candidates are significantly less dangerous and/or dangerous on fewer issues than others. But what is alarming about Trump is that, unlike the others who feel constrained to act with some modicum of deference to constitutional government (I repeat, SOME), Trump openly rejects the idea wholesale. And what's even worse is that he finds himself richly rewarded for doing so.

    That's a recipe for untold destruction.

  32. Seth says

    Trump wouldn't start a genocide unless, maybe, somebody let him know there are already lots of Muslims in the US.

  33. Matt W says

    if Hillary is on the ballot, I'm either holding my nose and voting Republican, despite not being impressed with the R candidates, or I'm writing in "none of the above."

    Dude, I understand an abstention, but there aren't that many people in the entire country who I wouldn't vote for over Trump. I'd (gulp) rather have 8 more years of George W Bush than a single minute of Trump as president. At least the disaster would only be monumental, not apocalyptic. Holding your nose and voting for Trump would be like expressing mild distaste while you swallow 10 gallons of Drano.

  34. Voice of Reason says

    @Tom from San Fran

    You're free not to patronize them as well. There's a reason we have the First Amendment and that's to protect not only you and me from retaliation for speaking our minds, but also protecting the press for reporting what our government(s) are doing as well. It's up to YOU to determine what's fact, theory, or chaff. Do your research and learn when someone is handing you a load of balony. This topic has been hashed and rehashed over and over again since the birth of journalism and news reporting (Thank you Ben Franklin!). There have been many attempts at curtailing speech, and especially controlling the press by legislative and judicial means (SLAPPs). There's plenty of fact checking sites out there and you can do your own research on the topics you care about. There's no excuse for taking people's voice away from them because you don't like what they have to say. You may very well be next!

    Trump has been wrong on just about everything he's opened his mouth about, and this is just another of his possible policies that would fail Constitutional challenges. It's sad so many people are so fed up with the status quo they're willing to sacrifice our fundamental freedoms by voting for an ignorant hick. No joke, this guy sounds like some of the backwoods hicks I unfortunately grew up around that never studied a single line of the Constitution let alone Constitutional law. As Bugs Bunny once said: "What a maroon!"

  35. En Passant says

    raz-0 says February 29, 2016 at 8:12 am:

    Or do I want a buffoon who everyone doesn't really want to work with, with near zero understanding of how the system he is attempting to game works, and who has the highest probability of having congress actually do their jobs and check and/or balance the executive office …

    That is an excellent point. The Executive has very limited power, and most Executive powers require cooperation from Congress to be effective. Jawboning is the greatest power, if it's effective. But if he is swinging the jawbone of an ass, it won't be.

    A House and Senate full of Trumps in lockstep would be a serious problem. But that isn't happening. And don't forget that no POTUS can control the various state legislatures if he starts making executive policies that the states don't like.

    Worst case, the republic might stumble around, but it won't fall. Best case is that the Congress or various states could rein in various longstanding bad legislative policies just because Trump likes the policies and they hate Trump.

    So, if Trump is elected POTUS, just buy popcorn futures and enjoy the jawboning.

  36. Echo says

    If Trump adds choking New York Times reporters to his official platform, I'm sold.
    He could make it into a hit reality TV show: "What Would YOU Do For A Press Pass?!"

  37. Nathan West says

    I love how, out of everything Trump has said and done, THIS is the thing that *finally* gave you pause. Threatening to prevent Muslim American citizens from re-entering the country when they go abroad wasn't enough for you, huh?

  38. Dan Weber says

    I don't like Hillary Clinton, but this election cycle shows it can always be worse.

    When I sit down and list the many things I don't like about Clinton, nearly every one is present in Trump to an equal or even greater degree. Plus he strikes me as an unstable buffoon who shouldn't be anywhere near the nuclear launch codes.

  39. Brandon says

    It always amazes me when people bring up the notion that Trump is somehow 'tough'. He's not tough. He's bombastic, and he has an incredibly thin skin for a candidate for president when he has to go on a tirade on Twitter when he perceives he's been slighted. I can't imagine someone like that as our President.

  40. Sam says

    I don't like Hillary. I really don't. I never have. Bernie's my guy. And I understand what might drive someone to vote for Trump. But he's not just the worst of two bad choices; he's actively dangerous. He's an autocrat who has no regard for the fundamental liberties on which our country is based. He's a demagogue who incites hatred towards any outgroup you can think of, as a way of diverting blame for how badly he and his cohort have screwed the poor and middle class.

    I wouldn't fear him so much, except the Obama administration's constant expansion of the executive's power through EOs makes me think that Trump would likewise steamroll a deadlocked Congress.

    I don't want to vote for Hillary, and fortunately I don't live in a swing state and don't have to. But if my vote counted, I would have to vote for nearly anyone but Trump.

  41. Rob says

    I can't imagine someone like that as our President.

    We have someone like that as our President!

  42. Ken in NJ says

    He called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States". He wants to make Muslims carry special ID cards – an idea copied directly from the playbook of the Nazis. He has proudly and publicly declared his support of, and willingness to commit, war crimes, icluding both torture and the intentional targeting of innocent civilians, including CHILDREN, in foreign countries.

    He is a birther and a blatant racist who, when asked if he would condemn the KKK, explained that he would have to "research them" first. The fucking KU KLUX KLAN. He's an anti-science moron – a global warming denier and an antivaxxer who thinks vaccines cause autism. He has openly tolerated, and advocated, gradually increasing levels of violence against protesters at his rallies. Another move taken straight from the Nazi handbook.

    He speaks approvingly of Putin executing journalists. His comments on and behavior towards women demonstrate a deeply ingrained , unremitting sexism that holds women to be nothing more than flighty, stupid pieces of ass, a fact not contradicted by his adultery and multiple failed marriages. He has had not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR business bankruptcies

    He has a casual disregard for the truth that is so absolute that in those rare cases where he actually has expressed a definitive position, it is trivially easy to find him expressing the exact opposite position, and not from his college days forty years ago, but recently. He is a buffoon who, except for the hilariously, stupidly impossible border wall, hasn't hasn't told us a single goddamned thing that he will actually do except "Win" and "Make America great". He's a petulant, thin skinned, narcissistic crybaby whose ONLY response to criticism is bombast, insults, and mockery of his critic.

    But it wasn't until this moment just now that you started to feel somewhat hesitant about your willingness to vote for him?

    I look forward to your next article, entitled "Do you want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?"

  43. R. says

    @Ken in NJ

    He speaks approvingly of Putin executing journalists.

    I call bullshit on that.

    now.

  44. merzbot says

    >I write this as someone who was willing to vote for Trump.

    Man, I seriously can't get a read on your views. I thought you were the progressive one.

    @R.

    >“Well, also he’s a person that kills journalists and political opponents and invades countries,” said Scarborough. “That would be a concern, would it not?”

    >Trump replied by taking a shot at President Obama. “He’s return running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” he said.

    And no, it's not better in context.

    And recently, "Why would I disavow Putin?". The journalist executions and brutal oppression of LGBT people doesn't bug him that much, I guess.

  45. Mikey Mike says

    Yeah, he didn't "speak approvingly" of Putin executing journalists. He just didn't think that it happened.

    There's plenty of heinous shit you can legitimately pin on him, though. That's pretty thoroughly documented at this point.

  46. Michael B says

    "The Executive has very limited power, and most Executive powers require cooperation from Congress to be effective. Jawboning
    is the greatest power, if it's effective. But if he is swinging the jawbone of an ass, it won't be.

    A House and Senate full of Trumps in lockstep would be a serious problem. But that isn't happening. And don't forget that no POTUS can control the various
    state legislatures if he starts making executive policies that the states don't like."

    What if a President Trump "invites" his youthful supporters to attend congressional sessions and deliberately withholds federal protection?

    Ladies and gentlemen, please pass this law or I won't be able to control the anger of my supporters.

    And just to make it clear, my supporters will in any case be pardoned for any violation of federal criminal law.

    Now you have a plausible Reichstag takeover scenario, that could happen even under the Constitution's checks and balances, provided that the chief executive is a megalomanic sociopath.

    And Trump is both.

  47. Michael says

    He speaks approvingly of Putin executing journalists.

    I call bullshit on that.

    Yes, Trump has in fact not praised Putin for executing journalists, that would be an unfair claim, since Putin hasn't executed anyone.

    Rather, Trump has praised Putin's way of governance, without any regard for the corruption, nepotism and lack of rule of law in Russia after Yeltsin.

    Russia under Boris Yeltsin was not a paradise, but immensely more respectful of freedom of speech, press and fair elections.

    Putin dislikes liberal democracy, constitutional checks and balances and packs all branches of government to get what he wants, and troublesome journalists or politicians have a tendency to die under mysterious circumstances or get jailed on Trumped-up charges.

    It's therefore pertinent to ask what's the reason for Trump's admiration for Putin — maybe Trump imagines himself with the same power.

    Several authors including Masha Gessen have traced Putin's rise to power to crriminal dealings in St. Petersburg when he worked for Mayor Anatoly Sobchak.

    Russia under Putin is by all accounts a gangster state, and it's inconceivable that Trump doesn't know it.

  48. Michael says

    Just a comment on Trumps admiration for Vladimir Putin:

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/donald-trump-defends-putins-murder-of-journalists-our-country-does-plenty-of-killing-also/
    "In an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump praised Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin, saying he was a leader
    who had the respect of his countrymen.

    Trump said that he was flattered that
    Putin complimented him
    Thursday. “When people call you brilliant, it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russia.”

    “Well, also he’s a person that kills journalists and political opponents and invades countries,” host Joe Scarborough pointed out. “That would be a concern,
    would it not?”

    Trump didn’t think so. “He’s return running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” he responded.

    “But again, he kills journalist that don’t agree with him,” Scarborough insisted.

    “Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe,” Trump said. “You know. there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world right now, Joe. A lot
    of killing going on and a lot of stupidity…”

    After being pressed by Scarborough a third time, Trump eventually condemned Putin’s murder of political opponents and journalists. But, he added, “I’ve
    always felt fine about Putin. I think he is a strong leader, he’s a powerful leader, he’s represented his country the way — the country is being represented.”

    In true Trump fashion, he concluded by citing Putin’s poll numbers. “He’s got popularity within his country. They respect him as a leader, certainly the
    last couple of years they’ve respected him as the leader. Obama’s in the low 30’s, upper 40’s and he’s in the 80’s.”"

    So Trump's defense of Putin is actually worse.

    (1) He equates deliberate murder of political dissidents and journalists ordered by the de facto ruler with a lot of stupid things without recognizing the seriousness of abusing the state to crush dissent, which either strongly suggests that Trump doesn't care about human life or limited government.

    (2) Trump claims that Putin's high poll numbers means that he is popular and respected, which shows either an ignorant understanding of how Putin's system works, or more likely a desire to try such methods at home.

    (3) In conjunction with Trump's other statements' i.e his glorification of violence, hatred against women and his general desire to use bogus 'legal' justifications to censor criticism, none of his admiration for Putin is surprising.

    On the other hand, Trump himself has never apologized for libeling the Central Park Five Blacks who were innocent of rape:

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/17/central-park-five-donald-trump-jogger-rape-case-new-york

    In other statements, Trump has dodged the question of whether Putin is responsible for killing journalists, despite the general consensus that Putin's regime is either directly involved or instigating violence against its critics.

    If you don't consider Trump's endorsement of Putin dangerous, better read Masha Gessen's biography of Putin The Man Without A Face.

    Any politician praising Putin in any way for his domestic policies or 'leadership' is dangerous.

    Interestingly, in Russia rich developers close to the government can also use eminent domain to take people's property, something Trump really really likes.

  49. AlferdPacker says

    @ R.

    While it might be a step too far to say he speaks approvingly of Putin executing journalists, he certainly speaks well of Putin. His response to questions about the journalists being killed boils down to, "But Putin denies it."

    As far as approving the execution of journalists generally, a cursory search turns up a speech where Trump says he detests journalists, but would never kill them. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

    I'm willing to forgive Ken in NJ for going taking one step too far, in one sentence, given that this is the only thing you were able to really object to.

  50. Matt W says

    @Sam

    the Obama administration's constant expansion of the executive's power through EOs

    Of all Presidents since the 1901 inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt, only Kennedy, Ford, and George HW Bush issued fewer Executive Orders than Obama has. And Obama has spent longer in office than any of those three did. There are probably things one could reasonably complain about regarding the Obama presidency, but his use of Executive Orders doesn't pass the laugh test.

  51. En Passant says

    Michael B says March 1, 2016 at 11:38 pm:

    What if a President Trump "invites" his youthful supporters to attend congressional sessions and deliberately withholds federal protection?

    Now you have a plausible Reichstag takeover scenario, that could happen even under the Constitution's checks and balances, provided that the chief executive is a megalomanic sociopath.

    And Trump is both.

    Not a very plausible scenario, if the megalomaniac sociopath has an IQ greater than room temperature. Andrew Jackson threw better inaugural balls than that. But congratulations anyway. You have just proved the accuracy of Mike Godwin's rule of Nazi analogies.

    What if Trump secretly hires someone to burn down the capitol building? This scenario is no less silly, and considerably simpler.

    Perhaps you don't recall the last time a sitting US President defied the Congress and refused to produce evidence of criminal activity by his office staff. Hint: he didn't remain President.

    President Trump, under the scenario you suggested, would be no different. The office of President ain't the only player in the game.

    Whatever its faults, the constitutionally imposed tripartite structure of American federal government very effectively prevents assumption of dictatorial power by a President.

  52. Echo says

    "personally I would never do anything violent to journalists but if someone else did I would demand that we recognize their legitimate grievances"

    If the media can say it about police, why can't Trump supporters say it about the media?
    I mean, articles like "In Defense of Looting" surely cover looting the New York Times offices, right?

  53. Eva says

    Apparently Trump does a lot of braying about what he will do if he becomes President (as do other candidates) but he cannot arbitrarily amend the US Consititution without some kind of assist from both houses as far as I know.
    I believe that whole effort would be a long shot but I guess it sounds really good to the masses who swallow whole his musings and entertaining insults.

    What's so scary is that there are so many who appear to feel that a person who apparently has no resume for holding a political office (& thus was not answerable to any constituents so a voter can properly evaluate if he can even handle the job) and was apparently associated with the birther movement (He's apparently accused not only Obama but Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Marco Rubio) is a viable candidate in the first place.

  54. opus says

    @Sam, that you think the Hildebeest is any different than Trump just shows your partisanship.

    I despise Trump, but also think a lot of what he says is trolling.

    The Hildebeest is a far greater threat to free speech than Donnie and has been for decades. She's had numerous laws she supported and helped to enact thrown out by SCOTUS since the 90's. Remember Tipper and going after lyrics in music (particularly rap).

    Hildog is a real 1st amendment warrior/sarc.

  55. Z says

    All the commentary about trump assumes that trump has, and will act upon, a set of beliefs. This is false. Trump has a desperate need to be flattered, to be envied, to be admired, and he will do and say and act in a way that furthers the chances that he will be flattered, envied and admired. All trump administration actions will flow from that impulse.

  56. Dwight says

    I despise Trump, but also think a lot of what he says is trolling.

    Chronic blatant trolling by itself (this isn't even his first full court press on the 1st Amendment) is an excellent, sound reason to consider his character grossly unfit for office.

    But that he's using it as the basis for his political power makes it far more dangerous because he'll have to go back over and over, upping the rhetoric each time, and in doing so up the pressure (on others and on him) to have real results.

  57. Encinal says

    Matt W says

    There are probably things one could reasonably complain about regarding the Obama presidency, but his use of Executive Orders doesn't pass the laugh test.

    You've presented strong evidence against the proposition, but by no means shown it to be laughable. The idea that raw quantity of EOs is the only metric of interest is itself laughable. If all of the EOs of the previous presidents were within the accepted powers of the president, and Obama's weren't, the quantity is irrelevant.

  58. pjcamp says

    So crazy didn't turn you away? This is what it took? You're OK with murdering innocent people but not with libel?

    Fuck you.

  59. AlphaCentauri says

    We can avoid going Godwin and compare him instead to populist president Andrew Jackson. Ask the Cherokee how that worked out.

  60. Mikey Mike says

    With regards to "is Trump just trolling with a lot of these positions", I tend towards answering "yes", if only because he does not appear to be a complete idiot. I think he's very calculating, and is just throwing out stuff that he knows people will like.

    The problem is that it's impossible to tell for sure whether he's serious or not, and that's generally not a quality I'd want in the highest diplomatic representative of my country. Say what you want about Hillary, but at least with her you know pretty much what you're getting.

  61. Sam says

    @opus
    It's very convenient that my noticing distinctions between two different human beings is evidence of "partisanship," the magic word that allows you to stick your fingers in your ears and ignore everything I'm saying. I don't like Hillary. But to pretend that her and Trump are equivalent is political childishness. It shows either naiveté on a grand scale or a simple lack of understanding of the major issues facing the country. She's not great on a lot of things, but, just to pick an example at random, she doesn't want to bring back pre-existing conditions. (Yes, I know Trump says he doesn't. The problem is, his health plan is clearly spelled out on his website, and it includes PECs.)

    You may not like her record on free speech, but there's a big difference between the stupid censoring crap Tipper Gore pushed and an explicit statement that "I intend to file lots of SLAPP suits, specifically to chill criticism of me." Don't pretend like you're comparing apples to apples, here.

  62. Matt L. says

    Trump is a modern-day Mussolini. His supporters came for the bravado but stayed for the authoritarianism. He is destroying the Republican Party and the most frightening thing is he might win in a general election. If you didn't pick up on these things, Marc, you need your antennae checked. This man is a primary threat to the Republic. I'm almost as right-wing as you are left, Marc, but I'll hold my nose and vote for Robo-Hillary if it comes down to it. Trump delendus est.

  63. James Hanley says

    I cannot begin to comprehend how you could consider voting for Trump. I'm a libertarian with no attachment to either party, and no preference for any candidate. I could understand an intelligent person being willing (ideally reluctantly) to vote for any of the other candidates, but not for Trump.

    I know you're intelligent.

    This surpasses my understanding.

  64. James Hanley says

    Is it really just when he attacks the media that you withdraw your support? Not when he talks about deporting nine million people? Not when he encourages violence against protesters? All of that is acceptable in your political view, but tightening libel laws is what goes too far?

  65. OrderoftheQuaff says

    You were willing to vote for Trump? OMFG! Was this before or after the Mexico wall thing? He just about got himself declared persona non grata in the United Kingdom – they were debating it in Parliament. I've never been declared PNG at anything more important than a Toyota dealership.

  66. BossLady says

    I am shocked at how sensitive Trump is and does have thicker skin.

    As far as Trump wanting to make libel laws for media?

    It would never happen.

  67. Ann says

    @Narad —

    Do go on. This whole First Amendment kerfuffle strikes me as taking a back seat to the "burn women, kids, houses and villages" part, but tastes vary.

    You have to realize that some of the women might be "feminists," which — from Marc Randazza's perspective — makes a call for burning them exactly the kind of free speech he's most interested in championing.

    I actually stopped commenting here because I didn't feel like watching the sorry spectacle of Marc Randazza rationalizing his double-standard-based boosterism for people who share his hatred of "feminists" by calling it support for free speech. The prospect of getting his hate on so distorts his perceptions that while the rest of the world might look at that journalist-licensing thing and think "2nd Amendment protest," Marc Randazza looks at it and thinks, "Aha! A chance to rag on that Rolling Stone UVA rape story! I'm in!"

    To steal a page from a candidate he's willing to vote for:

    Sad.