Until this year, warnings about "unprecedented" levels of campaign negativity were easy to dismiss, since history provided plenty of examples of rougher attacks (e.g., the election of 1800).
This time is different.
Jonathan Martin in The New York Times:
On Thursday and Friday alone, Mr. Trump unleashed a barrage of near-apocalyptic warnings about the potential destruction of the country, broad accusations about the illegitimacy of American democracy, and crude innuendo about his opponent that is almost without precedent in modern presidential history.
He warned that Hillary Clinton was conspiring with financiers to destroy American sovereignty, claimed the fate of civilization depended on his victory and ridiculed the appearance of the one of the women accusing him of sexual harassment, while also deriding Mrs. Clinton’s looks and saying she ought to be in prison. He also said the presidential election amounted to “a big ugly lie.”
“Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.”
— Mr. Trump at a rally on Thursday in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Mr. Trump veers dangerously close to the territory of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a fabricated anti-Semitic text, in discussing the WikiLeaks hacks that revealed some of Mrs. Clinton’s speeches to financial institutions.Eli Stokols reports at Politico:
Donald Trump on Friday intimated a woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her was not attractive enough to have drawn his interest—just as a new accuser was coming forward.
The Republican nominee, spiraling at ever greater velocity into uncharted political territory with more than three weeks left in the election, showed none of the contrition he expressed last weekend for his videotaped admission that his celebrity enables him to get away with sexual assault.Matt Viser reports at The Boston Globe:
At a time when trust in government is at a low point, Trump is actively stoking fears that a core tenet of American democracy is also in peril: that you can trust what happens at the ballot box.
\His supporters here said they plan to go to their local precincts to look for illegal immigrants who may attempt to vote. They are worried that Democrats will load up buses of minorities and take them to vote several times in different areas of the city. They’ve heard rumors that boxes of Clinton votes are already waiting somewhere.
And if Trump doesn’t win, some are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination, as fantastical and unhinged as that may seem.
“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, said of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. . . . I would do whatever I can for my country.”