Donald Trump Must Be Destroyed.

Donald Trump delenda est.

Let me tell you what I mean by that. In the third and second centuries before Christ the Roman Republic fought a series of three wars with their mortal enemies, the Carthaginians, for control of the Mediterranean. These Punic Wars are best remembered today for their middle conflict, during which the general Hannibal daringly led an army of elephants across the Alps. But the last confrontation, the Third Punic War, was the decisive one. Rome conquered Carthage, enslaved its entire surviving population, burnt the city to the ground and — perhaps apocryphally — salted the earth over the razed land so that nothing would ever grow there again. Now the Romans called the Mediterranean Mare Nostrum, our sea, and for a thousand years, between Republic and Empire, they ruled the known world.

The Punic Wars were won at great cost, though, and it’s unlikely Rome would have been successful if not for the public support of its citizens, reinforced by oratory that continually presented Carthage as an existential danger to the Republic. This invective saw no greater champion than Cato the Elder, who for years would employ the phrase Carthago delenda est — “Carthage must be destroyed”. He peppered his speeches with the phrase, and ended every one with it; even on matters that were totally unrelated, whether grain prices or plebian strikes or the gossip of the patrician class, again and again, over and over, Carthago delenda est. Carthage must be destroyed.

So it is today that I am reminded of Cato and his relentlessness, three days before — and I say this without qualification, because this time it really is true — the most important election of our lifetimes. The enemy may have changed, but the sentiment hasn’t. Donald Trump must be destroyed.

Why? The list of disqualifications is far too long to write about here, so I’ll focus on just three. Three that, I consider, to be his most grievous, his most reprehensible, his most, well, deplorable. And why I believe it is necessary not just to hand him a loss, but to deal to him the most crushing, overwhelming defeat possible — a loss so devastating it could only be described as tremendously bigly. Donald Trump must be destroyed.

1.) His CHARACTER. The English language fails me in its supply of available adjectives to describe what we have learned about the man. He is a human shit stain, the kind of rotting, maggoty, fetid mass of execrable thought that rears its head in only the darkest corners of the Internet, the places you should fear to go even if your mom didn’t forbid it. Who among us hasn’t he insulted? He is a racist — Barack Obama is a Kenyan, and that Indiana judge whose parents immigrated (legally) from Mexico can’t impartially judge my fraud trial; also David Duke doesn’t seem like such a bad guy. He is a misogynist — just grab ’em by the pussy, treat women like shit, they’re dogs and fat pigs anyway and Megyn Kelly was definitely on her period when she questioned me. He is xenophobic — they’re sending drugs, and crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people but seriously guys, no Muslims. What he apparently lacks in overt homophobia he has more than balanced out the ticket with in his running mate, Mike Pence, a man who once called for HIV/AIDS funding to be redirected to the wholly discredited pseudoscience of conversion therapy, so that the homosexuals could be set straight. Donald Trump must be destroyed.

He has surrounded himself with people of terrible character and sees no problem with that. He is a bully. His entire raison d’etre is to be the alpha male, to dominate, to climb to the highest rung of the ladder no matter how many people, institutions, laws or taboos he has to kick down along the way. Jane Goodall said recently when she looks at Trump, she is most reminded of the dominance rituals of chimpanzees, their aggression, their Darwinian reflexes. That’s an insult to chimps. Trump knows better, but his compulsion gets him every time. Life for Donald J. Trump is a zero-sum game; if he’s winning, that means everyone else must be losing. Donald Trump must be destroyed.

Worse yet, he is impulsive: he lacks the cold genius of other evil masterminds throughout history, who at least can be said to have had some sort of plan, however implausible. Trump has no plan. He gets ahead on what many see as supreme self-confidence; I see it as self-delusion. But people love the act. It’s funny. I often find myself laughing at his shtick. But it does not belong in the Oval Office. That he has gotten this far in life, on nothing more than his daddy’s money and an efficacious, if dastardly, use of the tax code, and his megalomaniacal bluster, is impressive. It is also terrifying. Donald Trump must be destroyed.

2.) His POLICIES and FRAUD. I’ll keep this one short. He wants to build a wall and Mexico’s gonna pay for it. They don’t know it yet, but they will. Oh, and he hastily assembled a slapdash childcare program because Ivanka begged him to do something reasonable, even though there’s no indication a Trump Administration would be able to pay for it, what with the massive tax cuts to the super-wealthy and trade wars with Mexico and China and total hands-off approach to entitlement reform that will add, nonpartisan experts say, TEN TRILLION DOLLARS TO THE NATIONAL DEBT. Did I forget something? Repeal Obamacare and replace it with, um, something better, the details don’t matter right now, and I haven’t thought of them, but we will have a much better system, that I can tell you. Make America White — I mean, Great — Again! Okay. Clean out the corruption and special favors of the lobbyists, because nothing says I’m clean, people! like a man who has avoided paying any federal income tax for two decades even as he racked up $800 million in public subsidies for his building projects and accumulated massive amounts of wealth — wealth that, it should be noted, did not trickle down to the little guy, even when Trump was legally responsible for doing so, such as, you know, paying contractors for the work they did on his projects. Donald Trump must be destroyed.

That’s really the most concerning thing about Trump, isn’t it? It amazes me that the Democrats haven’t picked up on this more fully. They’ve got the racism and sexism argument down cold, but that wins over only so many voters. The irony, and tragedy, of this election season is that Donald Trump has presented himself as the Second Coming of Jesus to the white working class of America, a downtrodden group that I genuinely emphasize with, who believe he will restore America to some halcyon era of greatness, where a high school diploma meant a steady job on an assembly line or at a manufacturing plant with good wages and great benefits. Those days aren’t coming back, and though some of it has to do with NAFTA and the trade deals that Trump inveighs against, it’s far more the progression of technology and automation and the lower labor costs of doing business from overseas that even protectionist policies wouldn’t stop. It should be noted, too, that when America was supposedly greatest, in the 1950s or 1960s, was perilously dependent on what kind of an American you were. Straight, white, male, Christian? Yeah, those were pretty good times, even if you couldn’t have smartphones and self-cleaning ovens — that’s what wives were for! But if you were gay, or a scared and pregnant teenager, or a Muslim, or Latino, or Black, or nonreligious — if you stood out in any way, were different, were unusual — no, I don’t think most of these people would rather go back. But Trump promises those times are coming again. Donald Trump must be destroyed.

Blue-collar Americans are not without legitimate complaints, though. Politicians of both parties have used and abused them, taken them for granted, or simply ignored them. I read somewhere recently that humans are, by nature, tribal, and we always have to have at least one group for whom our derision is socially acceptable. That’s probably true, and you can pretty much get away with casting all non-college-educated, rural whites as hillbillies or rednecks or white trash without taking too much umbrage. In our culture, that is wrong. I don’t believe that most of the white working class is truly racist or xenophobic, because there’s a difference between overt racism and racial resentment. People can’t be faulted entirely for having their world turned upside down, where seemingly overnight they have to change all of their lifelong taboos and stereotypes because the media and the millennials demand it. That’s not to say their opinions should stay where they are. But recognize that in eastern Kentucky and small-town Alabama, far removed from the cosmopolitanism of New York and LA, the suggestion that transgender people have the right to choose their own bathroom, let alone the idea of there being such a thing as a transgendered person, would leave many older residents gobsmacked. They will need time to adjust, and we should be there for them, even while we remain firm that their prejudices ought to and must, even if slowly, change. Donald Trump doesn’t believe that. Donald Trump must be destroyed.

Now I don’t pretend to know fully the concerns of the white working class, because I am not one of them. But I imagine that many would tell you they don’t hate blacks or Mexicans or immigrants — they just want someone to look out for them as well. Democrats haven’t done a good job of retaining these folks, even as they’ve made strides in capturing other groups; they’ve been dismissive and let them freely emigrate to the GOP, whose feigned outreach is really a loose façade for their total manipulation of the working class, stirring up fear and anger so they will vote to give Republican donors more tax breaks and special treatment. It’s been a genius plan, and it’s worked. The billionaires are the real welfare queens in this country. Donald Trump, meanwhile, makes promises he must know he can’t keep. And even as they view him as their savior, blue-collar Americans are being taken in by a charlatan, a monster, a fraud of the highest order, who stiffs small businesses, obfuscates investors on his failing projects and sticks them with the bill after he’s left town, and preys on the anxieties of people in a changing economy who want to get ahead again with a little more education, guidance they think they’ll get from a massive mirage called Trump ‘University’. I can’t think of anything else to say about this except Sad! Donald Trump must be destroyed.

3.) His CONTEMPT FOR DEMOCRACY. This election is so, so important, not only for what it says about us as Americans, but what we, through our vote, are saying to the world. At the risk of sounding Reaganesque, America really has been that shining city on a hill. We’ve been a beacon for millions of disenfranchised, disengaged and dispersed people across the globe for 240 years. More countries have modeled their constitutions on ours than any other. It isn’t even close. And key to those Constitutional principles — now hear me out, conservatives, because I know how much you care about the Constitution — is our concept of the peaceful transition of power. Donald Trump either hasn’t read that part, or worse, he doesn’t believe in it. I am genuinely fearful of what the next few days will bring, especially if Trump claims a rigged election. Which is why Donald Trump must be destroyed.

That, ultimately, is the most grotesque, the most arrogant, the most disqualifying thing about Trump’s candidacy. We have had heinous personalities as long as there’s been candidates and officeholders in this country; never have we had someone so contemptuous of and dangerous to our democratic system of governance. The election is not rigged. It is conducted by volunteers from all fifty states, ordinary citizens like you and me who believe in America. At his core, in his most sclerotic and McDonald’s-clogged, blackest heart of hearts, Donald Trump doesn’t believe in America. Donald Trump believes in Donald Trump, and nothing else. Donald Trump must be destroyed.

I’m not telling you you should vote for Hillary Clinton, even though I did, because I recognize that despite her overwhelming competency for the office, she has earned — both fairly and unfairly — a reputation for dishonesty and untrustworthiness that is impossible to shake for millions of Americans. So be it. But she will not lead us to nuclear war. She believes in something greater than herself. She believes that America already is, always has been, and always will be, great — but that through dogged determination, it can yet be made greater. I believe that, too. I’ll end by saying, if you’re voting third-party, or sitting this election out, just consider for yourself the arguments I’ve laid forth, but pay especial attention to the last one. There’s a very good chance that Trump will, on Tuesday night, claim the election was ‘rigged’, and if polls are to be believed, tens of millions of Americans will have been duped into agreeing with him. That should scare the shit out of you. It does me. And you must agree that, like her or not, Hillary Clinton is the only person who can beat Trump, and follow through on that maxim that Donald Trump must be destroyed.

The closer the results, the greater chance that orange imbecile claims a rigged election, and the greater chance people see it as plausible, however laughable it remains on its face. We must fight this perception. It is our duty as Americans to show ourselves, and each other, and the world that we are not about to hand over the nuclear codes and democracy itself to the single most incompetent, dangerous, and uniquely unsuited, unqualified, least deserving temperament our national politics has ever known. Hand him a crushing defeat. Make it so it’s not even close. And even if you don’t believe that Donald Trump deserves to lose — and I do, with every ounce of my being, I do — and lose badly, know and believe that he must lose by the greatest possible magnitude to ensure that America means business, because we believe in free and fair elections, we know that the land of the free and home of the brave is still the United States of America, a united people that reject hate, and intolerance, and bigotry, and stupidity, and the farcical notion that Donald John Trump could ever be our leader. So on Tuesday, in Michigan, or wherever you live — go vote. It is a privilege and a right that so many on this planet don’t have. We do. Exercise it. Because Donald Trump delenda est.

Donald Trump must be destroyed.