As the prospect of Donald Trump being the Republican nominee becomes increasingly likely, many of the media's most prominent voices are warning that the brash businessman poses a bona fide threat to American values.
Here are seven columns that take aim at the Trump machine, strongly and carefully making the case that the GOP front-runner is not fit for the presidency. All of these pieces reach a similar conclusion: Trump's rise, once an entertaining sideshow not to be taken seriously, is now very real, and very scary.
David Brooks, The New York Times
"Donald Trump is an affront to basic standards of honesty, virtue and citizenship. He pollutes the atmosphere in which our children are raised. He has already shredded the unspoken rules of political civility that make conversation possible. In his savage regime, public life is just a dog-eat-dog war of all against all."
David Remnick, The New Yorker
"Trump is no longer hustling golf courses, fake 'universities,' or reality TV. He means to command the United States armed forces and control its nuclear codes. He intends to propose legislation, conduct America’s global affairs, preside over its national-intelligence apparatus, and make the innumerable moral and political decisions required of a President. This is not a Seth Rogen movie; this is as real as mud."
Martin Wolf, Financial Times
"It is rash to assume constitutional constraints would survive the presidency of someone elected because he neither understands nor believes in them. Rounding up and deporting 11 [million] people is an immense coercive enterprise. Would a president elected to achieve this be prevented and, if so, by whom? What are we to make of Mr. Trump’s enthusiasm for the barbarities of torture? Would he find people willing to carry out his desires or not?"
Ezra Klein, Vox
"It is undeniably enjoyable to watch Trump. He's red-faced, discursive, funny, angry, strange, unpredictable, and real. He speaks without filter and tweets with reckless abandon. The Donald Trump phenomenon is a riotous union of candidate ego and voter id. America's most skilled political entertainer is putting on the greatest show we've ever seen.
It's so fun to watch that it's easy to lose sight of how terrifying it really is."
Los Angeles Times editorial board
"The reality is that Trump has no experience whatsoever in government, interacting with the machinery of state only as a supplicant. He has shamefully little knowledge of the issues facing the country and the world, and a temperament utterly unsuited to the job. He is a racist and a bully, a demagogue."
Peter Wehner, The New York Times
"The founders, knowing history and human nature, took great care to devise a system that would prevent demagogues and those with authoritarian tendencies from rising up in America. That system has been extraordinarily successful. We have never before faced the prospect of a political strongman becoming president. Until now."
"The things Mr. Trump has said in this campaign make him unworthy of leading one of the world’s great political parties, let alone America. One way to judge politicians is by whether they appeal to our better natures: Mr. Trump has prospered by inciting hatred and violence. He is so unpredictable that the thought of him anywhere near high office is terrifying. He must be stopped."
Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.