Is Donald Trump's Candidacy Dangerous for America?

Is the Trump candidacy dangerous for America, even if he's not elected? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by James Fallows, Atlantic Magazine writer, ex-China resident, ex-speechwriter, current pilot, on Quora.

I don't know if it's dangerous. I think the danger would be mainly if he won. (Why would this be dangerous? It is not so much because he is, in my view, amazingly tabula rasa on issues of public policy. It is mainly because his temperament is more and more obviously the opposite of what you want to have, from someone in charge of the world's most powerful military. Earlier I praised Dwight Eisenhower for his bearing and restraint. Those are not traits you associate with Trump.)

But I think overall Trump's candidacy has been bad for America -- bad because of the coarsening of politics ("Little Marco"), bad because of the conversion-into-irrelevance of factual accuracy and plausibility ("Mexico will pay for that wall"), bad because of the license given to, and stirring up of, the racial animosity that will always be present in any diverse society.

My assessment of the Trump era differs from many other people's in this way: I don't think Trump is "giving voice" to an angry, frustrated, betrayed-feeling population so much as he is stirring up and encouraging the worst sides of political frustration. Yes, economic strains have taken their toll on America, as they have around the world. But before Trump appeared with "they're sending us rapists," those fears weren't expressed in the same way. And even now the demeanor at Trump rallies is different from those at Cruz or other Republican rallies (among people who might agree with Trump on immigration, etc.), or of course at Sanders rallies (among people who might agree that the economic game is rigged). I think a lot of this has to do with the personality, the Id, and the pro-wrestling performance genius of Trump himself.

He would be dangerous as a president. He has been destructive as a candidate. We will see what the aftereffects are for the remains of the Republican party, and for the larger ability to discuss racial, ethnic, and economic points of tension.

This question originally appeared on Quora. - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:​