Different Tones on the State of America
Election 2016By AARON BYRD and QUYNHANH DO, NYT
To listen to the way some Republicans tell it, America is a pretty awful place these days.
“A hell hole,” as Donald J. Trump has put it. Our leaders are “babies” who are “so stupid” they can only watch helplessly as we become “a third-world country.”
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas sees evil menacing America not just from within, like the “tyranny” and “lawlessness” of jailing a county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, but from the outside as well. As he condemned the Obama administration’s nuclear pact with Iran last week, Mr. Cruz warned, “Americans will die.”
These dark diagnoses of the country’s condition have become an especially powerful part of the message sounded by several Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for presidency this election cycle.
Their damning assessments — that the country is diminished and unrecognizable, imperiled by forces foreign and domestic — seem to resonate with voters already feeling angry, alienated and under threat.