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Letter: Does Cramer think we should jail political foes?

Recently, a video surfaced showing Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. In response, North Dakota's Republican Congressman, Kevin Cramer, after perfunctorily stating that he does not condone Trump's words, quickly changed the su...

Recently, a video surfaced showing Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. In response, North Dakota's Republican Congressman, Kevin Cramer, after perfunctorily stating that he does not condone Trump's words, quickly changed the subject by attacking Hillary Clinton, insisting that "her actions and words would land most people in jail."

Cramer's comments further erode the notion of "legitimate opposition," a concept that has served our nation well.

The birther movement that falsely questioned Barack Obama's citizenship and thus his presidency's legitimacy; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie smiling as the Republican National Convention crowd chanted "Lock her up!"; Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin stating that bloodshed might be necessary if Clinton becomes president; Trump's insistence that the yet-to-be-held election is "rigged," and his innuendos that Clinton ought to be assassinated-these are not mere instances of overheated political rhetoric.

They're serious digressions from the political norms that have made self-government in America possible for more than 200 years.

The abandonment of those norms is perilous in the extreme.

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It's unsurprising that Democrats have decried these unsettling changes, but it's worth noting that conservatives who prize tradition and limited government also have objected. For example, Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer has noted that many Republicans complain about federal overreach, yet during the second presidential debate, Trump essentially promised that if he wins the election, he would use his presidential powers to jail Clinton (and he has likewise threatened to punish newspapers, individuals and others who may criticize him).

"In America," lamented Krauthammer, "we don't persecute political opponents."

Evidently, Cramer disagrees. While his comments about Trump's transgressions were predictably listless, his remarks about Clinton were radical and authoritarian, and that should alarm all patriotic North Dakotans.

Eric Burin

Grand Forks

Related Topics: KEVIN CRAMERELECTION 2016
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