Members of the New York Times editorial board have penned an unprecedented 1500-word piece they believe will derail Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions, as revealed during an interview the newspaper’s editors granted to the Dandy Goat.
Slated to be published next week, the editorial masterfully combines erudition, factual analysis, exemplary prose and just enough swagger to persuade the most loyal Trump supporters to reconsider for whom they will vote in November.
The piece opens with a line from the ancient Athens playwright Aristophanes that describe a true demagogue as one who, with “a screeching horrible voice” and “a cross-grained nature,” spews the crude “language of the marketplace.”
“Aristophanes is a most apt selection, as his keen moral insight will encourage Donald Trump devotees to take heed of classic wisdom and rein in their unbridled passions,” said editorial page editor Simon D. Brain.
National politics editor Inge Herrant-Baez says that the piece is sufficiently hard-hitting to take down the brash and resilient New York property developer, and that she and the other contributors labored to include ample superlatives, the sort of language that excites the candidate’s base of rural, middle-class white voters.
“We write that Donald Trump represents the most pestiferous voice in U.S. presidential politics since the segregationist George Wallace, and that the most defensible option, given the presumptive field, would be to vote for the least pernicious candidate, Hillary Clinton.” [emphasis added]
Herrant-Baez says that she and the seven other contributors eschewed adjectives that might convey an overbearing bookishness or inability to connect with “persons less swayed by florid language.” She noted that the word “parochial” in an early draft was changed to “intolerant,” and that after a heated discussion in the editorial office, “mendacious” was scrapped in favor of “deceitful.”
Deputy editorial page editor Marianne Urbane-Longword says that her task was to carefully select which verb endings should be elided, the result of which is a characterization of Trump as a “big talkin’, fast walkin’ entrepreneur.”
“That’s what Trump fans love, right, a cavalier attitude toward correct pronunciation,” she said. “Right?”
“If this carefully crafted, pointed critique doesn’t extinguish the looming menace of a Donald Trump presidency once and for all, nothing will,” said Jeanne Aveugle-Sourd, an editorial page intern and student at Columbia’s journalism school.
The piece concludes by employing the rhetorical device known as a chiasmus — an inversion of clauses for dramatic effect — which all parties agreed communicated the urgency with which Trump must be defeated. They also expressed a hope that the syntactic structure would harken back to great orators such as Cicero and Pericles, to whom Trump shows no resemblance.
“Donald Trump says he will make America great again; no, great again we will make America when we trump Donald.”