"The mission of any responsible Republican should be to block a Trump nomination and election," The Washington Post editorial board writes

By Tierney McAfee
Updated March 17, 2016 01:20 PM
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The Washington Post has published a strongly worded editorial warning against the dangers of Donald Trump and calling on the Republican Party to block the controversial GOP front-runner’s path to the nomination with a brokered convention.

“The mission of any responsible Republican should be to block a Trump nomination and election,” the Post begins.

The newspaper’s editorial board compares Trump to other dangerous “strongmen” throughout history, and says it’s the threat to American democracy that Trump presents, rather than his “perilously wrong” policy proposals, that is the “crux of the danger.”

“Mr. Trump resembles other strongmen throughout history who have achieved power by manipulating democratic processes,” the board writes. “Their playbook includes a casual embrace of violence; a willingness to wield government powers against personal enemies; contempt for a free press; demonization of anyone who is not white and Christian; intimations of dark conspiracies; and the propagation of sweeping, ugly lies.”

This is not the first time the Post‘s editorial board has spoken out against Trump. The paper also published editorials condemning the real estate mogul’s campaign – and the GOP’s response to it – in November and February under the headlines “Republicans need to stand up to Trump’s bullying” and “Republican leaders’ silence on Trump is inexcusable – and irrational.”

Newspaper editorial boards often weigh in on presidential races with endorsements and cautions but the language and timing of this one – coming just after Super Tuesday results that left Trump the likely nominee and carrying all the gravitas that comes with being The Washington Post– is unusual and noteworthy.

Pointing to what they call Trump’s championing of torture and the “murder of innocent relatives of suspected terrorists,” his “flirtation” with the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists, and his stereotyping of Mexicans and Muslims, the Post‘s board warns that Trump must be stopped – although not at the expense of democracy or the Republican party itself.

“We are not advocating that rules be broken but that they be employed to maximum effect – to force a brokered convention and nominate a conservative candidate who respects the Constitution, or to defeat Mr. Trump in some other way,” the editorial says.

“There are some Americans, Democrats in particular, who are happy to watch the Republican Party self-destruct with Mr. Trump at the helm. We cannot share in their equanimity the country needs two healthy parties and, ideally, a contest of ideas and ideology – not a slugfest of insults and bigotry.”

The editorial closes by denouncing Trump’s suggestion on Wednesday that his supporters will riot if he doesn’t win the nomination.

“A democrat disavows violence; a demagogue wields it as a threat,” the board writes. “The Republican Party should recognize the difference and act on it before it is too late.”