In 2016, Donald Trump trumpeted he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody,” yet not “lose any voters,” an early warning to America about Trump’s lawless-what-can-I-get-away-with mentality.

In spring 2019, Trump re-tweeted, validating a radio talk show host’s words, that “the Jewish people love (Trump)” as though “he’s the King of Israel,” like “he is the second coming of God,” a profanity simultaneously making Trump, in his delusional grandiosity, the equivalent of the American state and God’s anointed. In summer 2019, speaking to American teenagers at the White House, Trump falsely asserted that the Constitution says that “I can do whatever I want as President,” a profoundly un-Constitutional statement made in our national home to impressionable youth.

In 1776 and after, Americans won freedom from the British to govern ourselves and, importantly, to elect our leaders without influences from foreign powers. Americans have historically resisted tyrants, here and abroad, creating specific constitutional obstacles to foreign influence because of historical experience with corrupt heads of state treacherously advancing self over country.

Elections are the bedrock of American democracy. Trump’s astonishing denial of Russian election interference, his trite warning to Russia not to interfere in 2020 elections and his initial attempts to hide his bold solicitation of Ukrainian assistance, a Mafia-like shakedown to defeat personal rivals, were crystalline clear attacks on our Constitution.

But having failed to bury his tyrannical, self-serving assault on American elections, Trump has shifted to the “Big Lie” to attempt to make his treacherous actions appear to be common and legal by, in our faces, brazenly soliciting foreign involvement in our elections to his benefit, ignoring the Constitution and history’s lessons. Democracy has been shot, and will be shot again, by Trump, who remains standing, as yet un-arrested, in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

John Erickson