Buried beneath the almost daily stream of alarming headlines relating to the campaigns of the two major-party candidates for president have been two less remarked upon, but no less ominous developments. The first has to do with the emergence of former American military and intelligence figures who have questioned whether a Trump victory in November would be legitimate. (Trump himself has indulged in similar rhetoric by falsely charging that the election would be “rigged” in Clinton’s favor). The second is the Clinton campaign’s newfound alliance with the influential and well-funded neoconservative lobby.
That Clinton is the preferred candidate of the military establishment is by now old news. From the time she entered the Senate, Clinton has made conspicuous efforts to win over “the brass,” and she has largely succeeded. Retired Marine Gen. John Allen’s raucous endorsement of Clinton at the Democratic National Convention last month testifies to that fact. Yet, troublingly, Allen, like several other prominent former military and intelligence officials, has done more than simply endorse Clinton, he has taken to the airwaves to declare that a Trump victory would create “a civil military crisis, the like of which we’ve not seen in this country before.”
Former NSA and CIA director General Michael Hayden recently appeared on Morning Joe to warn that a Trump presidency “may actually strain and test the fabric of our civilian military control.”
Meanwhile, in early August, former four-star general Barry McCaffrey wrote an op-ed in which he denounced Trump as “unqualified to be the president of the United States and fulfill the role of commander in chief of the 2.2 million men and women of the Armed Forces.” McCaffrey then appeared on MSNBC and claimed that a Trump victory would result in a “constitutional crisis.” One has to wonder why McCaffrey’s interlocutor failed to follow up and ask him what he meant: How would a Trump victory result in a “constitutional crisis” if the election was free and fair?