Opinion: President’s Trump’s jailing of Hillary Clinton could destroy American democracy

Presidential debate in St. Louis
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks while Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes notes.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

To the editor: Donald Trump’s threat to jail Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton if he is elected is not only unprecedented, but it also subverts a foundational principle in America’s political system: that of the loyal opposition. (“Donald Trump promises, if elected, to appoint prosecutor to target Hillary Clinton: ‘You would be in jail,’” Oct. 9)

As a retired professor of history, I taught students about the sanctity of this principle.

Beginning with the highly charged election of 1800, in which challenger and Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson defeated incumbent Federalist President John Adams, the party of opposition and its standard-bearer were treated as loyal. The recognition of that loyalty is what made possible for the first time in modern world history the peaceful, election-based transfer of power from one national leader and party to another. 

If Trump wants to make America great again, he should begin by honoring this hallmark of our political system. Without this principle, democracy cannot work.


Thomas Osborne, Laguna Beach


To the editor: What country would the U.S. do well to look to as a model?

During the primary campaign we heard Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders suggest Denmark, with its high taxation and citizen buy-in, as a desirable goal. Clinton pronounced the United States, more or less as is, a sufficient standard.


And then Sunday night we heard Trump, with his promise to prosecute and jail his opponent, reveal that Brazil is his idea of the right way to run the country.

Tim Clark, Los Angeles

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