Donald Trump imperils our future

I’m not a praying person, but when I heard that Hillary Clinton was ill with pneumonia I sent up a few prayers for her speedy recovery.

When new polls indicated that Donald Trump was gaining support, I started saying prayers for the whole country.

This man has been exposed as a serial liar (by PolitiFact and The Washington Post Fact-Checker), as an incompetent businessman (four bankruptcies), as a Vietnam era draft dodger (four deferments), as a racist and misogynist (multiple public statements). Why is he still attracting 45 percent of American voters?

His candidacy is propelled by a powerful cult of personality — the Trump brand — decades in the making, and abetted by the shrewd, force-multiplying power of modern media.

An admirer of Benito Mussolini and Vladimir Putin, Trump projects himself as a strongman, incapable of error, who is the only man who can possibly save the nation from decline. “I alone can fix it,” he declared in his speech at the GOP convention.

Mussolini was a preening, macho bully who promised to make Italy great again by bringing back the glory days of the Roman Empire. By the end of World War II, however, he was murdered by his own people and Italy lay in ruins.

Like Mussolini, Trump represents arrogance, belligerence and a threat to democratic values.

How can a man who obtained $885 million in tax breaks to build his real estate empire in Manhattan be serious about reforming the tax code to make it fair for average folks?

How can someone who brags about making large donations to political candidates in return for favors be expected to change the way business is done in Washington, D.C.?

Why does someone who claims he wants to bring more jobs and prosperity to Americans have a record of stiffing contractors on his company’s construction projects? Why does he want to abolish the minimum wage?

How would a President Trump respect and implement decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, given the contempt he has shown for our laws and judges?

Why would any American candidate express admiration for Vladimir Putin, a dictator who invades neighboring countries and murders political opponents and journalists?

And what does it say about an electorate that would elevate to the presidency a man who publicly mocks people with disabilities? Who questions the heroism of Vietnam War POW and longtime public servant John McCain? Who vows to round up and deport over 10 million people living and working among us?

If Trump is elected, his policies and actions will lead to constitutional crises over executive power, separation of powers, due process, First Amendment rights — you name it. His clumsy pronouncements are bound to alienate allies and trigger new conflicts. We could see public disorder on a scale not seen since the Civil War.

Trump has to be stopped, and voting for Hillary Clinton is the only way to do it.