For me, Trumpism emerged from the 2016 Republican debates. Trump’s obscene, ad hominem attacks lanced into the other Republican candidates like a spear, making him look like an unprincipled blowhard — aggressive and brutal but not much of a threat to win — not a person who could end up as our president.

Now, I think he’s an unprincipled strongman; a person who can threaten our democracy and dismantle whatever political balance we have, conservative or liberal or in between.

Trump’s known history suggests business ethics from the heart of darkness, that is thousands of lawsuits as he stiff arms contractors and workers in his hotels, casinos and golf courses. Additionally, in his egomaniacal self-description as a “very stable genius” suggests a boss-like dictator, as in mafia, with no underbelly of loyalty other than fear or greed. This may be the key to the elected congressmen who parrot Trump’s daily tweet fest just to get reelected.

My fear is that this fake-news president with his hate for democracy, including legitimate news — not the propaganda generated by the likes of Fox News — could destroy our freedom, as in a dissenter-poisoning Putin, Kurd-hating Erdogan or a newsman-killing Salman that incinerate their country’s freedoms.

The Trump threat is great. Finding a candidate to beat Trump supersedes all other options. Is the right candidate among twenty-three democrats who are running? Hopefully? We shall see.

Richard H. Keller, Salt Lake City