Never Has a Demagogue Reached This Point in Our Electoral System Before

Election '16

Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein joined Twitter Tuesday the only way an iconic journalist would: With an interview. In a Q&A session hosted through the video-sharing app Periscope, Bernstein critiqued Donald Trump’s nomination, calling this election “the Gettysburg of the American cultural wars.”

“Whoever wins this … whoever wins—the country is going to never be the same,” Bernstein told Twitter’s head of news Adam Sharp. “And it’s going to determine the future of our country for generations.”

Juxtaposing Trump with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Bernstein unloaded on the Republican candidate, characterizing Trump’s positions as “nativist,” and based “on bigotry and a bigoted idea of who we are and who we ought to be.”

“We’ve got to look at Donald Trump as unique in our history in terms of being the nominee of a major party for president,” Bernstein said. “Not only because he comes from outside the political system, but because of the views he holds and how extreme they are.”

“They are based on exclusion and it is totally outside the history of presidents of the United States,” Bernstein added.

Bernstein, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Watergate scandal that brought down Nixon, also argued Trump is an “authoritarian,” who “comes from a tradition of demagoguery.”

“He doesn’t say, we will do this, he doesn’t say, we will do this through our constitutional mechanisms," Bernstein said. “He doesn’t really believe—as we’ve heard—in the constitutional mechanisms."

“Never has a demagogue reached this point in our electoral system before," he added.

On Trump’s Democratic rival, Bernstein, who wrote a biography of HIillary Clinton, described the former Secretary of State as “having a difficult relationship with the truth.” But he also argued that much of the vitriol aimed at her comes from her position in the “crosshairs” of the culture wars, including the war over whether we should elect a female president.

"She is tenacious, she is able, she stands for certain things that she has not wavered from,” Bernstein said, noting Clinton “has been in the forefront of fighting for women’s rights, children’s rights, the rights of girls, as well as adult women.”

“Regardless of whether she wins or not, she has made it possible for a woman to be the president of the United States,” he said.

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