This week Donald Trump crossed the delegate threshold he needs to secure the Republican nomination. And the nation crossed the danger threshold of electing the most unstable, unready and extreme president in U.S. history. But not to worry, says Paul Manafort. In an interview with HuffPost's Howard Fineman, the Trump campaign manager assures us Trump will show America he can "fill the chair." And that ban on Muslims? "He's already started moderating on that," Manafort said. "He operates by starting the conversation at the outer edges and then brings it back towards the middle. Within his comfort zone, he'll soften it some more." The problem is that softened racism, xenophobia and misogyny are no less dangerous. Though the media, which has already retreated to horserace coverage, won't call Trump out, others will. Sheila Foster Anthony, sister of the late Vince Foster, spoke up about Trump's airing of conspiracy theories about her brother's death. "It is beyond contempt," she wrote, "that a politician would use a family tragedy to further his candidacy." But that's where Trump lives. And it should never be a part of America's comfort zone.
The speech is, after all, called the State of the Union, not the State of the World. So perhaps President Barack Obama can be excused for dwelling on the American economy in his remarks Tuesday night, and all but ignoring the economic and political crises of the planet. There was lots of talk about how the U.S. has come back from the Great Recession, and about the president's plan (which the Republican-dominated Congress is likely to reject) to use new government programs and tax cuts to make up for the troubling stagnation of middle-class wages. But however assertive Obama was about the durability and creativity of the U.S. economy, he had little to say about global matters -- from economics to terrorism to the environment.