Every election cycle, the various partisan tribes describe how their opponent is dangerous to freedom and peace and claim we will be lucky to survive 4 years with this would-be tyrant in charge.

This election cycle has made me realize how dangerous that type of vitriolic political environment is because, assuming it was hyperbole, what happens when an actual threat to the world runs for office?

Question answered in the form of Donald Trump.

It’s often said that the president has his “finger on the button” regarding nuclear weapons, and often, people will step in with the condescending wisdom that it’s so much more complicated than that. It’s not as simple as pushing a button.

That’s true. It’s not.

But, according to John Noonan, it’s exactly as dangerous as you can imagine. And he would know, since he previously served in the United States Air Force’s Global Strike Command as a Minuteman III launch officer.

In this series of tweets he lays it out in frightening detail.

It’s almost worse than a button. It’s people. Americans. Soldiers. The people who actually turn the keys do it based on the idea that the person who is telling them to do it has a good reason. Whatever you think politically of Bush or Obama or Hillary or whoever, if it were you with this job, you would turn that key without hesitation because you’d have a belief that the president wouldn’t be telling you to turn them unless it was really, really, really necessary. If Trump gets elected, doubt has to start creeping in, which could create its own set of problems. The kinds of problems that start wars and end lives.

The idea that the Republican party, much less conservative ideas, would survive Trump is the definition of cognitive dissonance at this point. But perhaps the death of such things would be small potatoes compared to the terrifying reality of a sociopath with his finger on the button.