Debate-watchers on Twitter started sharing variations on the "Lord of the Rings" meme above; I'm having difficulty now retrieving some of those tweets, so I've duplicated it here. The general thrust was to point out the absurdity of trying to shut down a network of networks, or attempting to disconnect Web sites whose operator may be located in a completely different country and living under different laws.
Trump clearly has some learning to do on how the Internet works. And he's hardly alone: GOP lawmakers have recently suggested censoring the Internet to fight terrorism, and for years other members of Congress have floated the idea of an Internet killswitch. But mocking public figures for their ignorance is the easy part. Explaining why that ignorance endangers society is just as important.
Beyond all the technical reasons why shutting down the Internet would be rather difficult, Trump's remarks reflect an overwhelming sense that the Internet is somehow America's property, that it is "ours" because, you know, "it was our idea."
"I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet," Trump said. Even if we give Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume he simply meant "the parts of the Internet that Americans happen to frequent," the notion that those parts of the Web belong to the United States leads to a more favorable view of decidedly controversial policies, such as that the government can or should have unrestricted access to your digital data.
If Trump meant something more — that the Internet is a magical gift America bestowed on the rest of the world that can be taken away at will — it speaks to a worldview that attributes vast, imaginary powers to the Oval Office. And leadership is as much about understanding boundaries as it is about breaking them.