As of last week Donald J. Trump secured himself enough delegates to become the presumptive Republican nominee in the US general election, reaching a level of electoral success that has already blown away both his supporters and critics alike. Whilst it is easy to laugh off the businessman and television personality turned politician for the incredulous figure that he has shown himself to be, it is painfully clear that he is a far more credible candidate than the general consensus once thought, becoming a front-runner in the race to the presidency.
When Trump announced his intent to run for President in 2015 it seemed the overall response both within and outside of the United States was bemusement, with few appearing to really take his candidacy seriously. The idea of Trump reaching the position of Republican nominee was not one that most even saw worth entertaining, yet eleven months later he has achieved the impossible, and it brings to bear the terrifying prospect that a Donald J. Trump led America is potentially inching closer.
Donald J. Trump is more than an idiotic cartoon character, he is a physical representation of bigotry, racism and sexism, and of how easy it is to vindicate innocent groups. America is a country with a littered history of segregation and racism, and sadly its future is looking increasingly similar. Trump’s campaign has seen barbaric and archaic statements, such as calls for the building of a wall to keep out Hispanics and physically separate the United States from Mexicans who are supposedly out to ‘kill’ US citizens, suggesting and promoting the banning of Muslim immigration, and the use of terms like ‘Pocahontas’ in reference to a Native American identifying Senator. The underlying tool for building support behind his campaign is polarisation. In tirelessly promoting minority groups as a threat to American values and using a damning rhetoric around innocent sections of society, Trump has been able to play on socio-economic grievances and cultural fears that were sadly prevalent in many parts of the world long before he came into the picture.
Opinion polls and election result predictions aside, the more fundamentally alarming aspect of Trump’s campaign is, therefore, the ferocity of the support behind the incredulous figure that he is. More worrying than the Republican candidate’s own views and ludicrous comments, is the intensity with which Trump’s vulgar statements have resonated with a large portion of not only the US public, but many around the world. In a day and age where the spread of Islamic State and the increased frequency of terrorist attacks by Islamic extremist groups are hijacking the news channels and subsequently, (sadly) the name of Islam itself, Trump’s message has never been more poignant to some. There has never been a more receptive time (barring in the wake of 9/11, perhaps) for a public figure as bigoted, racist, and Islamophobic as Trump to work to vindicate an entirely innocent portion of society in the United States.
If I were Muslim, Hispanic, Native American, or another minority group, living in the United States, I would be terrified. I would fear for my security, my property, and my life, and I would be entirely uncertain as to what the future would hold for myself or my family. In 2016 I believe that we, collectively, should feel ashamed that someone like Donald J. Trump has been able to get so far with such a repulsive message and rampant Islamophobia.
Whilst it is easy to mock Trump for the barbaric character that he is, one must detach him from this and see him in the fundamentally dangerous light that he places himself within. His idea of what constitutes a politician is fundamentally flawed: in the face of adversaries or unknown situations he resorts to vulgar insults, sexist propositions and broad, ridiculous suggestions. He has referred to women as ‘fat pigs’, ‘slobs’, critiqued their appearance, and even referred to the ‘blood coming out of’ one woman’s ‘wherever.’ Seemingly lacking any basic understanding of how to treat a woman as an equal, Trump resorts to either mockery or wooing them. Unsurprisingly, the latter fails to get him very far. Being a successful businessman (and even this reputation has been called into question) is not enough. Trump demonstrates neither the vitally important abilities of diplomacy or mediation that a politician, let alone a President, needs to navigate in the complex game of politics.
Without a doubt, Donald J. Trump will not ‘Make America Great Again’. Were he to actually win in November, I see him as doing the complete opposite. As amusing as Trump may seem physically in his ridiculous mannerisms, we must not lose sight of the divisive and fundamentally dangerous message that he is perpetuating and encouraging.
I truly believe that the United States can do better than Donald J. Trump. Losing the prospect of an America under someone like Bernie Sanders, to an America under a sexist, racist bigot like Donald J. Trump will be a crying shame for US citizens and humanity alike.