Donald Trump doesn’t scare me. That racist, misogynistic, xenophobic bigot does not haunt me in my dreams.
Yes, most of what the Republican presidential nominee says is upsetting, degrading, dehumanizing and divisive. Yes, he cannot empathize for the loss of loved ones in war. Yes, he views all women as objects and all Mexicans as rapists and drug lords.
In fact, in recent weeks, Trump has demonstrated to the world that he is not a regular candidate. He is a political tornado spinning wildly out of control, leaving a trail of disaster behind him. And he shows no signs of stopping.
Of course this is concerning. No politician, let alone a presidential nominee, should promote such racism and hatred. But every country has their crazies, and I’d like to see Trump as just that: your run-of-the-mill crazy old white dude.
Unfortunately, he’s not just an infuriating narcissist, and he’s not simply an ignorant racist.
The difference between Trump and all the other crazies around the world is that he has millions of followers.
While it is offensive for someone to spew racist comments all day, there is less cause for concern if it falls on deaf ears. If you are sharing your bigoted sentiments on an international platform with countless individuals soaking up your words, then it's a problem.
Hitler would have been considered an unoriginal racist if millions of people had ignored him, but they didn’t, and people aren’t ignoring Donald Trump. His ideas of building walls, exiling Muslims and degrading women are gaining traction American society.
The presidential nominee is legitimizing hate speech, and his followers are normalizing racism, misogyny, Islamaphobia, etc. If bigotry is a fire, then Trump is the tiny kindling to ignite a flame, and the citizenry is the logs, burning long after the kindling has fizzled out.
Here’s a video of Trump supporters at rallies, uncensored, shouting things much more offensive than the nominee himself:
And that’s the problem with mob mentality: though the leader may share an idea or promote an activity, it is the masses that commit the most heinous crimes and carry the mentality to a new level.
Trump says to build a wall and his supporters say, ‘kill them all’. Trump says Obama made political mistakes and his followers shout, “F*ck that n*gger”. Trump says that Hilary Clinton is a criminal and his people scream, “Trump that bitch!”
The frequency with which Trump supporters use divisive, venomous, and often violent language is unparalleled in American history. The songs they chant, the shirts they wear, the sayings they shout and the signs they carry not only reinforce what Donald Trump says, but also go above and beyond the vitriol of his campaign.
Trump has been exclaiming racist, hateful, divisive, or wholly incorrect statements since his presidential bid last summer. That kind of rhetoric has dominated his entire political journey. Last year, during his announcement speech when he declared Mexicans to be rapists and drug lords, people thought he was just obscene. But as Hillary Clinton recently said, “he isn’t funny anymore, he’s dangerous.”
If Trump has been spewing the same vitriol this entire election, it seems nonsensical to say that he was funny then but dangerous now. Trump has been consistent in his bigoted platform, so logically, he is just as dangerous today as he was a year ago.
What has changed? His support.
When Donald Trump announced his presidential bid on June 16, 3015, even the most right wing commentators and analysts didn’t take him seriously. When he became the frontrunner for the GOP, there were still many pundits who believed his campaign would soon implode. But today, Trump is the Republican nominee and firmly in the lead and approximately half of all Americans consider him a serious candidate.
One starts to wonder, is Donald Trump only a real threat because he has such voracious supporters?
Trump should be an unnerving memory to us by now. He should have had his fun, performed his side show, and boosted his publicity. This should have been one of those “Oh my gosh, do you remember back when Donald Trump tried to run for President?” Instead, politicians, anchors and analysts alike dismissed Trump’s campaign as within the realm of legitimacy while citizens started to listen, accept and embrace the billionaire’s outlandish statements.
And while we like to think of the millions who support Trump as ignorant lemmings, they are not. Trump supporters, mainly white middle class Americans, are voting in their own favour.
In much the same way as countries in Europe are becoming increasingly xenophobic as the refugee crisis escalates, Americans are also living in a time of fear, hatred and resentment.
The middle class in the USA has been disappearing for the last decade. The average citizen, whose job is being outsourced or taken over by a machine, feels threatened. Minimum wage fails to provide families with the resources to feed their families.
Being poor and feeling helpless hurts one’s pride, and Americans are a proud people. The citizenry of USA are looking to regain their pride, which is exactly what Trump has promised.
Matt Bruenig recently wrote an article, Last Place Avoidance and Poor White Racism. In his essay he discusses how no one wants to be on the lowest rung of the proverbial ladder. To be at the bottom is to be disrespected and demeaned. But so long as racism stays alive and well, poor white people are guaranteed not to occupy society’s ‘last’ place. This is why they flock to Trump - the shame of occupying this position is so painful, that those fearing such demise are voting on it regardless of anything or anyone else.
Trump is a rich man with a loud voice, who has entranced millions of citizens with his divisive, racist and fear mongering politics. Based on hatred, fear and a need to reclaim their dignity, Americans are throwing the most powerful nation of the world into a downward spiral.
I am scared for the American citizenry just as much as I am scared of it.