“Many times throughout this election season, Donald Trump has proven himself unfit to be president of the United States, and this is precisely why he is the most important candidate.
Trump’s rhetoric is blunt and unrestrained, his demeanor undiplomatic. As commander-in-chief, he would be a national security risk, and his proposed trade policies make him an international economic liability. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Trump has exposed and debunked the greatest fiction to date that both the left and the right claim as fact. According to these experts in fabrication, the election of Barack Obama proves that America is a post-racial society. The American people elected a black man as President. We have supposedly reached the finish line of racial progress.
While Trump is undoubtedly sexist and racist, he is not stupid. Rather, he is a tactful and brilliant opportunist who has managed to captivate the fears of a largely uneducated, poor and rightfully angry white America. It would be wrong and callous for me to suggest that these Americans shouldn’t be angry: American jobs have gone overseas due to the rise of globalization and the economically rational push by multinational corporations to cut costs. The rise of technology and the internet has also contributed to the shrinkage of job opportunities in this country. This problem can be encapsulated in a simple rhetorical question: why pay 10 men and women to do a job when a machine can do it more cheaply and efficiently? Simply put, Americans are realizing that they are woefully unprepared for the workforce and mediocrity will not cut it anymore.
Americans are likewise angry about racial tensions in this country. The “controversy” surrounding affirmative action has brought cases to the Supreme Court involving white plaintiffs arguing that their spots at colleges were taken by minority students. For example, in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, a white woman claimed to have been discriminated against by the university on the basis of race. The university’s “Top 10 Percent Program” guarantees admission to top students in every high school in the state under Texas House Bill 588, and this program has lead to increased diversity. Oddly enough, the plaintiff Abigail Fisher finished in the top 12 percent of her graduating high school class.
Considering this, it is absolutely and objectively absurd that the Fisher v. University of Texas case was able to make it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case serves as a sobering reminder to Americans that the American legal system continues to not only protect but also benefit certain individuals. Our country’s justice system never ceases to amaze — regardless of seemingly counterfactual evidence and confounding circumstance detailed in chapters of our American history.
Trump welcomes the Abigail Fishers of America to his rallies and encourages them to release their anger through racism and bigotry. By doing so, Trump has tacitly recognized that his voter base is fundamentally driven and catalyzed by racial, religious and xenophobic fears. Immigration? Build a wall to stop the Mexicans from coming in and stealing jobs from and killing and raping American men and women. In addition, halt all Muslim immigration until ISIS is nuked. Economic woes? Screw China. Police brutality? Blacks need to stop resisting arrest. These supposed panaceas he proposes are working, at least when it comes to his campaign. In some national polls, he is in a virtual deadlock with his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s use of bigotry and racism as a vehicle for electoral success is not new in American politics. In 1962, former Alabama governor George Wallace, for example, initially rejected the support of the Ku Klux Klan and was eventually endorsed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People instead. Despite the NAACP’s support, however, Wallace lost the gubernatorial election, leading him to instead adopt a hardline segregationist stance — a stance that would eventually help he successfully be elected governor four times. Like Wallace, Trump recognizes how racism is a fundamental fabric sewn so deeply into our country that it determines the fate of politicians.
Thankfully, unlike Wallace in 1962, I do not believe Trump will win this election.
I cannot believe that Trump will win this election.
However, when Trump walks off the stage after his concession speech, I will tip my hat to him. He did America a public service and saved us from believing the fiction that we are past racism, that we are a post-racist society, that we don’t see color. By exposing America’s most carefully bandaged and infected wound, he has now given us the opportunity to further heal and treat a 240 year-old gash in our collective ethos. Even if Trump loses, tens of millions of people will still harbor hateful beliefs and feel they were wronged.
It’s our job not to forget them.
As First Lady Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.”
Donald Trump, thank you.”
-Duncan Blair, Dartmouth College