Why Donald Trump is a Legitimate Threat

Please note that I will entertain exactly zero Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton debates in the comments. I am in no state to moderate and these conversations rarely lead anywhere good. This is about Donald Trump.

Yesterday, I was chilled to the bone upon hearing that Ted Cruz had dropped out. Today, my fears were confirmed by Kasich’s dropping out of the raceDonald Trump is likely going to be running for the office of president of the United States of America, and I don’t know if I want to be around to see what is going to happen.

Not helping are the many well-meaning individuals who try to give comfort by saying that he is a joke candidate worth nothing but mockery, he couldn’t actually be elected, other candidates would have been worse nominees, he would be unable to enact his policies if elected, he is going to change his mind as he always has, or his presidency would serve as a galvanizing force for the Left.

They are dead wrong. Nothing about any of that is helpful. This situation is real, and this is frightening.

Pointless Mockery: Let’s call him Drumpf, LOL!

Making fun of his name did splash damage on other people with funny names, like me (and unlike Donald Trump, who has never borne that surname), but didn’t manage to slow down let alone stop him. So much for that.

Thoroughly Disproven: He is too ridiculous of a candidate to really end up President.

When have I heard that before?

Oh, right. Before he got the nomination they assured me he couldn’t.

They also said that about Arnold Schwarzenegger, who ended up being my Governator. At the risk of Godwinning, let us remember people thought Adolf Hitler too silly a candidate to win, too.

Red Herring: Ted Cruz would have been an even worse nominee.

For the sake of argument, let’s accept that as though it were a true fact. What exactly does that change about the situation? Even if Donald Trump doesn’t get elected, his pending nomination stands by itself as a rather pointed statement as to what a not-insignificant portion of the population of my country thinks of me and my family. That I am an atheist does not exempt me from anti-Muslim bigotry, and it is a rather extreme version of that hatred that Trump espouses. I’m not one of Trump’s rich friends, either. Those supporting him either hate me as much as Trump does or think he’s worth supporting despite his hatred of me.

Anti-Muslim sentiments aside, Trump is a bad candidate even if you’re a conservative. He is as self-contradictory and capricious as you might expect a mediocre-at-best businessman like him to be. Yet here we are with him as the potential Commander in Chief. That he has come this far is enough.

Misplaced Optimism: President Trump wouldn’t be able to do everything he says he will.

If he enacts even a single one of the more awful policies he has proposed, America will not be a safe place for people in several minority groups. The President may not have all the power people unconsciously ascribe to that position, but there is a reason we care about who is elected to the White House. Veto power with Congress is important. The ability to kick off so-called police actions is important. Access to nuclear launch codes is important. Setting the tone and serving as a figurehead is important.

What is really chilling is the fact that politicians see their constituency as more conservative than it is. Under President Trump, how much further right would Republican elected officials move in an attempt to match their perception of the people they represent?

Relying on Unreliability: Now that he is the nominee, Trump will move to the center.

Depending on someone who has proven to be completely inconsistent to move the way you hope they will seems like an unwise move. Plus, America’s Overton Window is already far to the right compared to other nations. He will still be a far-right demagogue fascist if he softens up a little — or a lot. There is a hell of a lot of room for him to move Left before he reaches anything approximating an overall reasonable position.

Useless Speculation: Having a Trump administration will jump-start the Left into action.

How wonderful for those on the Left who aren’t going to be living under direct threat if Donald Trump is elected president. They will have a reason to rise up and act and start the revolution. The rest of us will either have to escape or resign ourselves to being collateral damage. They’ll cite us as the reason why they need to act. After all, it’s in the grand American tradition to build progress on the backs of oppressed groups.

Reality: Not only could it happen here, it already has happened, is happening here, and likely will continue to happen, all right here.

The inspiration for Nazi Germany came from American eugenics (Godwin strikes again). German-American, Japanese-American, and other minority groups were stripped of their freedom, their assets, and/or their livelihoods in the name of security at various points throughout US history.

Modern forms of eugenics are alive and well, no matter how dismissive certain famous atheists might be about it. The abuses enacted under the Patriot Act were widespread and a close reality for those of us with Muslim families and communities, not to mention the lies told by government agencies to us.

The current state of affairs is not likely to improve anytime soon. Enough of my fellow Americans have spoken. I know what they want, and it’s not a good life for me or my family. I don’t have any advice to give. I don’t have any solutions to offer. It’s hard to think of what could help in such a complex situation even if I weren’t in a frightened survival mindset. All I will say is that no one has any right to tell me that I’m paranoid, uninformed, or naive for fearing my fate.

Main image by Gage Skidmore

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Why Donald Trump is a Legitimate Threat

12 thoughts on “Why Donald Trump is a Legitimate Threat

  1. 2

    You have every right to be concerned. He shouldn’t have gotten this far, but here he is. One good ad campaign, a crisis, or misstep by Hillary could lead to victory. I just hope the Democratic party unites and not only defeats him, but takes back the Congress as well.

  2. 3

    Agreed on all of this. Another good comparison I’ve seen Italians make is Trump’s similarity to Silvio Berlusconi. He seemed a joke… until he got elected. And re-elected. Multiple times.

    For the item on “Having a Trump administration will jump-start the Left into action,” I think it’s worth comparing to the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections. The first elected Richard Nixon (301 electoral votes) over Hubert Humphrey (191) and George Wallace (46). The second one re-elected Nixon (520) over George McGovern (17). I’ve read about how the DNC shot itself in the foot in both elections by choosing unpopular candidates who endorsed some horrible policies. I’ve read about the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. But, I’d really like to hear from liberals who were politically active in that era – did it have the expected outcome? Did the Democratic Party respond by moving left or right following its election losses? Did the country overall move left or right during Nixon’s Presidency?

    1. AV
      3.1

      So your comment made me look up McGovern just to compare him (on my own liberal scale, so not scientific) to the Dems after…and the official party absolutely did NOT move left. Everyone from Carter to Obama has been more centrist than left. In fact, the Dems in office have often bowed to the pressures of the right. Now we can say that the DNC itself has done some sabotaging of the more liberal candidates. However, the fact remains that the GOP’s hate-fueled rhetoric has managed to pull this country more right, and Democrats haven’t actually done anything about it. Coupled that with persistent racism that has been stirred up by anti-Black backlash against Obama, and we have every right to be scared.

  3. 4

    Agreed on all points. As scary as I find Ted Cruz, being a queer black trans atheist who embodies much of what he literally preaches against, his dropping out of the race did not exactly make me sigh with relief. The Drumpf name-calling thing really irritates me too, as a trans person who changed their entire name legally and really does not appreciate being associated with their birth-assigned name (which, as you point out, wasn’t even the case with Trump anyway). There’s more than enough about the man to criticize without stooping to pointless mocking like that.

  4. 5

    I agree with everything you say about Trump. Were Cruz the expected nominee, I would be every bit as worried, only the details would be different.

    Complacency is not an option. People have died of intolerance and bigotry. Two of them are former students of mine who could not live with the anti-gay crap our society puts out by the ton. This election matters, and the Senate and House races are as important as the presidential race. The governors races are as important as the Senate and House races. (Just ask our North Carolina friends about their governor.) School boards matter. Mayors matter. City counsels matter.

    I hope Trump drives progressives to the polls in huge numbers, but I fear too many will count on all those other progrssives voting and not bother to vote themselves. We do this every mid-term. If we voted consistently in proportion to our numbers, this would be a very different and much better country.

  5. 6

    It’s not just you Americans who need to be concerned. The whole world needs to be. We all know how much damage American foreign policy has dealt to the globe in the last two decades (and the USA’s continued refusal to deal with the consequences like the refugee crisis). The price will be paid by the poor nations in the Middle East and somewhat by Europe in the form of increased terrorism AND a further shift to the right.
    So, yeah, as much as I hate the USA being the “World Leader”, you de facto are, so this concerns all of us.

  6. 7

    Another scary point: his success normalises a whole collection of really nasty, regressive attitudes. Even if he loses badly, there’s a constituency out there that will be energised by his candidacy. However the election goes, I would expect an increase in both extreme right-wing organising, and even more worryingly, violent attacks against minorities of all sorts. As we’re fond of saying in other contexts, representation matters…

    1. 7.1

      I think you hit on the point that scares me the most, personally (and I’m watching this from north of the border): Trump is firing up and empowering the absolute worst elements of American society. He’s telling them they’re right, he’s telling them they’ll win, and when they don’t win there’s no way in hell that Trump will concede graciously to allow a peaceful transition of government.*
      They may not represent a majority, but there’s still millions of these people, and for the first time in decades a mainstream politician is saying what they’ve all been thinking, except not in dog whistles but out loud and without apology. That’s dangerous. His supporters are not going to go away just because they lost, even if they lose in a landslide (Obama had two landslides and some of them refuse to accept that he’s even an American).
      There is going to be some serious ugly happening in the near future, and one way or another it’s only going to get worse after the election.
      *Hillary’s probably going to win, but nothing’s guaranteed. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how a chump like W. beat out Al Gore.

  7. 8

    “I don’t have any advice to give. I don’t have any solutions to offer.”

    GotV, I guess. A genuine fucking fascist just won a major party’s nomination. That means that there are enough fascist sympathizers out there for that to happen; add in all the good little GermansRepublicans who will line up behind their party’s nominee in the general and I just don’t know how to handle that. Only thing to do is get our asses in gear and do everything we can to ensure that more of us than them show up to the polls in November.

  8. 10

    Even if I agreed with every single policy proposal that spews out of the Donald’s mouth, I could never support him because of his flagrant disregard for the truth. The bit about Rafael Cruz and Oswald is only the latest example — there’s the business about Clinton being behind the birther rumors, which has been thoroughly debunked many times, and yet which he cheerfully keeps repeating. The worst one is the “thousands of Muslims cheering on 9/11 in New Jersey” falsehood, which has the potential to do deadly harm to real people, and which he STILL, unbelievably, has not apologized for.

    Anyone who could consider voting for a person who is willing to willfully to that much damage, for whatever reason, simply can’t be considered a person worthy of respect in this country.

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