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 race. Donald 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?
Before you go assuring anyone Trump won't be president, please check whether you said the same about him becoming the presumptive nominee.
— Stephanie Zvan (@szvan) May 4, 2016
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