Donald Trump is the most openly racist, misogynistic, authoritarian and dangerous presidential candidate in recent United States history. Born into bourgeois privilege and brought up to value wealth and power instead of morality and decency, Trump has long had a reputation for bigotry and mistreatment of people. In the 1970s, he and his father were sued for racial discrimination in housing and had to settle the lawsuits.
In the 1980s, Trump called for the execution of five young African-American men indicted and convicted of raping a white woman. The Central Park Five were later exonerated on the basis of DNA evidence and paid $40 million by the city of New York, but Trump continues to insist they are guilty. His sexual escapades outside of his first two marriages were routinely publicized by New York tabloids for years. And Trump has led the racist “birther” campaign against President Barack Obama, falsely claiming he had not been born in the United States.
The Republican Party is responsible for this deplorable candidate and his followers. Republicans have been exploiting white voters’ racism since Nixon’s “Southern strategy” in 1968. More recently, racist reactions to the profound demographic changes in our country, the election of our first African-American president, and the mass immigration of people of color led to the tea party movement within the Republican Party, the resurgence of far right hate groups, and the emergence of Trump as a presidential candidate.
In the past 16 months, Trump has given voters a long list of reasons to ensure he never comes anywhere near the White House. This list includes his slander of Mexican immigrants as “criminals, drug dealers, (and) rapists,” his call for mass deportations, his stereotyping of African Americans as living in “hell,” his call for “registering” Muslim Americans and excluding other Muslims from entering the United States, his derision of women as “pigs” or “dogs” based on their physical appearance, his recently publicized boasts about assaulting women, and his mocking of disabled people.
This list also includes Trump’s promotion of violence against protesters at his rallies, his threats against the mass media, his endorsement of torture and murdering the families of suspected terrorists, his threat to imprison the Democratic presidential nominee if he is elected, his threats of war against Iran and North Korea, his endorsement of nuclear proliferation, his dismissal of climate change as a hoax by China, his declaration that wages are too high and his opposition to unions.
Trump was already on track to lose the presidential election when that salacious 2005 recording surfaced. Now several women have come forward with charges of unwanted advances or sexual assault by Trump. Amid this growing scandal and the increasing likelihood of a larger-than-expected Democratic presidential victory on Nov. 8, some Republican politicians have jumped off the Trump train. Local right-wingers like George Grace and Ray Holbrook should get over their fears of African Americans, immigrants, women and progressive social change — and withdraw their support of Trump, too.
David Michael Smith, Ph.D., is a former professor of government at College of the Mainland.