This week proves it.
Donald Trump is, quite possibly, the worst type of human being on the face of the earth. He is a walking parody of a parody of a wealthy, obnoxious bigot–an SNL skit about himself. He’s as likeable as week-old grits and it seems that there is not a group of people that he can’t offend: Muslims, women, the differently-abled, people of color. And because other Americans loudly and proudly share that disdain for said groups of people, he has a shot at becoming the next president of the United States. I mean who needs policy expertise, or any sort of political background, when you have hatred and “I know you are, but what am I”-styled retorts?
As many others have said but which was made painfully clear this week after a series of stomach-churning statements, including a quickly retracted plan to punish women who have abortions, the GOP must dump Donald Trump. If not, we’ll know 100% that he’s not their drunk uncle stumbling out of his bedroom to humiliate the family at Christmas as some in the party may wish to pretend. No, he will be the proud dad at the head of the table carving the turkey. And to the embarrassment of those who thought they’d done a more convincing job of pretending that the right wing voter base wasn’t littered with willfully ignorant, proud bigots who’d like to turn back the clock on the rights of women and people of color, the world is looking at Trump and saying, “America is even worse than we thought.”
If the Republican Party is dead because the wrong kind of elitist, racist, anti-woman candidate captured the hearts and minds of their base, I’ll gladly sing at the funeral. It seems likely that a Trump candidacy may be an early Christmas gift to the other side of the aisle. Certainly there must be a limit to the extent that conservatives will vote against their interests and polling implies that in the national election, Trump would fall to Hillary Clinton, and hard. If they decide to go against voters and select someone else at July’s national convention—which is going to be very interesting considering that it takes place in Cleveland, the place where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was gunned down by police—the toll may be equally great. Regardless of the outcome, it doesn’t look good for the party of Reagan.
For all the cartoonishness, there is little to laugh about when it comes to the rise of Trump and his galling xenophobia. However, a modicum of comic relief can be found via the apologia of journalists that helped make him a viable candidate by covering his every move and giving him more publicity than even he could buy, as well as the “I can’t believe this is really America” handwringing from those (White folks) who are stunned at his popularity.
Newsflash: Donald Trump is the most American thing to ever happen. He is a deep-fried, cheez sauce-doused, bacon-wrapped sparkler on the Fourth of July. When racism is currency, when a woman’s right to bodily autonomy is vulnerable to a few votes from privileged males who’d gladly force her to bear a child, and then shuttle said child from preschool to prison and a good number of folks still believe that President Obama is a Moozlum, you can’t pretend that Trump isn’t a mirror into the soul of the country.
The gauntlet has been thrown down to that ever-dangerous “White moderate” that Dr. King once warned of in Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Will this group continue to be apathetic and cautious when it comes to affirming the rights and dignity of disenfranchised, or will this new, more public face of hatred inspire them to act? Time will reveal, but in the meantime, it seems those who have been so deeply in denial about what this country has stood for time immemorial cannot hide under the covers much longer.
Jamilah Lemieux is EBONY Magazine’s Senior Editor.