By Natalie Rich
Mr. Trump: You don’t know me. You’ll likely never know me. And I’m allright with that. Giddy, even. But gone are the days where I could laugh bitterly when I heard your name in conjunction with the Presidential election. And gone are the days when I could try to ignore your racism and misogyny.
Here’s the thing, Mr. Trump: you’re winning. At the time this will be published, you will have won at least 19 out of 31 primaries. People are turning out in droves to see you speak. You dominate the news with your catchy soundbites calling Mexicans “rapists” and supporting banning Muslim immigration. So I’m forced to take you seriously, even though every fiber of my being wants to deny your legitimacy.
The truth is, I’m not convinced you’re really a conservative. I believe that you believe in what you say about Muslims, Mexicans, women, and black people, but at the heart of your politics, I think you’re more moderate than your supporters. The minute any of your opponents or a newsperson asks you about your domestic or foreign policies, you start spewing random rhetoric and avoid the question. It’s skillful, really, how you manage to avoid losing support despite never detailing policies that you would enact as President.
That being said, I should address your supporters. I will admit, your popularity has made me realize that there is an unheard electorate in our country: middle-class, blue-collar workers whose way of life is dying out. Globalization killed the Midwest: the automakers and corporations all took their business across the ocean, and screwed over millions of people. I’m not here to pass judgement on whether or not globalization is ethical, or pragmatic, but it’s a reality that the people you appeal to are those who would be hurt most. But, to speak directly to your supporters: Trump is not the answer to your problems, and brown people are not the enemy. In the 1920s, Germany was in ruins. World War One had ruined its economy and ravaged its population, and the people were destitute. An enthusiastic, passionate speaker began gaining support by saying that he could fix the economy, get Germans their jobs back, and “make Germany great again.” To do this, he pointed to a specific group of “dangerous” people who he blamed for the German people’s unemployment. The Hitler analogy isn’t original, but it applies. Jews were not to blame for the German economic collapse, and Mexicans and Muslims are not to blame for the job losses in the blue-collar sector, or violence in the country.
In closing, Mr. Trump, I am not voting for you. Neither am I voting for Cruz or Kasich. It’s the equivalent of choosing among arsenic, cyanide or strychnine. But I fear for the world in which you are winning because to me, it means that we have lost our way. Some say that if you win, it’s what we deserve. But I think we can do better. I think that the America that you promise to Make Great Again is one that, with or without you, is moving towards inclusivity and acceptance, not fear-mongering and discrimination.