Donald Trump’s presidential campaign isn’t going particularly well—in fact, it appears to be on a path to spectacular implosion.
Trump is polling double digits behind Hillary Clinton, influential GOP figures have refused to endorse him or endorsed Clinton instead, he lacks basic campaign infrastructure, and to top it off, the self-proclaimed “billionaire” only has about $3 million on hand, which is hardly enough for a successful congressional run, let alone a presidential one.
At this stage, Trump possesses a negligible chance to actually beat Clinton in the general election (especially considering his abysmal numbers with Latinos, women, and virtually every minority group); however, defeating Trump for the presidency is not a victory that comes without a steep price.
The success of Trump’s campaign was a Pandora’s box: He opened the floodgates to unfettered ugliness and hatred, and now it is impossible to contain, regardless of who emerges as our presidential figurehead.
The danger of Trump lingers long past a general election. The racism and bigotry he legitimized with his rhetoric was simply lying dormant within the Republican Party—Trump awoke a not-so-silent majority, and his decisive victories in numerous states demonstrated that they are the dominant constituents of the GOP.
Trump’s reign of political influence may be temporary, but the complications he has cultivated are permanent. We are at a crucial juncture in American history—following the civil rights movement and significant victories for the LGBTQ movement, there has been a strong generational push from millennials to eliminate bigotry.
In lieu of these efforts, Trump has fueled what could be decades of burgeoning hostility toward America’s growing minority populations. It’s been evident for some time that white, working class Americans have become frustrated with the lack of economic growth and stagnant wages. However, rather than recognize government policies such as deregulation, free trade agreements, and trickle-down economics were largely the cause of this, the blame has unilaterally shifted toward Latinos, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans.
This xenophobia and normalized racism could be a permanent side effect of Trump’s campaign. Coded language is no longer necessary; individuals feel open to express hatred publicly, expecting no repercussions. We have witnessed this countless times in the past year with racist taunts hurled on a daily basis, coming everywhere from people in their mid-50s to middle school children.
At a vital moment in which the youngest generation should be growing up without notions of racism, a sense of the “other” has been instilled in many children, who will likely carry that with them into adulthood.
Our presidential choice cannot change this trajectory. It might only inflame it—a mainstream Democrat such as Clinton will only continue to stoke the anger of a far right-wing that has become bolder and more brazen due to Trump.
A Clinton win is not a victory for Democrats or Americans, after which we can erase Trump and his farce of a campaign.
This has, unfortunately, become a long-term battle for the future and the soul of America. It is inevitable that the U.S. is on the path to becoming a minority white country—the only question is whether this will occur with a sense of inclusivity and unity, or whether what Trump has begun will thrive and prevail.
Banner Image Credit: Flickr, Michael Vadon