Why Not Trump?

Posted by Alex Schaffer on

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump stood on a stage and pleaded with black American voters using an argument along the lines “What do you have to lose?” Typically, this is an argument we use with ourselves everyday on low stakes decisions like “should I eat dessert?” or “will I have another drink after dinner?” When it is done in something with a low cost relative to our overall wealth with minimal negative effects, we’re only affecting our own well-being in a rather benign way.

Donald Trump wants you to use this same logic when voting for him. Voting is relatively low effort and low cost, even when factoring in any time you might have to spend standing in line. Your vote doesn’t have much of a tangible effect on the world around you. It’s almost too easy to think that you can’t and won’t have any real effect on the outcome. In truth, the odds of any individual casting the decisive vote in a presidential election is astronomically low. However, we shouldn’t let the lack of control of our collective fate factor into our voting decisions. We have to cast every ballot like it decides the election.


Unlike your dessert decision, this election will have long lasting, global implications. If Trump were to become President, he will make decisions that will affect future generations of the world at a critical point in history. Donald Trump frequently describes America as a nation in ruin, but that could not be a further juxtaposition with the truth. As the world’s leading economic, military, cultural, and scientific influencer, America wields an extraordinary amount of power. Our markets and military are the largest. Our movies and tv shows gross the most and are watched the world over. However, there remains many areas of our society that we can improve greatly.


For instance, Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge things that seem to be indisputable facts. He suggests that global climate change is a Chinese hoax. He routinely disputes generally accepted facts and figures, refuses to take the word of advisors, and resorts to non-fact-based theories that fly in the face of reality. Trump’s fast and loose relationship with the truth has ushered in a new era of fact-check journalism.


By adopting some popular conservative viewpoints to his platform, he’s swindled the second largest political party in the country to play with his skewed version of the facts. His poisonous dialogue has distracted from the fact that his policies amount to the traditional GOP standby of trickle-down economics, de-regulation to drive business growth, and most recently pledging to restore “Law and Order”.

Trump’s tax policies would allow the upper echelons of society to continue to profit from a tax code catered to the ways they make money. His calls for de-regulation would continue to erode the public’s trust in institutions, while making products and industries more dangerous. His call to restore order comes at a time, when violent crime in America is close to an all-time low and flies in the face of public protests against police departments for draconian enforcement and lack of accountability.


In spite of this, or maybe because of, Trump is striking a chord with large parts of the American populace by tugging on the racial undertones of economic recovery. This strategy is comparable to the Know-Nothing Party of the 1850s that demonized Irish and German immigrants and the Pope and promised a restoration of traditional American values. The Know-Nothings rose from the factioned Whig Party, which had lost two of the previous three presidential elections, and played on the economic strife of Americans by placing the blame squarely on minorities and immigrants. Know-Nothings sought legislation that prevented immigrants and Catholics from holding government jobs, attaining citizenship, and stoked sentiments that led to violence and riots in several American cities. Sound familiar?


One lesson we can take from history, is how today’s America can defeat this socio-political movement. Make sure Trump loses and loses soundly. Defeat and the public embarrassment accompanied by it will be the surest way that we counteract the damage being done by Trump throughout this campaign. The sentiments held by Trump are not going anywhere in our society and they seem to pop up with a new set of scapegoats every generation. The scapegoats have changed, but the hate remains the same. We can make this go away on November 8, but we’re only going to get one chance.

Alex Schaffer

 

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