Donald Trump created a lucrative professional career by advancing his offensive, abrasive personality into a very public forum. His dynamic use of curt and condescending language has catapulted him towards huge television ratings and made him a household name internationally. And now, he has turned that television fame into a real run at the presidency of the United States. Trump has sculpted a career around being arrogant, obnoxious, and confrontational, and his delve into politics has not curbed his hyperbolic, argumentative nature. As expected, he has built his entire presidential campaign on sensational, polarizing statements, and no campaign slogan in the history of the United States presidency elections has been as divisive and inherently racist as “Make America great again!”
“Make America great again,” subtly implies that America has somehow lost its greatness, and suggests that our first Black president is the reason that our country is no longer great. President Barack Obama being the first minority President of the United States does not automatically make this phrase racist. His successes as President do. President Obama revitalized the car industry, he saved the stock market, he brought down Osama bin Laden, and he championed LGBT rights. Trump’s slogan skillfully makes race an issue without ever alluding to skin color. It undermines his legacy and minimizes his efficacy as the leader of the free world. This simple, incendiary phrase not only debases the job that Barack Obama has done as President of the most powerful country in the world, but it also publicly undermines the capabilities of people of color. His affront on the president is an understated attack on the aptitude and abilities of minorities. And, coded language like “Let’s take America back,” further alludes to his desire to remove the only president of color in our nation’s long history. Minorities, and more specifically, Black people, are respected as long as they stay in “their place”. For years, the judicial system and the media have leaked mugshots, used angled, negative language, and highlighted stories that propagated the belief that ignorant, stereotypical behavior was normal behavior for minorities. So, instead of people seeing each person of color as an individual capable of making the same sound decisions that they themselves make on a daily basis, people of the minority are criminalized until they prove that they do not fit into those stereotypes. Trump said, in a plea to Black voters, “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?” This is his understanding of Black life in America. He thinks that most African American people are poor, ignorant, or violent, and it reflects in his tone with the most powerful man in the world. In the recent past, Donald Trump has attacked President Obama’s citizenship, publicly questioned his ability to lead, and criticized his decisions from affordable health care to ISIS to foreign policies. Since he could not question Obama’s integrity like so many other presidents, Trump spun a narrative about his effectiveness and roused the spirits of the community that never wanted him in the presidency.
Donald Trump has used campaign propaganda that is decidedly prejudiced and discriminatory from his primary slogan to his general rhetoric. He gives a voice to the only American people who do not need a voice, the racists and the sexists. By purposefully inciting the racist faction of the rural south and the isolated Midwest, he has given people license to say and do things that they would not generally do or say. He wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, and has publicly named the Mexicans who reside here as the rapists and killers that Mexico did not want. Violence against Muslim people has risen to heights that surpass the level of violence immediately after September 9/11 during Trump’s campaign. His vow to “Make America great again,” is one of the most destructive and divisive phrases in modern politics. His treatment of women has been deplorable, and his tactics with the President has been intentionally boorish and aggressive. And somehow, Donald Trump has convinced a majority of American voters to agree with his separatist agenda. He has allowed people to voice their overt racism.
‘The Trump Effect’ emboldens people to do questionable things.
‘Make America great again,’ is purposely bigoted, and the further you go back into America’s past, the worse it gets for minorities and the poor. 10 years ago under George W. Bush, the working class lost their homes and their jobs in the biggest economic depression since the Great Depression in the 1920s. 20 years ago, the judicial system ruled against Rodney King and set a precedent for unchecked police brutality against minorities that still stands today. Roughly 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan opened the Panama canal ushering in a flood of illegal drugs that still affect the American economy today. He doubled down by passing legislation that handed out harsher penalties to minorities who committed similar drug-related crimes to their White counterparts. Through the military draft 40 years ago, the Vietnam War forced minority American soldiers to fight for their country overseas while they were still being persecuted here in their homes. 60 years minorities were drinking out of separate fountains and eating in the back of restaurants while White people openly lynched them for protest. 100 years ago, minorities were hung from trees for attempting to vote, and 400 years ago, Black Americans were slaves. These people were considered to be subhuman. And, Donald Trump wants to take America back.
“Make America great again,” is a terrible, inflammatory slogan for the Trump campaign, but it is also completely effective. Without verbally saying anything that was technically bigoted or inappropriate, he incited all the racist ideals of the Grand Old Party members (GOP) and championed all of the ignorant people who have not had a voice over the last eight years. He used a broad coded rallying cry to unify the ignorant poor from the rural South, the working class from the Midwest, and the affluent one percent. Is Donald Trump’s campaign racist? Absolutely. The only question is whether his prejudiced campaign has influenced and changed the American voter for the worse or simply revealed it to be what it already was.