A candidacy that was initially considered a joke by the public and the media has now headlined news outlets for the last four months, with Trump offering statements that insult every minority, presidential contender, and sensible person – without political cost to the man himself.
As the year comes to an end and the Iowa Primaries loom ever-closer, Americans are sweating as the Donald Trumpocalypse continues to gain steam. Although existing statistical models predicted his demise, akin to other early-surgers like Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann, Donald Trump has defied statistics and pollsters. Perhaps (hopefully) history will prevail and continue the trend of preventing inexperienced, non-politicians from winning the most powerful seat in the world.
Trump’s media strategy has been successful in part because it is fueled by the outrage of sensible, well-informed voters, and in part because he has destroyed traditional rules of engaging with the mainstream media. The latter was exemplified most recently in his offensive comments against Muslim people, their alleged (but unproven) celebration of 9/11, and his plan to prevent Muslims from entering the country.
In an attempt to prevent feeding the monster, this article is written to inform you of the ways in which Trump’s continued surge could be harmful to a wide variety of people, and how to prevent being part of his successful media strategy. With that in mind, here are ten things that Trump has stated, that have the potential to set America back decades – and that are changing the tone of the conversation and the Republican Party, regardless of whether Trump is elected President or not.
1. “I have a great relationship with the blacks.” (April 2011)
Trump’s blustery rhetoric has been a common theme even before he launched his campaign. Rather than referring to them as African Americans, his informal, almost-racist tone was a foreshadowing of things to come.
2. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems… They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” (16 June 2015)
Donald Trump is more sure of the fact that illegal immigrants crossing the southern border are rapists, than the fact that most Mexicans are nice people. The comments, made at Trump’s campaign opening, triggered xenophobic sentiment that resulted in at least one hate crime against a Hispanic immigrant, in Boston. Additionally, the rhetoric over illegal immigration and immigration in general has intensified following Trump’s success, and in the process has punished people who attempted to work across the aisle, like Marco Rubio.
3. “[John McCain] was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” (18 July 2015)
Trump’s comments regarding Senator, former Republican Presidential Candidate and military veteran John McCain’s military record and his five and a half years spent in a Vietnam prison, exemplified that Trump is willing to insult anyone who is in his way. His statement also gives a deeper insight into Trump’s media strategy and how he maintains a solid backing: by ignoring true criticisms and using ad hominem attacks to distract his supporters, which the media digs into as an exemplification of Trump’s persona.
4. “[Megyn Kelly] had blood coming out of her wherever.” (7 August 2015)
Trump once again proved that no one, not even the most staunch Republican allies like Fox News, are off limits in his attempt to gain supporters. In response to the tough questions Megyn Kelley asked about Trump’s vicious comments against women, Trump’s sexist remarks gave attention to his rhetoric, leaving no place for actual debate about his sexist behavior towards Rosie O’Donnell, amongst other leading female figures.
5. “You [Jorge Ramos] haven’t been called, go back to Univision.” (25 August 2015)
Trump’s strained relationships with his business partners have been evident since his campaign started. In this instance, he removed prominent Latino Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a speech, portraying his no holds barred rhetoric and actions, and foreshadowing his difficult relationship with the press.
6. “I would certainly implement [Muslim tracking databases]. Absolutely.” (20 November 2015)
In response to the Paris attacks, the Republican presidential candidate stated that he would use “good management” to track down Muslims in the country. When asked how this differed from the Nazi registration of Jews, he said: “You tell me.” Not only did this exacerbate the anti-Muslim sentiment that has stewed since 9/11, but it completely distorted George W. Bush’s strategy of “Islam is peace“. The sentiment played out in the following Republican debate, where many contenders argued that Islam is a problem. The result of this statement has been seen in how hard President Barack Obama is having to fight to allow Syrian refugees into the U.S. – which only plays into Daesh’s hands.
7. “You’ve got to see this guy, ‘Ah, I don’t know what I said!'” – jerking his arms to mock disabled reporter (24 November 2015)
The Republican candidate shocked everyone by mocking journalist Serge Kovaleski’s congenial joint condition. Trump once again provided a deeper look into his media strategy by shooting the questioner, rather than answering the question.
8. “I’m a negotiator, like you folks.” (3 December 2015)
Trump showed us that his political incorrectness may not just be calculated, and that he might genuinely truly believe the gruesome stereotypes that accompany all non-white people, as he made the remark to the Republican Jewish Coalition.
9. “…Complete shut down of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” (7 December 2015)
Further exacerbating Islamophobia in the United States, Trump argued that Muslims shouldn’t be let into the country purely because of their faith. A number of American Muslims have been subject to hate crimes since Trump’s comments, adding fuel to the fire that began with the San Bernadino shootings. The Republican candidate’s stataements were the continuation of a long line of anti-Islam comments, including the insinuation that President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim.
10. We’re leaving this one as a placeholder – you decide.
As of now, Donald Trump is leading polled Republicans nationally, and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. He has overtly insulted Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, women and disabled people – but there are many minorities yet to come, and hence, many people that Trump is yet to offend to energise his predominantly white evangelical voter base.
If there’s one thing you can do to prevent his popularity from expanding, it is to ignore the rhetoric and focus on real policy issues. Do not feed a cycle of outrage that could have disastrous consequences for the United States. Stay tuned!