Not Enough to Condemn Donald Trump, Let’s Beat Him
by Wells Lyons
Fear has set the stage for the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump.
Fear of being maimed or killed in a terrorist attack — though statistically minuscule — remains a real concern for many. Fear of immigrants has led to calls for border fences and mass deportations. Fear of personal economic failure frustrates many, as it seems like a guaranteed outcome for most in a changing global economy.
This intersection of social and economic worry has cleared the way for Trump, a self-proclaimed strong man on a mission to “Make America Great Again.”
His rhetoric suggests a more honest slogan might be “We’re Angry, White and Afraid, Let’s Start a War!” Both slogans are the same song, just sung in a slightly different key.
Trump’s campaign is unique in novel and alarming ways. It’s not just that Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim demagoguery is striking a chord with the hundreds of thousands who have shown up to his rallies. And it’s not just that Trump’s campaign has degenerated into a war against the bipartisan values our country aspires to uphold – religious freedom, equality and presumed innocence.
No, Trump’s campaign is unique in that his incendiary rhetoric is provoking incendiary actions.
With his violent words, Trump is creating the space in which angry Americans will be expressing hatred with violence. Recent news reports of attacks on peaceful protestors by Trump supporters may be just the beginning.
It’s impossible to imagine being punched in the face by a Bernie Sanders fan at one of the Vermont senator’s rallies. Nor does Jeb Bush tell his bodyguards to rough up protestors who dare to challenge his views.
Trump’s campaign was first met with bemusement and disbelief from the press. He became a caricature for many on the left, right and center.
By dismissing Trump as a megalomaniac on the verge of self-implosion, we ignore the reality that his message has connected with many voters, that it continues to connect, and that he may win the Republican nomination for President.
And then we’re one major terrorist attack away from Donald J. Trump as America’s 45th president. It is not an impossible scenario.
It’s time we work to reduce Trump’s chances now, while we still have the power to do so.
The New Hampshire primary will be held on February 9th, and we Portlanders are only an hour away. That puts us in the unique position of being able to directly impact our Presidential race.
Conventional wisdom says a Trump nomination for President would result in a Democratic landslide. I don’t want to even hazard the possibility of him being the nominee.
Would you rather stay on the sidelines and hope for the victory of a better candidate, or would you rather organize now to make it happen?
Democracy works best when we show up, and it’s time we organize and reach out to our neighbors across state lines. We’ll talk about the other candidates in the running and work hard to challenge the narrative of Trump as a harmless loudmouth.
It’s time to demonstrate against Trump at his rallies, to reject his hate and to bring some decency back into this race. It’s time we say enough is enough.
I’ll be in New Hampshire this winter. I hope you’ll join me.