A Repudiation of Donald Trump

So, it happened: The United States made the biggest mistake in its 240-year history, cutting off its nose to spite its face and letting emotion override logic. Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States and while there are still some potential challenges to this result, including ongoing recounts planned for three narrowly-decided swing states and the potential for the Electoral College, however unorthodox and contentious this would be, to vote against Trump, I think that the US needs to resign itself to at least four years of the most unprecedently bad choice for the position of President in its entire history. I fail to see even a single positive facet of Trump’s campaign and an extensive list of negatives.

Trump is, by any reasonable definition of the word, actually a fascist. He has appointed a white supremacist, Steve Bannon (who is incidentally a far-right, echo-chamber bottom-of-the-barrel propagandist), as his Senior Counselor. His entire campaign was built around palingenetic populism (“Make America Great Again!”, “Build the wall!”) and backed by ultranationalists which any person I would consider reasonable would repudiate, rather than embrace. He has threatened to imprison his main opponent and to loosen libel laws so that he can sue media outlets like the New York Times with impunity. We should not be normalising Trump. We should not be rationalising Trump. We made the same mistakes in the past and suffered the consequences for it.

But there’s more. Trump has exhibited a horrendous amount of misogyny, culminating in sexual predation. He has also chosen a Vice President nominee with barbaric views on the LGBT community, who funds organisations who attempt gay conversion therapy, along with other individuals who seek to disenfranchise LGBT individuals.

One of the biggest complaints that Trump supporters made during the election was that Clinton was “crooked”, yet Trump has just settled a $25 million fraud suit against Trump University and has over 70 lawsuits pending against him. That’s before you get into the conflicts of interests that Trump has, from his refusal to put his assets into a blind trust, to inviting his daughter (who will, incidentally, be one of the people looking after Trump’s assets) to a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, to appointing lobbyists and multi-billionaire tycoons with vested interests to positions within his cabinet.

Then there’s the views of Trump and his cabinet on science. Trump is an open anti-vaxxer and climate change denier, contrary to the views of the vast majority of qualified scientists and has already made moves to appoint cabinet members based on those misconceptions. Other members of his cabinet are creationists. All of this points to what will be an incredibly hostile environment to scientists within the next few years.

And let’s not forget Trump’s narcissism, this being a man who stays up to engage in Twitter wars against former beauty queens and respectful criticism of his Vice President nominee. This is a man who is meant to represent the United States of America on the world stage. Does that seem like normal behaviour to you? Does that seem like the actions of a man you can trust talking to other world leaders?

Talking about foreign policy, Trump represents other dangers there as well. He seeks to hold NATO to ransom, while implicitly supporting the imperialism of Vladimir Putin. Putin has likely been salivating over the prospect of rolling T-90s straight into Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius with only nominal resistance. Furthermore, by promoting isolationism (a policy which has had an inauspicious history with respect to the United States), he has created an impetus for several other nations, including several European nations, South Korea, Japan and even Saudi Arabia, to build independent nuclear arsenals. This is contrary to US foreign policy for the last six decades.

Even the elements of Trump’s campaign that could most easily be spun into a positive carry suspicious undertones. He is an ostensibly successful businessman, but did so based on inherited money and has been bankrupted six times. He is an ostensible political outsider, despite schmoozing with politicians for decades (including the Clintons) and immediately going against his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” by appointing political insiders to his cabinet positions.

The way to fix a broken window is not to burn down the whole house. And voting Trump is like not only burning down the house, but taking a dump on the remains. I can only hope that Europe takes note of this and does not make the same mistakes itself. But I am not holding out hope for that.

 

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