Writing by Sarah Broadwell. Illustration by David Richards.
Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election, the damage of the Trump presidency is already solidified in American history. Holding one of the most powerful seats in the world on the back of incredibly hateful comments validates that behaviour for millions around the globe. Now people can look towards the most powerful person in America and know that if he can rise to success with this mindset, then they are given free rein to spread such hate also. And thus the cycle continues.
Donald Trump is racist. He called for a 'complete and total shutdown of Muslim’s entering the US.' This is absolutely abhorrent. There are extremists in all religions, and yet you would not see Trump calling for the complete ban on Christians entering the US due to the actions of the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, he flat-out refused to condemn white supremacist groups during the first Presidential Debate. Trump said, ‘Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that.' It's simple - anyone that attempts to argue that Trump is not racist is wrong. Yet his level of power means that his racist thoughts do not just stay in his brain. Trump can now attempt to put racism into political action, spreading his hate throughout the country and beyond. It is this spread of fear that I worry will not end even if Biden is elected on November 3rd. For too long, Americans have been looking towards Trump - hate crimes and unrest have risen during his presidency - and these racist divisions encouraged by him are too entrenched to disappear overnight.
Trump is sexist. From the completely revolting way he suggested dating his daughter Ivanka if they weren’t related, to the way he bragged about being able to do anything he wanted to women, including grabbing them by the pussy because he is a ‘star’. This brag about sexually assaulting women came in 2005, 12 years before taking on the role of POTUS. If that’s the attitude he had towards women then, how much must his ego and sense of entitlement have inflated now? For these comments to be validated by him still being elected president is terrifying, especially for young people looking up at his ‘success story’ and watching the way he judges the worth of a woman purely on her 'attractiveness' as a sexual object. These ideas ripple downwards, and it’s naïve to think that his words have not had a long-standing effect. Not only do they empower others to judge women the same way, but these comments are incredibly disempowering for women. These effects last a lifetime.
Trump is destroying the environment. Due to his ‘America First’ approach, he pulled America out of the Paris Agreement in 2017, a decision condemned by countless environmentalists. His Twitter is full of tweets denying climate change, mocking it even. The position our planet is in is precarious; we need big change, especially from industry, and we need it right now. Having such an authoritative and yet uneducated voice boom out to just shy of 90 million followers means that the path to change is lengthened daily. While individual efforts can add up, it cannot be a substitute for change from the top. Trump is giving businesses a pass to disregard the climate crisis by continuing to undermine the seriousness of the crisis facing our planet. The echoes of his voice will not be erased instantly. How many voices are needed to be heard over the voice of the President of the United States?
There are countless more sides to Trump’s horrific mindset that he continues to spout that settle in mainstream culture. He has shown that he will not treat trans people equally, that he does not respect the LGBT+ movement, that he does not support a woman’s choice to do what she wants with her body. Whether he wins the imminent election or not, these are ideals that have been boomed out across the world with a warped sense of validation due to the person they stem from. His hatred has been stamped on the country, and he has changed the role of POTUS forever. Trump has taken all respect away from the title, and only time will tell whether this can be regained.