Truth be told, I’m terrified of the 2016 presidential election. Here’s why.
Donald Trump has had overwhelming support from Republican voters for a few months now. He jumped 17 points ahead of Ben Carson among likely GOP voters after a recent appearance on Saturday Night Live and a solid performance in the most recent GOP debate. The results of a Reuters poll released on Friday show that he now has the support of 42 percent of those likely to vote Republican.
Like most people who fall anywhere but the far right of the political spectrum, I disagree with many of Trump’s positions—especially regarding the environment.
Not only did Trump say he would cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, but he also claimed that what they do is “a disgrace.” The EPA regulates and enforces legislation concerning air, water, land, endangered species and hazardous waste throughout the country. I don’t think any of us could even imagine what the United States would be without the EPA—besides one enormous dump.
In 2011, he called himself an environmentalist. A year later, he tweeted:
Hmm, sounds logical.
Unfortunately, the environment isn’t the only arena Trump is totally clueless about.
Many of us have heard the comments he’s made about Mexican immigrants, which tend to be racist and ignorant. However, I think we’ve all come to expect racism and ignorance from him, so what really puzzles me is that most of the things he says don’t even make sense.
On NBC News on July 8 of this year, he said, “I’ll win the Latino vote because I’ll create jobs. I’ll create jobs and the Latinos will have jobs they didn’t have.” However, Trump’s platform clearly isn’t intended to please Latinos. Not only does he want to end birthright citizenship, but he intends to build a wall along the southern border of the U.S. – which he would have Mexico pay for.
In addition to being mildly racist, he’s far from a feminist. For instance, he claims to support equal pay but rarely gives the issue any attention, and he doesn’t believe that women should have the right to abortions.
Over the years, he’s accumulated quite a long list of sexist comments. Here’s a short timeline:
On women: “You have to treat ‘em like shit.” (New York Magazine, Nov. 9, 1992)
“There’s nothing I love more than women, but they’re really a lot different than portrayed. They are far worse than men, far more aggressive.” (The Art of the Comeback, 1997)
More recently, he responded poorly to feeling “attacked” by one of the moderators of the first Republican presidential debate, Megyn Kelly.
This might not prove that Trump is sexist–considering that he’s made some nasty remarks about men as well–but it’s obvious that women’s issues are nowhere near the top of his priority list.
What is on the top of his priority list, however, is protecting Americans’ Second Amendment rights. In light of a tragic increase in gun violence recently, I can’t help but wonder… how many more guns do we need?
The U.S. already ranks first in the world in guns per capita, with about 89 for every 100 residents. We make up less than five percent of the world’s population, but 31 percent of its mass shooters are Americans. It’s pretty obvious that we’re doing something wrong here.
“This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America,” said President Obama in his response to the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. “We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones.”
The political choice Trump wants to make is to continue allowing these tragedies to happen — and he’s leading the polls.
However, many of Trump’s supporters overlook these issues because they agree with his stance on economic issues. But while tax breaks for the middle class and businesses of all sizes are appealing, Trump’s supporters fail to realize that there are other things that matter in this country besides the economy.
Racial tension is high, mass shootings are common, climate change is heating up (literally) and many people are treated unfairly due to their gender or sexuality. These are all issues that Trump will either ignore or make worse.
This is a democracy, after all, and one of this country’s greatest beauties is that we have the right to vote our leaders into office. My only hope is that we use this power wisely.