President Trump would Make America Deplorable Again
THE PINK DOLPHIN
SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras blog-7/11/2016
President Trump would Make America Deplorable Again
From science denial to xenophobia to misogyny, Trump brings out the worst in Americans, and wants to reverse 50 years of progress
Characters Betty Draper and Don Draper from the television show Mad Men, which depicts the era Donald Trump would like to return America to. Photograph: Allstar/LIONSGATE TELEVISION
In September, Hillary Clinton came under fire for suggesting that half of Donald Trump’s supporters belonged in “a basket of deplorables” consisting of “the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it.”
Labeling people in such a disparaging manner is not a constructive approach. However, research has shown it’s true that Donald Trump brings out the worst characteristics in Americans. Only about half of Trump supporters think global warming is real, and twice as many Republicans are unsure about the evidence as they were a year ago. Hostility towards women and racial resentment correlate with Trump support almost as strongly as party affiliation. Xenophobia, misogyny, and denial of science and facts are the defining characteristics of Donald Trump’s candidacy.
How did we get here?
Journalists have struggled to treat Donald Trump as something other than a standard presidential candidate. Because he constantly spawns new scandals and is lacking in the policy department, to normalize Trump and abnormalize Clinton, network evening news programs have devoted three times more coverage to Hillary Clinton’s emails than all policies combined.
The nightly news programs have devoted zero time to discussing the candidates’ climate plans. Media false balance has struck again.
It’s important to realize that Donald Trump does have a few policy positions. For example, he wants to burn coal indefinitely because he denies the climate change consequences. Trump also wants to eliminate government spending on clean energy and climate research, cut taxes predominantly for the most wealthy, build a costly and pointless border wall, engage in expensive mass deportations, and deregulate the financial industry. Hillary Clinton’s extensive policy plans are effectively the opposite of Trump’s.
Many are puzzled that a candidate with such generally unpopular policy plans and who has been endorsed by the KKK could be supported by over 40% of Americans and have a chance at winning the presidency of the United States. Unfortunately we seem to have entered a post-truth era in which facts simply don’t matter.
The two American political parties have become so different that swing voters have virtually gone extinct and most conservatives would vote for Mister Ed, were he the Republican Party nominee. Political ideology trumps facts, truth, and reality. And Trump’s support comes heavily from a single demographic: white men, mostly older and without a college degree.
Trump wants to regress to the white male-dominated 1950s
The Trump campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” suggests that he wants to return the country to some bygone era. Based on the candidate’s words and his supporters’ feelings about science, women, and minorities, that era resembles the 1950s.
In the 1950s, only about one-third of women participated in the American work force, and African-Americans were still fighting for equality in the Civil Rights Movement. The tobacco industry created the playbook followed by the fossil fuel industry today: spread misinformation and sow doubt to keep the public consuming its deadly products. Nearly half of Americans smoked cigarettes in the 1950s (as compared to under 17% today). The tobacco industry already knew that smoking caused cancer, but used the denial playbook to keep Americans puffing.
These characteristics fit the era that Trump and his supporters appear to yearn for – an era in which white men dominated American society. Older, white male Americans who comprise the core of Donald Trump’s base are also the predominant climate science-denying group in the country. Social scientists theorize this is due to the group’s historical societal advantages. They have benefited from the societal status quo, and hence are least concerned with risks, especially when addressing those risks would mean changing the status quo from which they benefited.
Like it or not, the status quo is changing
White, male Americans are in the process of losing those historical societal advantages. As minority populations grow, they’re losing their grip on the American majority. The first racial minority president was elected and re-elected. Women are approaching even footing with men in the labor force. Even social norms are changing, for example with gay marriage becoming legal.
And of course the Earth’s climate itself is changing rapidly due to human-caused global warming, which is causing all sorts of negative consequences. Climate scientists are pleading with American voters not to make a choice our children will regret:
You have a fateful choice to make. The policies of candidates and parties on climate change could hardly be more different. Hillary Clinton would continue to work with the international community to tackle the global warming crisis and help the transition to modern clean and renewable energies. Donald Trump denies that the problem even exists and has promised to go back to coal and to undo the Paris Agreement
Donald Trump would be the only world leader to deny human-caused global warming and the tremendous risks it poses. His threats to undo the progress made to tackle climate change have elicited widespread condemnation from the international community, most recently from the Chinese government. When asked how his country would work with a Trump administration on climate change, China’s climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua said:
If they resist this trend, I don’t think they’ll win the support of their people, and their country’s economic and social progress will also be affected. I believe a wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends
Americans: don’t vote to reverse half a century of progress
Donald Trump’s goal is to make America Mad Men again by reversing the progress we’ve made over the past half century and returning the country to a 1950s era-style society dominated by white men.
While progress toward racial and gender equality could hypothetically be reversed in a Trump presidency, climate change can’t be. Only by continuing the progress we’ve made toward cutting carbon pollution can we slow global warming. Problems are not solved by denying their existence.
America has many great characteristics; many argue the country is already great. But like every country, there are also dark periods in its past; for example, in the treatment of minorities and women as second-class citizens. Donald Trump aims to return America to those deplorable periods, and to put the world on a path toward a catastrophic future by undoing the progress we’ve made in tackling climate change.
The world is counting on Americans not to make a catastrophically wrong choice in tomorrow’s election.
Source: The Guardian
Pieter Jan Brouwer
Assistant: Emilia Romero
SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Pink Dolphin” were taken by Mr. Schafer.