THE SANTA CLARA
September 22, 2016
A candidate with no experience in government but with a dramatized history in business and reality TV could soon lead the most powerful country on earth. This is one of the many ways Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign has been reshaping America’s political landscape.
Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, no matter how extreme, does not seem to cost him any favor among his supporters. In his own words, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Trump has even been able to achieve his current level of popularity through significantly less campaign spending than every other major candidate.
I want to be clear that I’m not voting for Trump. However, having heard the real-estate mogul’s supporters claim to like him because he “calls it like it is,” — an inaccurate statement since Trump’s claims are noticeably contradictory—I have a theory. Trump’s provocative and arguably prejudiced remarks, while offensive to many people, appeal to millions of Americans who have felt silenced by the movement in recent years to be politically correct.
I’m referring to the near-constant pressure not to offend anyone lest you be called racist for a linguistic misstep, be deemed selfish for supporting a competitive capitalist economy or be told that you hate the poor for thinking that increased taxes won’t solve all of the world’s problems .
The socially liberal, politically correct movement is a response to centuries of injustice towards minorities. However, in attempting to censor the views and voices of conservatives this movement has bred a generation of Americans who, when they see a man like Donald Trump spew provocation into the microphone, think “this man says what I can’t.”
Despite my distaste for Trump, he is the candidate I see most on my Facebook newsfeed and find myself watching most on YouTube. On a basic level, its because his antics are entertaining but it’s more than that. He’s outrageous, unpredictable and even horrifying. Having been exposed to very little public language beyond the filtered and politically correct, I find Donald Trump to be an interesting change of pace and apparently so do millions of other Americans. If standard politics were not so dry and characterless, Donald Trump would not be as unique as he currently seems.
The pressure to censor yourself and always be politically correct has created national controversy, especially in this past year’s Black Lives Matter protests at colleges like Dartmouth.
I think supporters of political correctness better place, free of hate speech and hate in general. However, what many liberals do not realize is that by censoring the language of a large portion of this country’s voters, they have created resentment and given rise to a television personality who can speak and act out this resentment in the political arena. Trump is using the power of taboo language to make himself appear powerful for saying that which has been labelled offensive.
This reasoning does not account for all of Trump’s supporters. Desperation and xenophobia are causes as well but I believe even rational Trump supporters have the frustration and resentment of censorship at heart. This demographic might just tip the election in Trump’s favor.
I can only hope that these individuals realize the shallowness of their thinking. While Trump is unique in his willingness to say what the rest of us can’t, this doesn’t make him fit to lead the free world. I would love to see a candidate with the honesty that Trump claims to have, but with the experience in government and social civility that he clearly lacks.
Henry Asch is a sophomore psychology major.
Articles in the Opinion section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University.