Post-Trump: How scarring is his legacy?

November 6, 2016 — by Karissa Dong and Ryan Kim

What Trump has done

    In two days, America may dodge the lethal bullet that is the possible Trump presidency. Those of us appalled by the demagoguery and bigotry of his entire campaign hope to heave a great sigh of relief when Hillary Clinton emerges victorious on Nov. 8.

But there’s more to consider: How short-lived will our relief be? Where will his supporters, relentlessly pursuing a vision of a white, Christian and patriarchal America, go? And perhaps most importantly: Have we as a nation really escaped unscathed?

    Trump, like a bull tearing through the political fabric of America, has established a horrifying new standard. Tuning in to their first ever national debates, American youth saw Trump in fully bully mode — demeaning Clinton with misogynistic vocabulary, calling Mexican immigrants “bad hombres” and interrupting with unsubstantiated and frequently incorrect claims.

The truth is that we cannot underestimate the damage of Trump’s divisive rhetoric. When the “playground talk” of our nation’s children now includes Trump’s degrading commentary on racial minorities, we have a problem that extends beyond our current generation.

When the young minds of this country realize that the underlying themes of presidential campaign have, miraculously, managed to survive, they will conclude that Trump’s vicious language and assaults on women are somehow acceptable, even trivial.

How are millions of Americans empowered by his vindictive, childish and callous behavior? As New York Times op-ed columnist Charles M. Blow writes, “Trump appeals to a regressive, patriarchal American whiteness in which white men prospered, in part because racial and ethnic minorities, to say nothing of women as a whole, were undervalued and underpaid, if not excluded altogether.”

    In other words, Trump has taken the shackles off his supporters — or, as Hillary accurately named them, his “basket of deplorables.” No longer are their burdened souls, brimming with hatred for a multicultural and progressive America, restrained by the moral obligation to maintain open-mindedness and a spirit of compromise and goodwill.

    A loss for Trump could even result in the resurgence of hate groups. It’s safe to say the hateful fervor of Trump’s campaign will not dissipate quickly. It’s shocking, depressing and appalling how much bigotry has carried over into the 21st century.

    So Trump’s scarring legacy is exactly this: He has helped despotic chauvinism — along with a disregard for facts — become a political and social norm.