“I can't imagine what this place would be - I can't imagine what the country would be - with Donald Trump as our president.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg said this in July 2016, four months before Donald Trump became president. Now in 2020, after Trump was acquitted in the impeachment trial, we don’t get to simply imagine Donald Trump as president, we have to live with it.
As Americans, it’s hard to forget who the President of the United States is, especially when he happens to have a large personality such as Donald Trump. His choices and his words affect our country as we know it and it’s important to stay aware of the changes he’s making, intended or not.
When looking at Donald Trump throughout his 2016 campaign and his continued presidency, it becomes clear that his rhetoric is divisive. One of President Trump’s most famous promises was that to keep Mexican immigrants at bay, he was going to build a border wall along the southern border and more importantly, he was going to make Mexico pay for it. He even said of Mexican immigrants at the start of his campaign, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re bringing rapists.” President Trump was openly using stereotypes, whether he realizes it or not, to express his feelings towards immigrants and influence his supporters.
More recently, President Trump made the mistake of telling four Democrat Congresswomen to “go back to where they came from.” Considering three of the four women were born in America, his comment clearly demonstrates his racism and xenophobia. And his rhetoric is not just based on his view of race and immigration, it’s also based on President Trump’s reputation for violence. When looking at Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign more closely, it becomes more and more obvious that President Trump and his supporters encourage violence. Many of his rallies during his campaign have become physical with punching, kicking, bloody noses, and other types of assault. A study led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that President Trump’s campaign rallies were associated with a rise in violence when they came to town. President Trump himself has encouraged the violence seen among his supporters. He said of a protester who was assaulted, “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.”
President Trump doesn’t seem to understand the value that words have when you are as powerful as he is. It makes him being president a dangerous situation. Another main reason President Trump’s rhetoric is so divisive is because he separates Americans into his supporters and not his supporters. For example, when he won the presidency he went on a victory tour in celebration, but he only went to the states that he won during the election. He recognized those states as his loyal supporters and none of the states were worth his time, even though he’s president of the whole United States, not just the ones that he won. Moreover, ever since Donald Trump became president, partisan polarity has only grown. It started with President Obama, but has only increased further with President Trump, according to the Pew Research Center. The reason for it is because President Trump makes it seem like Americans have to choose. They can either support him or join the “radical left Democrats.” The political parties are growing farther and farther apart because with Donald Trump, there is no middle ground, only division.
I have no doubt that President Trump’s 2020 campaign will end up being just as divisive as his 2016 campaign. My only hope is that Americans see that they don’t have to feed into what Trump is trying to convince them of. There are more options than the far left and the far right, although right now it can be hard to see it that way. But the more people that recognize they don’t need to choose sides, the less polarized and partisan our country could be.