Playboy’s March 2990 Cover with Presidential Hopeful Donald Trump
CALIFORNIA–(ENEWSPF)–March 3, 2016
By: Cooper Hefner
If you are a liberal and the United States presidential race on the Republican side hasn’t scared you thus far, then either you haven’t been paying attention or you don’t understand the significance of what is currently happening.
As of now, it’s clear that Donald Trump is going to get the Republican Party’s nomination. Although that notion is not entirely surprising, it shocks me to see how few young Americans want to actively engage, talk about, and understand American politics as this particular situation unravels. I’m talking about Millennials chanting for Bernie Sanders, when many don’t understand most of his policies or what it means to identify as a self proclaimed “socialist.” I’m talking about the tens of thousands of young Americans who are fighting to change a system like big banking and Wall Street when they don’t want to take the time to educate themselves on why or how it’s broken. I’m talking about the fact that we, as Millennials, more than any other generation before, have the immediate means to educate ourselves on any topic in the world because of the Internet, yet we frequently get lost in insignificant information that’s trending.
When I say that I’m shocked by the lack of engagement by Millennials, the situation I’m referring to is the rise of Donald Trump. Trust me, you should care about this more than taking a moment to like a politician’s Facebook page.
Let’s collectively recognize for a moment that Trump has received more widespread support while running on one of the most politically conservative platforms since George Wallace ran as an American Independent in 1968 against Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. If you don’t know who George Wallace is, he is the former Governor of Alabama that famously went against the President and the United States Supreme Court in an attempt to keep schools segregated. The intense political standoff became so hostile that Governor Wallace ordered state troopers to prevent black students from entering schools throughout his state. President Kennedy federalized the National Guard and ordered the soldiers protect black students as they entered the school. This situation became one of the most controversial state versus federal stand offs in United States history.
Long story short, Wallace ran for president as an Independent and garnered a whopping 13.5 percent of the national vote, clearly indicating that a strain of racist American ideology still existed in much of the country at the time, and has continued as is indicated by Trump’s popularity.
Why has Trump resurrected this dark American ideology? The first reason: Millennials continue to neglect the importance of actively participating in politics at every level. Although one could make a compelling argument that Trump would have still received the endorsement from the Republican Party, I argue that if more individuals actively spoke out against the candidate he would have never garnered so much support. The second reason: the Republican race indicates that the same racist strain that got George Wallace his 13 percent is still very much alive and is manifesting in Trump’s popularity.
I understand that Donald Trump has qualities that appeal to a number of voters. Trump is loud. He speaks his opinion and doesn’t apologize for it. These are desirable characteristics when the U.S. political system seems to continually favor what much of the public perceives to be inauthentic, but it’s important to recognize that Trump is the least authentic candidate of all the candidates that have held the stage in this election season.
First and foremost, Trump doesn’t care about the office of the President. He doesn’t care about the American public. He doesn’t care about anything other than Trump. Many already know this, but it’s important to point out that Trump loves Trump over all else. He loves what the presidential race can do for his brand. It’s as simple as that. I know this because Trump is a family friend, but regardless of his home visits, one can understand this after three minutes of watching him.
This is a man who is a complete contradiction of himself. Trump happily graced the cover of Playboy, one of the most liberal print publications in American history. He has previously voiced his support for abortion, advocating for a women’s right to choose; he has openly endorsed Democratic candidates and would have no doubt continued to do so, up until the point that he realized it wasn’t in the best interest of the Trump brand, and I’m not talking about the financial or real estate brand.
What I’m referring to is Trump’s brand from a legacy point of view. It’s important to understand that a man like Trump is the type of personality that cares much less about how he is remembered. What Trump cares about is that he is remembered. When recognizing this, it’s easy to understand the dangers of having a personality solely driven to be memorable rather than leaving a positive legacy. This is the last type of personality one would ever want to elect to any level of politics. This is the type of personality not far from those in government with dictatorial desires.
There is no doubt that I am as critical of my generation as I am of myself. This isn’t because I have no faith in Millennials, on the contrary I have an immense amount. I believe in our ability to stand together and unite behind causes that matter. I recognize our ability to raise the bar higher than generations past, but I also recognize our collective faults. We are fickle, sometimes too politically correct, and get lost in entertainment and distractions that aren’t important to our collective well-being.
This political race, and the support the Trump campaign has received thus far, demonstrates what happens when we as a generation are reluctant to get involved in a political outcome that will no doubt affect our lives, the lives of people we care about and the lives of people like us.
Trump is running on a platform that will create an immeasurable cultural divide between Americans and immigrants. Like many liberals, I come from the point of view that the line between being an American and an immigrant is non-existent. They are one in the same.
Trump is an individual who has openly advocated banning and deporting Muslim Americans and legal immigrants, taking a massive step backwards towards the political and social philosophies inherited from eras of slavery and gender inequality, like the Japanese-American prison camps of World War II, women not having the right to vote, and segregation between blacks and whites. It seems that is Trump’s idea of making America great again.
Should our generation not begin to make more substantial and public moves towards supporting diversity? Should we not make more of a point to have our voices heard? I’m not talking about retweeting Bernie Sanders or liking a Hillary Clinton page on Facebook, I’m talking about taking the time to understand the implications of what the other side, the Republicans, are supporting when they appoint Trump as their poster boy. I’m talking about participating in a political system that invites all, a system everyone seems to have an opinion about, but very few young Americans choose to participate in. I’m talking about stepping out from behind our computers and learning how to positively influence our political system.
Truth be told, I don’t believe a lot of Republicans even understand what they are rooting for in a candidate like Trump, making it even more important for our generation to promote diversity and display a united front against dated conservative ideology. We need to make it clear that going backwards is not in the cards for American Millennials. We are only interested in moving forward.