Trump is dangerous, even if he can’t win

Mark Hammontree

Around 30,000 people showed up to Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium Friday night to hear His Holiness Donald Trump, Bishop of America, Vicar of Jesus Christ preach his gospel of 
American exceptionalism.

Certainly, many of these spectators went for laughs or because there are no good horror movies in theaters at 
the moment.

To the Don’s credit though, several thousand devotees came to be baptized in the Spirit of #AmericanPride and born again, but legitimately – not to illegal immigrant parents, obviously. After all, the latest Reuters poll reported 32 percent of surveyed Republicans 
supporting Father Trump.

That number makes various groups of people react in myriad ways. Good-humored Democrats cackle in the same way you might if you watched an Auburn fan step in dog poop. “Moderate” Republicans probably grind their teeth and desperately remind everyone that the first primary is months away, and “Trump will never actually get 
the nomination.”

And Trump supporters probably paint “32%” on their car windows and get it tattooed on their butts right next to Ole Glory – sure, I might mean the flag.

Here’s what everyone should keep in mind though: Donald Trump is not going to win the Republican nomination, much less the presidency. There are significantly more people against Trump than for him, and there’s plenty of time for the anti-Trump crowd to solidify behind a few of the other GOP hopefuls.

Still, 32 percent carries a lot of importance and meaning right now, regardless of Trump’s actual chances of moving to Pennsylvania Avenue in a couple years. First, and this is what concerns many Republicans, it is a number that demands attention, and as a result, the other GOP candidates are having to react and catch up with Trump rather than focus on their own platforms.

What I’m more concerned with, though, is that such relatively high polling 
numbers give Trump the appearance of a legitimate candidate, by which I mean they suggest his views and statements are legitimate, even reasonable and popular. That is the very real danger of Trump’s run and rise.

Now, I’m less concerned with the anti-establishment folks supporting Trump’s campaign out of some sad, flawed, stick-it-to-the-man mentality, but at least a fair portion of Trump’s supporters actually buy in to what he is saying, and what he is saying is legitimately dangerous.

To put it more bluntly, Donald Trump is a demagogue. He creates and exaggerates the fears of the public, presents a culprit and then paints himself as the savior who has the guts and abilities to solve all the problems facing our great and threatened nation. It doesn’t matter if most of these so-called threats do not really exist.

Further, Trump gives himself and his supporters a handy tool to protect their egos from criticism whenever they spout their racist, misogynistic bile: “political correctness.” Trump has fabricated, with help from other GOP candidates, a false narrative of hyper-concern for “political correctness,” which he just doesn’t have time for. So, by setting himself in opposition to that liberal pillar of being “PC,” Trump rationalizes and glorifies his 
contempt and disrespect for others.

If I may digress, in my experience the only people who use the term “politically correct” are the ones using it pejoratively to protect their ignorance or bigotry, rather than making an honest effort to be respectful of other people.

Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric separates him from just about all of his fellow GOP candidates, and it is without a doubt at the center of his candidacy. Trump is more than just a sideshow radical performing a loud, but ultimately short dance around the ring. Trump is influencing this race, even while he stands no chance of winning it. And for some reason, Republicans seem to be too shy to point out the one overarching truth about Trump: he is a bad person.

Donald Trump is a bad person. He says bad things. He has bad ideas. He is bad. If you genuinely support Trump and his platform, there’s a better than fair chance you are a bad person, too.

Mark Hammontree is a senior majoring in secondary education – language arts. His column runs weekly on Mondays.