There’s a funny joke floating around on the internet these days about a certain TV personality who is busting, toupee first, into the realm of actual, real-life, human issues. Now, I’m all for the open run for office. I’m all about allowing businesspeople and non-politicians to run for president but this time, I think we’ve let it go too far. Back in 2012, the public was put off by the GOP throwing their support behind a career politician whose main campaign contributions came from his own pocket. When Mitt Romney ran on a platform of business experience and big money, we all chuckled and created memes and one-liners, turning this serious candidate into a walking joke. One could argue that this time around, we’re doing the same to Trump, but I see it a bit differently.
What I see in the polls and in the news is not Romney, a genuine politician, tripping over his words, his “binders full of women,” and being made to look a fool. What I see in Trump is a man who rose to fame by degrading women and people of color on national television. I see this caricature of a man gaining momentum like a toddler running down a hill. Not to be melodramatic, but I see impending doom.
The only people I see coming out of a Trump victory on top are those already there: the rich, white business leaders with Christian orientations and old-fashioned beliefs. Within that demographic, only one gender will reap the benefits.
As for the rest of us, I see a slow but steady deterioration backwards. First, it’ll be people of color. Affirmative Action will be abolished with a coy excuse that “we’ve apologized enough for slavery; it’s just reverse racism.” We’ll see a quick decline in the political efficacy of young people of color. We’ll watch a literal wall go up between our country and our neighbors to the south and experience a huge diplomatic fallout between the two of us. We’ll see a sudden shift in our policies regarding immigration and a steep uptick in the cases of racial profiling and state-sanctioned racism.
After he’s successfully “made America [white] again,” Trump will move on to the LGBTQ+ community. We’ll watch hate crimes be lassoed into a legal gray area. We’ll see many more Kim Davis-es being held up as moral heroes and not as bigots. His alignment with the Republican Party and his ability to pay for his own campaign means that he can say things like “speak English or get out” and “I don’t have time for political correctness.” His platform sits on a foundation of white supremacy and casual misogyny. Trump’s potential election into the Oval Office doesn’t portend a happy ending for any group but the one in which he resides. As much as Trump’s presidency would negatively affect most demographics, it would most heavily debilitate women.
Trump has publicly mistreated women countless times. He endlessly insults and degrades women around him. He tried to discredit Megyn Kelly when her interview wasn’t going his way by saying “she’s got blood coming out of her wherever.” Sure, there’s the argument that he’s just a big personality and it’s only to gain attention. And sure, there’s the argument that his sexist comments are harmless because he’s a bit of a joke in our culture. But they aren’t.
When a person is the president, more weight is put behind everything they say, even if it is a joke, even if it’s offensive. When a person is president, their actions and words become more credible, more acceptable. It’ll be easy to justify the mistreatment of women if you can back up your argument for why women shouldn’t be allowed to be CEO’s by citing President Trump saying the same thing.
Trump’s mistreatment of women will bleed into his work as a lawmaker. It will bleed into his work as a role model for the young people of America, which the president has always been. First, women will lose our right to bodily autonomy, with discussions on the accessibility of abortion and birth control pushed to the bottom of the stack. Then we’ll lose our right to be treated like human beings out in the world because President Trump will set an example of casual misogyny and sexist tendencies in his words and actions.
What we’ll see, should Mr. Trump be elected, will be a great historic regression for feminism. We will see a reversal of all of the things generations of women spent their lives trying to achieve for us. We’ll see a nation where our rape culture goes unchecked and women’s rights become a thing of the past. We’ll see a nation where women are degraded and their ambitions and opinions defeated. We will regress at the hand of a man who is too full of himself to consider a woman his equal.
Natalie Dulka is a sophomore English Writing and Theatre Art double major from Minneapolis, MN. She keeps herself occupied by holding the position of Chief Executive Officer of Feminism Club, being involved with the theater, and writing plays. Her passions include sarcasm, wool socks, and equality.