By Vicente Guzman-Orozco
While the two main candidates battle it out for a determinant margin, the so-called third party candidates struggle to gain traction. However, a Trump victory in November could make freedom the biggest loser in the contest. The separation of church and state, freedom of expression, other rights, and even race relations have already been put on the boisterous businessman’s hit list. Here is only three of the most significant threats in a dark vision of the future for the majority of Americans:
A Machiavellian turn to the Supreme Court: 50 days before the election, Sec. Clinton claimed the choice at the voting booth would influence the next 50 years, and the impact of the highest court in the land is alone a reason why she was right. Already Trump has announced a list of potential nominees that could swing the bench to an alarming degree, beyond the dreams of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whose seat Republican intransigence has refused to fill. Senator Mike Lee has deservedly gotten the most attention, as a staunch opponent of reproductive and LGBT rights, as well as for his statements against Social Security, labor laws and other basic elements of a social safety net. Experience and prominence make Lee an appropriate, if extreme, choice, but rumors that the billionaire Peter Thiel has been personally approached caused a well justified stir. Besides founding PayPal, the eccentric Thiel became a household name when it was revealed he had bankrolled a lawsuit that effectively obliterated a media conglomerate as revenge for discussing Thiel’s homosexuality, considered an open secret in Silicon Valley. Other pronouncements and ideals of concern have also surfaced, such as his anti-regulation stance, racist hiring practices, extreme libertarian attitudes and a belief that women’s suffrage has been the downfall of American democracy. The ideological bent of even only these two men on Trump’s list is clear enough reason to worry.
The erosion of reproductive rights: in his courtship for the evangelical vote, Trump has had as wingman none other than Anthony Perkins of the vociferously anti-choice Family Research Center. At the Value Voters’ Summit last month, the FRC unveiled their plan for the first 100 days of a Trump presidency, focused on rolling back reproductive issues, including initiatives at home and abroad that support women’s choice, embryonic stem research, transgender rights protections, and LGBT anti-discrimination rules for government contractors. Although as the Washington Post remarked in a headline five months ago, “Trump took 5 different positions on abortion in 3 days,” the magnate took a more definite stance last month in naming Marjorie Dannenfelser as head of his “pro-life coalition.”
Dannnsfelder originally opposed Trump on the basis of a claimed pro-choice past, but joined him as he aligned with her priorities. Dannensfelder is best known as the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a group dedicated to ending all abortion in the country, even in cases of rape, incest and danger to pregnant women. Paradoxically, Dannensfelder and groups like her also oppose birth control, which would help reduce unintended pregnancies and health issues that lead to the decision for an abortion.
Normalization of insults, retaliation and violence: from his excuse of two men who beat up a homeless Hispanic man, to promises of legal defense for those attacking those protesting him, the Republican candidate made clear early on he welcomes the chaos. Distressingly, many eagerly climbing on his wagon have been avowedly racist and anti-government groups and individuals. David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan currently running for a senate seat in his native Louisiana, claims his success is because the New York businessman shares his rhetoric. (Duke was polling at 3% with no chance of winning as September ended.) The bigoted invective has even turned inwards, as a prominent gay surrogate of Trump’s, Milo Yiannopoulus, recently began facing outrage from devoted Alt-Right followers for the crime of being part Jewish and denying that the movement is in fact racist. Trump has also suggested very dangerous retaliations, ranging from inviting Russia to hack American groups and institutions, at least twice hinting that pro-gun people could “take care” of Clinton, and taking his vendetta against a former Miss Universe from Venezuela a step beyond by inviting the public to search for a sex tape that she states she never made. And yet, he also believes he could use agencies such as the IRS and attorney general’s office to retaliate against and silence critics, whether individually or in the press. The height of his vindictive delusion came when he speculated he could have Secretary Clinton deported.
The bombastic celebrity may not understand how difficult the Constitution makes the amendment process, so his proclamations about changing the 14th or Clinton dismantling the 2nd sound like a feverish dream. And perhaps the recent revelations about mishandling of his charitable foundation, suspicious ties to business deals in Russia and Cuba, or even his dismal performance in debates past and future may finally tip the scales for the former secretary of state before the election. But the overwhelming evidence, including his words, points to downright un-American attitudes that a great part of the country does not seem to understand as such. There is great danger in discounting the pot he has brought to a boil.