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Upstaging Trump

Enjoying a handsome lead in the polls, Donald Trump has been the beneficiary of a rhetoric that are equal parts alarmist, nativist, and racist, that has made manifest the latent sentiments of many Americans. Though seeming ideological opposites, the real estate mogul’s campaign and its supporters have striking similarities to those of a certain freshman Senator from Illinois in 2008-a comparison Trump and his supporters would be quick to deny.

In 2008, Republicans said that Senator Obama’s lack of experience disqualified him from being President, that his inexperience would translate to ineptitude in the Oval Office. Today, many of these same Republicans cite Donald Trump’s political inexperience as a positive quality, arguing that this lack of experience will bring a new, better, perspective to a gridlocked Washington, D.C.Since Obama’s election, Republicans have hardly missed an opportunity to draw attention to each and every instance in which the President’s stances on the issues have changed over time.

While it is important these inconsistencies be noted, they only carry weight if the same interrogatory treatment is given to members of their own party. Instead, Republicans have not only welcomed Trump–an openly liberal Democrat for many years–into their ranks, they unquestioningly accept his explanation that he has simply “evolved” over time.

Obama won in 2008 by appealing to the sentiments of fed up voters. He spoke with a charisma of hope and change that voters, both Democrat and Independent, bought into.

In the years since, Republicans have railed against Obama voters for letting their emotions dictate the result of that election. Now, conservatives are ready to make the same mistake they spent the last seven years chastising liberals for. Blinded by feelings, swaths of conservatives would wholeheartedly vote for Trump and his anti-politician rhetoric if the election were today.For a portion of Republicans, it has now become common practice that many of the exact qualities which in 2008 were cited as disqualifiers for Senator Obama, to be cited as the merits of Trump. This gross double standard may not be cause for concern within the party, but it will send any objective independent— a group Republicans will need to win in 2016— running for the hills.

At the end of the Trump saga, Trump-supporting conservatives will at best be terrible hypocrites, and at worst, complicit in the further collapse of our great nation. Trump has proved himself a master salesman during his career, but it is not a mattress or a car we are buying, it is the future of America

If Republicans want to seize any semblance of the moral superiority they so covet, they would be wise to tell Mr. Trump, “You’re fired.”


by Chiru Gunawardena’17


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