I hate to break it to you, America. Our president is a real-life, in-the-flesh racist.
This, of course, should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody. The man who launched his political career by claiming that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States has since defended neo-Nazis, referred to African countries as “s---hole” nations, pined for more immigrants from Norway, lamented that immigrants from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts,” and claimed that “all Haitians have AIDS.”
No, Donald Trump is not simply “unpolished” or “rough around the edges.” The president of the United States harbors deep and intense racial animus toward anyone who isn’t white.
Last week the president reached a new low when he told four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.” (Three of the women were born in the United States, and all four are U.S. citizens.) This attack is a disgusting display of racism and hate from the highest office of the land. It lays bare the president’s real strategy — stoke racial tensions, divide the country in whatever way possible, and promote resentment toward non-white Americans.
Trump has made his stance painfully clear: Those who are non-white or perceived as “foreign” are not welcome in the United States. This xenophobic, white-supremacist position was thought by many to have been confined to the racist trash heap of alt-right and neo-Nazism. Instead, it would seem, the agenda is being propelled and promoted from within the Oval Office itself.
While Democrats have almost universally denounced the president’s racism, Republicans have almost universally equivocated — with the exception of a handful of representatives and senators, GOP leadership has refused to even comment on the behavior, let alone push back against it. In fact, only three GOP representatives voted in favor of a House resolution condemning the president’s behavior. (None of them, I would add, represent Utah.) The silence is deafening, and many in the country are watching with abject horror as the Republican Party grudgingly opens its arms to racism and hatred.
For Democrats and Republicans alike, the 2020 election can no longer be just about policy. This election is a contest for the soul of America. It is an election about what kind of nation we hope to be. Time and time again, Trump has made it clear that he offers a path which leads to increasing division, discrimination and hate. No conservative legislation is worth choosing that path.
Legislation can be undone; the divisions and racial tensions caused by Donald Trump are potentially much longer-lasting. It is time for rank-and-file Republicans to finally put country over party and deny the president a second term.
I am under no illusion that asking a Republican to vote for one of the progressive Democratic candidates is an easy task. It is a sacrifice, and I recognize the magnitude of that sacrifice for many. Yet for a party so focused on patriotism and duty to country, there can be no more patriotic act than standing up against a demagogue who rejects the most fundamental American values of equal opportunity and respect for those with diverse beliefs and backgrounds.
Donald Trump is a white nationalist. His true feelings about race and nationality are on display for the whole world to see.
As we approach the 2020 election, only two choices exist — to support the president’s racism, hatred and xenophobia, or to stand up against it, and unequivocally proclaim that we are a nation with “liberty and justice for all.”
Jack Davis is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University currently pursuing a master of public policy and master of science in foreign service through Georgetown University.