In the same way that Brexit empowered racists in England which has resulted in an upswing in racism-related incidents, a Donald Trump victory will empower racists in America, it will empower corrupt cops who shoot black men, it will empower bigotry against gays and women.
You see, it doesn’t matter if Donald Trump is more racist or less racist than we think he is. I have enough trust in the checks and balances of the United States’ system of government to believe that it would prevent him from enacting racist policies or at least extreme racist policies.
What is disturbing for the future of the United States, however, is that by vesting the ultimate position of leadership to a man who has made callous, disrespectful insults and remarks aimed at various ethnic groups and cross-sections of the society, more citizens will feel they have carte blanche to do the same.
That is the real danger and it has been made even worse by the clever use and twisting of particular causes and ideas that the more ignorant people, the ones who represent “the least common denominator” of American society are using to justify their racism and intolerance.
We see the Trump supporters championing a fight against “political correctness”. Trumps racist remarks are explained away as a defiance of political correctness. We see the Black Lives Matter movement being redefined by Trump supporters as a racist movement, not a movement that is seeking to advance human rights for black people in an area where it is lacking.
The far right redefinition of the Black Lives Matter movement, in particular, is frightening not just for its brazen ignorance but for its potential to aggravate and intensify an already explosive situation. There are many on the far right pushing the idea that the sole intention of the movement is to start a race war.
We have seen Donald Trump, the candidate, insult women, insult a journalist with disabilities, insult the Mexicans and make xenophobic statements about Muslims. These actions of Trump, the candidate, have empowered his supporters to do the same. You only have to go on Twitter or Facebook to see the overwhelming evidence of this.
It begs the question, how much further will America go in this scary new direction if Donald Trump moves from being candidate to becoming president. What will it mean for the Black Lives Matter movement and other human rights activists when they move from at least having the quiet understanding of the government to being seen as an enemy of the new status quo.
What will it mean when Mexicans and other Latin American people can say that they have been disrespected in an obviously racist manner by a man who is now the president of the United States and leader of the free world. What will it mean for Muslims in America and around the world that the man in charge of the country that has always held the keys to their fate for decades is afraid of them and contemptuous of their religion.
Let’s go back to Brexit for a second. There were many valid and genuine reasons why people within the UK wanted to leave the European Union. These positions have been totally eclipsed by the racism that has become so evident during and since Brexit.
The use of xenophobia to motivate people to vote for Brexit empowered the racists within the United Kingdom. It might not have been the reason most people wanted to see a change but legitimising the argument gave more prominence to racists and xenophobes than they should ever have in any political process, and it allowed them to advance their agenda of hate in a movement that for others was well-intentioned.
Brexit is the template for what Americans can expect from the election of Donald Trump, except it will be much, much worse. It will see racists emboldened, it will see more disregard for the so-called “misfits” of American society, contempt for feminist causes, contempt for environmental causes and it will see more intolerance towards liberal agendas by conservative christians.
The undecided voters need to look at the changes in the social and political climate that have come about so far as a result of this presidential campaign and see how much worse it can actually become if the wrong decision is made in November. The Bernie supporters will have to face the cold hard reality that now that Hillary has won the nomination they have no choice but to support her against Trump, because it might make their own lives and the life of their movement so much more difficult if their political enemies have the presidency on their side. Those of us, like myself, on the outside of the United States looking in, can only cross our fingers and hope that the majority of Americans do the right thing.