The thing is, not everybody is unbiased, and not everybody sees things the same way you do. When a person already prejudiced against Mexicans hears Trump say that Mexico sends rapists, that’s exactly what they hear. And when people are angry with illegal immigrants, they won’t keep their slurs to themselves. Legal immigrants will be the target just as much. A racist isn’t gonna ask for papers before acting on his hate, whether just through words or worse.
And this is what they mean when they keep referring to dog whistles. Trump statements are often so that you can hear your own level of extremism in them. He says something bad and then his surrogates twist themselves into circles spinning it into something acceptable. And the non-extreme supporter will accept that as justification, because they want him not in the wrong.
Wanting to enforce border laws isn’t racist. What is racist is generalising all the people who cross the border, even if he meant only the illegals. Because that’s still a gross generalisation. What’s racist is suggesting policies like his deportation force that’ll deport the mullions of illegal immigrants currently living in the US. What’s racist is suggesting policies like the Muslim ban. What’s racist policies like stop and frisk. Those all come with racial profiling baked in. What’s also racist (or more accurately, islamophobic) is suggesting that Muslims know what’s going on with the terrorists but reporting it. In response to a question how he would solve islamophobia no less, he gave an answer that validated it.
Those are the kind of things that scare people. Trump is still alright now, and I think people can keep him in check. But what happens if there’s another terrorist attack? And what if it’s a big one? 9/11 did exactly what it was supposed to. It inspired fear, that turned into hatred. Another one could send America over the edge. Especially with someone like Trump in charge.