A diverse panel on Wednesday's The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore captured a point that doesn't get enough coverage in mainstream news outlets: Many minority Americans do not just oppose Donald Trump; they're scared of him.
The panel, which featured three Nightly Show staff members and radio host Lenard McKelvey, a.k.a. Charlamagne Tha God, discussed how the election increasingly looks like it will be Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton.
Right away, Charlamagne acknowledge that he's not exactly thrilled with this matchup: "Trump and Clinton is interesting, though. It's like the Super Bowl that everybody expected but nobody really wants to see."
But he went on to point out that for all of Clinton's flaws, Trump is genuinely terrifying to many minority Americans. "The soul of America is at stake here," Charlamagne said. "Donald Trump is not making America great again. He's making America hate again."
Grace Parra, a Nightly Show contributor who's Mexican, agreed: "I would rather not be deported, so I'm with you completely."
The panel gets at what's really terrifying about Trump to so many Americans: He has, in many ways, mainstreamed bigotry. As journalist Evan Hill noted on Twitter, by proposing to ban all Muslims from entering America, Trump made it normal for pollsters to ask Republicans if they would like to ban entering Muslims from the US. He entered an idea into the mainstream that would have been absolutely inconceivable for a major politician years ago.
One of the most dangerous things about Trump is mainstreaming ideas like this. pic.twitter.com/LRhcLehziB— Evan Hill (@evanchill) March 16, 2016
But it doesn't end there. Trump has blatantly pandered to white supremacists. He's labeled minority groups in sweeping generalities, calling Mexicans rapists and criminals and claiming that "a lot of" Muslims hate America. He's used coded language to pander to racists and xenophobes. He's viciously insulted women.
Trump's tone would have been unimaginable in American politics just a few years ago. Yet it's now the constant focus of mainstream news coverage. And Trump has built a serious constituency around this type of rhetoric — enough, it seems, to potentially win the Republican nomination for president.
This scares people — to the point that some racial justice activists are getting together to stop Trump. People of color, including Black Lives Matter activists, have already protested many of his rallies, and they plan to continue doing so despite threats of violence condoned by Trump.
Charlamagne argued, "I'm from South Carolina, so I'm used to seeing the Confederate flag around. When I see Trump paraphernalia, that's what it looks like to me. Trump paraphernalia is the new Confederate flag. You know? It's a hate symbol. To me, it's a hate symbol. The bumper stickers, Trump bumper stickers, the Trump T-shirts, they look like hate symbols to me. Period."