What we just went through in American politics is not normal. It wasn’t even supposed to happen anymore — not since the civil rights movement, not since President Barack Obama’s election.
From the very beginning, Donald Trump’s campaign for presidency was fueled by an undercurrent of racism and bigotry. Shortly after he rode down an escalator at Trump Tower to announce his bid for president, Trump made his first of what would be many offensive remarks on the campaign trail — calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” who are “bringing crime” and “bringing drugs” to the US — to justify building a wall at the US–Mexico border.
It only got worse from there. He proposed banning Muslims, an entire religious group, from entering the US. He argued that a federal judge overseeing the Trump University lawsuit should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. He regularly retweeted white supremacists and neo-Nazis. He frequently used anti-Semitic language. He called Elizabeth Warren, a sitting US senator, “Pocahontas.” He hinted at nationwide implementation of stop and frisk, a policing tactic that was deemed unconstitutional in New York City because it targeted minority residents.
White supremacists loved Trump’s campaign. Self-described white nationalists flocked to Trump, claiming that his success “proves that our views resonate with millions.” The racist “alt-right” movement embraced Trump’s campaign, trying to fashion racism as hip with frog-themed memes and younger-skewing media outlets. And surveys showed that, by far, Trump’s supporters reported the highest levels of racial resentment among other candidates.
Then Trump won. And he did it with a very white coalition — with white working-class voters going so hard for him, based on exit polls, that it overcame the demographic gains Democrats had made over the past few years.
What can anyone take away from this? What can Latino, Muslim, Asian, and black Americans take away from this? This is a candidate who ran on a clearly racist message, attracting people with clearly racist views. And he won.
The message seems pretty clear to me. I am Latino, and I don’t feel welcome in the US today.