Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.
What have we done?
Wednesday was a day of reckoning not only for the Republican party, but for the entire United States. Following an overwhelming victory in the Indiana primary that all but eliminated the possibility of a contested Republican National Convention, and forced candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich to suspend their campaigns, Donald J. Trump has become the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
After months and months of pundits telling us that Trump will absolutely, unequivocally, not be the Republican nominee … here we are.
Before we even begin to analyze what comes next, we have to take a step back and process what has happened. Donald Trump made history. What he did has never been accomplished before in the history of America.
It’s not uncommon for a powerful figure to come along in politics and prey on people’s anger and anxiety using abrasive, divisive and even bigoted rhetoric, only to gain a large following.
George C. Wallace, the notorious racist, ran for president five times (four times on the Democratic ticket!).
Remember Joseph McCarthy? He used extreme intimidation tactics to start a witch hunt as a Senator during the Cold War to expose alleged communists. One of those tactics included threatening to publicly accuse them of homosexuality.
Like Trump — these individuals were demagogues. They said what they thought the public wanted to hear. They thrived on disorder and angst.
Except, the difference is that Trump is the first to win.
He’s the first person to never hold an elected office to become the nominee of one of the country’s two major parties since Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. And that only happened — as pointed out by Trevor Noah on the Daily Show on Wednesday — because he beat Hitler.
And now, as the presumptive nominee, Trump will start being briefed of classified information by the Central Intelligence Agency. Let that sink in for a minute.
So what does it all mean?
For one, we’re in for an ugly next six months. There will be unpleasant political exchanges on Facebook, in your office, at the bar on weekends, and at your dinner table.
And heck, we could all just say “fuck it.” We’ve gone this far, might as well take it all the way and elect this guy. It’s a shit show already, so why stop now?
Or we could all take a good, hard look in the mirror. Trump is here, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean he has to be here to stay.
If you disagree with him, then go freaking vote in November. It’s a minority of the public that votes in primaries. And usually those voters are the most passionate. Trump is winning the majority of those groups of people, but that doesn’t mean he represents all of us.
There’s still time to fix what we’ve done. If you don’t support what Donald Trump stands for, you can still do something about it. Register to vote, and express your voice. Voting is the most powerful form of protest there is.
Hash tags and Facebook statuses only go so far. Voting is the real way to effect change.
We created him. And now we can stop him.