by Jordan Choy
Donald J. Trump made his entrance into the arena of American politics with a lie. In the face of all evidence, social norms, and common decency, Mr. Trump erupted onto the national stage with the false assertion that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and therefore not a legitimate President. His opposition to the first President of color stemmed not from legitimate policy differences or genuine grievances. Rather it stemmed from a place of visceral disgust and vitriol for a man who did not look like him and whose name was too foreign for his liking. In his ascension, he acts not as a successor taking the baton but as an arsonist eager to obliterate President Obama’s legacy. He seeks to gleefully to erase eight years of both accomplishments and failures, of a Presidency that represented cosmopolitanism in an interconnected globe and sought to bridge the racial divides of this country. He intends to make it appear as though the Presidency of Barack Obama never existed.
Where Senator John McCain and Governor Mitt Romney conducted their presidential campaigns with a degree of honor and respect for their opponents, Mr. Trump conducted his campaign with hate-mongering, insults, and deceit. He hijacked the party of Lincoln with unbalanced promises to ethnically cleanse the country through mass deportation and create a database of Muslim Americans, his lack of restraint created an ugly hate-filled tone to the race. Making empty promises and proposing policies bordering on the deranged, he took the righteous indignation and anger felt by millions of Americans and twisted it in a dark direction through blatant race-baiting and demagoguery. The caricature of “American carnage” that he outlined in his inauguration day speech and his proscriptions of isolationism and mercantilism come without a trace of historical awareness.
A single day into his Presidency, he had already continued his behavior on the campaign trail with yet more lies. The Trump-Bannon Administration’s assertion of “alternative facts” rings with the arrogance and boldness of Chinese state propaganda. In fact, his vision for the United States is a very familiar sight, as it does bear a strong resemblance to China. A rampant police state with an ethno-nationalist worldview, a government that presents its own set of facts (and occasional out-right lies), a penchant for bullying, a love of torture, maltreatment of a Muslim minority population, and an uncompromising antagonism towards dissent or anything resembling a respect for individual liberties. This should be expected from a man who openly admires the barbaric June 4 th Massacre. It follows that red is the most fitting color for his “Make America Great Again” hats.
In a series of chilling interviews Trump adviser Stephen Miller spread lies about voter fraud in New Hampshire and blasted the judiciary (and with it hundreds of years of American tradition and ideology), stating “our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.” His comments shocked even prominent and very conservative Republicans. Former GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough blasted Mr. Miller and said on his show (in regards to the comments), “There are some anti-constitutional forces in the White House.” Opposition to the excesses of the Trump-Bannon Administration goes far beyond partisanship. It is a stand for the basic tenets of American government, the Constitution, and basic decency.
Just weeks into the Presidency, Mr. Trump has run into scandal after scandal. From the blatant conflicts of interests and ethics violations, to shady dealings with foreign governments, to the resignation of General Michael Flynn, to the malevolent buffoonery of the un-constitutional and un-American executive order banning refugees and immigrants from several Muslim majority countries, the Trump-Bannon Administration has shown that it will pursue an extremist and authoritarian agenda. Mr. Trump won on promises to help the forgotten people living in economic uncertainty, he was elected to bring back jobs and act as the voice of the working people. Instead he has pursued a far-right agenda of deregulation and allowing corporate interests to run amok. Rather than listening to moderate or even typical conservative voices, he has given his ear to Stephen Bannon, an extremist ideologue who believes that the West is at war with Islam, rails against legal immigration to the United States, and calls medieval crusaders “the Founding Fathers”. This extremist administration will, with luck, be a short four-year aberration.
Having already established that he intends to run for re-election, Democrats with Presidential ambitions should be salivating at the chance to defeat the least popular incoming President in in the history of Presidential polling. Speculation has already grown wild about candidates for the upcoming 2020 election. Well-known figures like Senator Cory Booker, Senator Elizabeth Warren and even Michelle Obama are being floated as contenders. There is no doubt that any of these figures would make better Presidents than Mr. Trump. And while Newark, Boston, and Chicago are all wonderful cities, what has proven to be a better symbol of opposition to the intolerance of the Trump-Bannon Administration and its despicable policies than the great state of California and its newly elected Senator?
The 2016 election was an event of historical proportions, not just for featuring a man who managed to lose by 3 million votes and still become President, but also for the election of Senator Kamala Harris. After a historic run as California’s Attorney General she has been swept to the halls of the Senate and perhaps in four years, will be swept into the White House. She represents the polar opposite of a clearly incompetent buffoon who has displayed no restraint in his crass vulgarity. Her style is deliberate, careful, and professional. Her orations are clear, hard-hitting, and memorable. She has a charisma to her that bears a strong resemblance to the young Illinois Senator that stunned the world in 2008. As a woman of color, she presents a strong case against the perverted, race-baiting billionaire who gleefully boasts of sexual assault. Senator Harris also serves as the natural successor to President Obama that Secretary Clinton never was, proud of her black and Indian heritage but also proud to be a woman, representing an entire gender that has never had access to the highest hall of power.
At the Women’s March on Washington, Senator Harris spoke before a crowd that dwarfed the one at Mr. Trump’s inauguration. Where his speech was at times poetic and bordering on eloquent, it painted a dark picture of an America devastated by the evils of immigration, trade, and liberalism. Her speech painted an image of a bright and lively civil rights movement, where actual American values are realized and she paid actual deference to the ideas of equality, justice and liberty that spawned an uprising back in 1776. Mr. Trump is perhaps the first President in American history that does not believe in our nation’s founding ideals, prompting a collective national crisis of identity. As Senator Harris said, “This is at the moment of time for our country, when we are collectively looking in the mirror and with furrowed brow asking this question, who are we?”
As someone who has worked extensively with the judiciary branch, Senator Harris is the most qualified to press the case against a President that should be under criminal investigation instead of sitting in the White House. A smart and tough prosecutor who has received high praise from President Obama, she has a long record of standing by the vulnerable and fighting for civil rights. She has stood for environmental and economic justice, dedicating portions of her 2012 DNC speech to defending the need for regulation in response to corporate greed and carelessness. She has spoken out for LGBT rights and racial justice, in her time as both the District Attorney of San Francisco and as California’s Attorney General. Her story is both inspiring and poised to set her up as the candidate that is best equipped to reignite the Obama coalition that ushered in an era of change.
Her own life story is an inspiring one, that has clear parallels to the life of President Obama. The daughter of immigrants turned civil rights activists, she could be the first Presidential candidate to have graduated from the historically black Howard University. She has shown a bravery and defiance against the proposed mass-deportations put forward by the Trump-Bannon Administration. In her short time in the Senate, she has made herself a voice for reforming our broken, outdated, and discriminatory immigration system. As a mixed-race American (and potentially the second mixed-race President), she can be a role model and symbol for a diverse America. As a mixed-race American myself, I believe that she is a role model that people of color can look to and trust to defend our interests and our civil rights. Her state stretches from the sands of the Mojave to the snow-capped peaks of Sierra Nevada, from the farms of the Central Valley to the beaches of Santa Barbara, from star-studded Los Angeles to tech-savvy San Francisco, that wonderful state of California is a microcosm of the United States. California is also the state that voted the most overwhelmingly for Secretary Hillary Clinton on election night and is the state that has demonstrated the staunchest opposition to the excesses of Mr. Trump’s policy proposals. As the second-most diverse state after Hawaii, large portions of California’s vibrant minority population have been rightfully outraged by Mr. Trump’s incendiary comments and proposals. As a state that champions environmentalism, it has expressed the most concern with the fact that many of Mr. Trump’s nominees are hostile to the very agencies they are supposed to run.
Mr. Trump has all the makings of a failed one-term President. Compared with the squeaky clean and relatively scandal-free Obama Administration, the Trump-Bannon Administration’s disregard for basic ethics is astonishing. Mr. Trump’s lack of knowledge is staggering, and his Presidency has so far reeked of both cronyism and incompetency. His promises are empty and his frequent lies are bold beyond belief. His conflicts of interest and his own stated proclivity towards acts of sexual assault paint the damning picture of Donald J. Trump as a criminal. Wouldn’t a former prosecutor be the best candidate to try him before the American people? It takes a prosecutor to cross-examine him and take him to task for his crimes. Finally, it should be noted that Mr. Trump has no mandate, being brought to the Presidency by the arcane and broken Electoral College. Since California’s voice was stolen to make him America’s 45th President, wouldn’t it be fitting for a California Senator to defeat him and become the 46 th President of the United States?