By Kelly Morrison, Political Columnist
On Tuesday nearly 100,000 voters in New Hampshire - 35 percent of Republican voters in the state - nominated Donald Trump to be their candidate for president. Not only did Trump win a plurality of votes, but he also gained more than double the amount of votes of the next Republican candidate. Trump was followed by John Kasich with 15.7 percent of votes, Ted Cruz with 11.7 percent of the votes, and Jeb Bush with 11 percent of votes.
In total, that means Trump captured almost as many votes as the next three candidates combined. And it's not only in New Hampshire that voters are turning out for Trump; �at the Iowa caucus, Trump lost to Cruz by a mere 4 percent of voters, or only about 6,000 individuals.
These results do not mean that Trump will win the same amount of support in every state. They
do mean that the Trump phenomenon has not fizzled out as many, myself included, had hoped.
At first it seemed natural for Trump to receive so much attention. People were understandably fascinated by Trump's attack on "politically correct" culture, and watched him instead rely on hateful rhetoric and fear mongering to whip his supporters into a frenzy. Viewers at home watched the billionaire disparage Muslims and racial minorities, women and political opponents, journalists and the disabled on their television screens, wondering just how much he could get away with.
Unfortunately, it seems there's something more than just curiosity behind Trump's fevered popularity. What's concerning about this year's presidential race is that so many Americans have mistaken Trump's supposed “candor” for leadership ability. Trump's supporters claim that the United States needs Trump's political incorrectness in order to get things done. What they seem to forget is that offensive language does not translate into political prowess. Anyone can tear others down for the sake of entertainment and shock-value. What counts is forming a comprehensive plan to make positive changes in U.S. politics. Trump has shown no evidence that he is up for this challenge, or that he is capable of making any positive change.
Let's consider just one of Trump's political proposals. Trump has arguedthat a central problem in the United States is our country's porous borders, but Trump's proposal to build a wall and deport 11 million illegal U.S. residents is as na�ve as it is heartless. Trump's wall, which would need to cover 2,000 miles of border between the U.S. and Mexico, would cost upwards of $6.4 billion. Furthermore, it would take 20 years and cost between $735 to $935 billion to carry out mass deportations.
These figures do not consider the toll such action would take on American families and communities, which are so intimately intertwined with the lives of immigrants. Nor do they take into account the political cost of such action: it is unlikely that the countries on the receiving end of mass deportation would accept unilateral U.S. action without complaint. How Trump plans to enact these proposals ,while simultaneously getting rid of U.S. debt - another of his core policy proposals - is a mystery.
Trump's so-called solution to the immigration issue is just one example of his lack of pragmatism. And yet, this example is important in that illegal immigration has become a hallmark of Trump's campaign. The real estate mogul has blamed a whole slew of societal ills on the U.S. borders: lack of jobs, the drug epidemic, a lack of unity in American society, and our poor economy.
If Trump truly believes that our border is the source of so many problems, he should have a detailed plan to combat this issue. Instead, Trump's lack of foresight reveals that he is not really concerned with finding a solution. Rather, Trump has simply used the issue of illegal immigration to cast blame on a minority group, thus gaining support from the majority instead of solving the problem he laments.
This trend of scapegoating and name-calling is just as concerning as Trump's failure to create any semblance of a political platform. Though Trump lists one of his main policy focuses as “unifying the nation” and getting rid of the hatred in American society, his campaign has done exactly the opposite.
The case of Rose Hamid is also indicative of this trend. Hamid, a Muslim woman from South Carolina, showed up to a Trump rally as a silent protester. She hoped that by interacting with a Muslim in person, Trump supporters might think twice about the discriminatory policies that Trump has proposed, such as creating a database to track Muslim Americans and surveilling U.S. mosques. Instead, they yelled and chanted angrily as Hamid was escorted out of the rally. This visceral reaction to Hamid's peaceful protest is a foreboding indicator of what life would be like under Trump's presidency.
In his short time as a Republican leader, Trump has used incendiary arguments to fan the flames of existing discriminatory sentiments in the U.S. populace. Trump has failed to articulate just exactly how he will “make America great again,” instead spending his time casting blame on marginalized groups such as Muslims and immigrants. I'd like to take this opportunity to remind readers that good manners and good planning make for a good president, not heated rhetoric and excessive scapegoating. To those who stand against name-calling and alarmism as a campaign strategy, please consider New Hampshire as a warning. Take the time to cast your vote for someone who isn't Trump.