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Thank God for Donald Trump

Yep, I said it. As I wrote in a previous article, I have believed for a while now that Donald Trump stands a very good chance of becoming the next President of the United States. As difficult as it is to believe on this campus, and college campuses nationwide, a critical mass of the rest of the national population simply does not see the world the way that we do. In our formative years of development, we saw a black man win the national presidential election under the slogan, “Yes We Can,” and we assumed that these words were the dawn of an entirely new era of American society. Out with the old, in with the new. New technology, new race relations, new marriage laws, new everything. New is better, new is the future.

And while as we’ve gotten older our generation has adapted to every new development, other folks, especially in economically disconnected areas, just don’t see things this way. In fact, their lives are hurting. They like the way the world used to be. As a result, our nation is faced with a populist, anti-establishment backlash, led by a man who shows fascist tendencies in the things that he says and the way that he says them. There is a very real chance that Trump will win. And, believe it or not, I am grateful for this.

Now, if you’ve read my other articles, this statement might surprise you. Frankly, I’m terrified of Trump, and believe that he is one of the greatest threats to American society that we’ve seen in generations. I believe in Obama’s America, at least what it promises in terms of race relations, and I believe that it is our duty as young leaders to fight for equality of opportunity regardless of race, gender, class of birth, or sexual affiliation. So, then, why do I thank God for Donald J. Trump?

Because I believe that Donald Trump is exactly what our generation (especially white liberals) needs to wake up from our state of complacency. By representing intolerance, bigotry and racism, Donald Trump and his immense success show us that all of the progress generations of activists have fought for can be swiped away in an instant if our generation does not stand up and fight back. Unless our generation stands up, speaks out, and, crucially, votes, then we can get ready to inaugurate the 45th president of the United States: Donald J. Trump. And he is only the beginning.

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Now, as I’ve detailed more extensively in a previous piece, Donald Trump has said and done a lot of awful, terrible things, but he has also done some positive ones. First and foremost, he has exposed the slimy underbelly of the Republican Party, which has been playing with fire for far too long, employing political tactics to keep the poor and uneducated in their place (including within their own party) while the rich prosper. Well, in 2016, the political chimera that is the Republican Party will finally split apart based on class lines, and we have Donald Trump to thank for that.

We also have Donald Trump to thank for another, harder truth, especially at this university: While globalization and the information age revolution sound wonderful in theory, in practice they can have enormously disruptive effects on society. The jobs that we outsource, which build upon corporate profits, are American peoples’ livelihoods. These social effects of globalization render a democratic system such as ours susceptible to populist backlash from economically disaffected groups, the “economic losers.”

This is a particularly important lesson at a school like Harvard, where the elite are formed. As future world leaders, it is important to think about the consequences of our actions besides our own personal gain. It is dangerous to blindly ride the wave of technological innovation and progress if it means that we as the future elite neglect the needs and demands of society as a whole. It’s time for us to realize that in a system defined by increased income disparity, there are going to be more losers than winners. If we, the elite, continue to think only of reaping the gains of technological progress without thinking of the rest of society’s material wellbeing, we will leave our nation particularly vulnerable to demagogues such as Donald Trump in the future. And yet, Trump’s dangerous appeal to the disenchanted economic “losers” is exactly the threat we need to motivate us to work together to build a better society.

Hopefully it’s not too late, but if we are too complacent and fail to stand up to and vote against Trump, then our American society will take an enormous step backwards. Still, I believe in our generation, and progressives in all generations, and I believe that we will stand up to Trump’s appeals to fear and tribalism and ensure that he does not take office. And ultimately, I am hopeful the threat posed by Trump and people like him will make our generation, and our school, recognize the danger posed by blindly pursuing technological progress at the expense of the livelihood of the American people. And, for these reasons, I thank God for Donald J. Trump.


William F. Morris IV ’17-’18 is taking a year off to intern in a public defender's office and advocate for mental health awareness.

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