LULAC Director Pens Op-Ed Calling The Trump Brand A "Bankrupt Brand Of Hate"

Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ Versión en español

Brent Wilkes, executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), denounced Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's brand as a "symbol of bigotry, hatred and exclusion."

In a March 16 op-ed, which ran in English on HuffPost Latino Voices and in Spanish on Univision.com, Wilkes wrote that Trump's campaign slogan "is an overt message to his followers" that he will reverse the country's demographic changes, "excluding immigrants, Latinos, Blacks, Asians and the disabled." According to Wilkes, Trump has "dispensed with the usual dog whistles and gone straight for the bullhorn" when it comes to racially-motivated political rhetoric.

Media figures have already pointed out the harmful effects of Donald Trump's rhetoric. Despite evidence that some violent incidents have been inspired by Trump's discourse, many Fox News figures still refuse to "brand Trump as racist" and continue to whitewash the violence at his events, often even blaming the victims.

From Wilkes' op-ed:

The Trump brand, once synonymous with ostentatious luxury, has been twisted by the candidate himself into a worthless symbol of bigotry, hatred and exclusion. The moment that Donald Trump announced his candidacy, he condemned the entire 58 million-strong Latino community in the United States as rapists, murders, drug dealers and criminals. Trump has targeted ethnic minorities as the centerpiece of his campaign and the only promise for which he has released a detailed agenda.

Even his campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" is an overt message to his followers that he will somehow turn back the clock on our nation's demographic changes. Making America great in Trump's ominous rhetoric means excluding immigrants, Latinos, Blacks, Asians and the disabled, just to name a few.

A clear example of the rebranding of Trump can be seen in high schools across the country where kids are using Trump's name and likeness to taunt racial minorities.

[...]

Emboldened by candidate Trump's ability to sell overtly racist views as merely "politically incorrect" and still command relentless media attention, some students are using Trump as a synonym for the bigotry and exclusion that his brand now represents.

[...]

For a businessman who values his personal brand at $3.3 billion -- more than a third of his total worth -- Trump's eagerness to associate his name with hate speech defies the norm. Virtually all other businesses in America do everything possible to protect their brands rather than to destroy them.

Yet Trump's naked appeal to white angst about our nation's changing demographics is not unique, just the most overt. He has dispensed with the usual dog whistles and gone straight for the bullhorn, spewing hateful rhetoric and betting that racialized whites are a bigger block of voters than many previous candidates thought possible.

By playing on people's hatred, fear and prejudice, Trump is bringing out the worst in Americans in order to win their vote. He is exploiting and aggravating racial divisions in the United States in a gambit to win the Republican Party's nomination for president.

Yet he is also transforming his namesake luxury brand, gaudy as it was, into the brand of hate and dragging down the Republican brand along with him in the process.

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