The 2016 American presidential election has been an absurd, exhausting and bruising spectacle. Now imagine living through it all as a Muslim American. Somehow, this election has managed to cram all the Islamophobic sentiments of the last 15 years into the span of 15 months, and then morph them into one ugly thing.
Donald Trump is largely to blame. He called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the country until it became clear that the proposal was embarrassingly ill-conceived, only to be replaced by the equally vague “extreme vetting”. He fought publicly with the Gold Star Khan family, suggesting Ghazala Khan was not “allowed to speak” at the Democratic convention because of her Muslim faith. He accused Muslim Americans as a group of harboring terrorists. There’s more, but we all know the story by now.
His daughter Ivanka and wife Melania have defended him for his unforgivable behavior toward women, and Ivanka also recorded an official campaign television advertisement openly courting women voters for her father. Trump denies the charge he mocked a disabled reporter, and despite a bevy of antisemitic incidentsinvolving Trump and his supporters over the past months, he has also directlysought Jewish American support. Such is his style of leadership: he may insult you, but he still wants your vote.