Donald Trump is scheduled to host Saturday Night Live next month.
You shouldn’t watch it.
SNL has featured politicians before; just a couple of weeks ago Hillary Clinton had a short bit in which she played a bartender named Val talking to “Hillary Clinton.” She was quite funny — of course I’m a liberal Democrat, so I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. And almost all the candidates on both sides have appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show. And Jimmy Fallon’s show.*
Hosting SNL is different. Hosting SNL conveys status, as well as allowing much more time than a simple Late Show or Tonight appearance. Even if there is no discussion of politics, it legitimizes Trump in a way that benefits him to the detriment of other candidates. But even if Donald Trump were not running for president, even if he were simply a reality show star and overhyped real estate mogul, you still should not watch him host SNL.
This man has said the most vile things about Mexicans and women. He has impugned the integrity of a war hero. He has, time and time again, doubled down after being caught out spouting racism or misogyny. He has frequently and maliciously attacked the president’s right to office, giving fuel to (if not actually originating) the entire “birther” movement. He has espoused the debunked and dangerous notion that vaccines cause autism. He seems to view truth as disposable if he finds it inconvenient.
The man is the worst sort of demagogue, the sort who makes me — not ashamed to be an America, never that — ashamed to share a nationality with him. I resent the way that he has corrupted our political discourse, which has not been too healthy to begin with the past few years.
If Saturday Night Live wishes to give such a man a hosting gig, they will do so without me watching. I hope you’ll join me in doing something — anything — else when he hosts the show.
*I have to say that the decision of Colbert and Fallon to give time — and a forum — to people like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz makes me think less of them. If the hosts were worried about equal time issues, then they should not have had any candidates on.