Trump on ‘Saturday Night Live’

By Samantha Rosengard
Staff Writer

“Live from New York, it’s Saturday night…” These words have been heard on televisions across America for the past forty years. Since its inception, “Saturday Night Live” has been influencing not only comedy in America, but politics as well. The show and its creators have a clear liberal bias, but have not been afraid to mock the left along with the right.  Their ability to sway political opinion has increased in the past decade or so.

After taking a few years off from political content following the 9/11 attacks, SNL returned to lambasting politicians to great effect. Their coverage of the 2008 election was said to have heavily swayed some voters toward voting for President Obama.

Various political figures have appeared on the show, including John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin. Arguably the most talked-about candidate in our upcoming election is Donald Trump.

I have no problem with SNL expressing political views, and I understand that Trump is a figure that is heavily discussed and easy to imitate on the show. SNL has a long list of sketches mocking Donald Trump that they have aired over the years. Yet I strongly disagree with the decision to invite Trump to host an episode of SNL this season.

A major point of Trump’s presidential platform concerns immigration and the removal of Mexicans from our country. He has built a large following on the basis of anti-Latino racism. And when we invite Donald Trump to be on magazine covers and host SNL, it says that we as a society have accepted and normalized this racism. A prominent political figure can be openly racist towards a significant portion of the country’s population and be rewarded for it.

The decision by SNL to ask Donald Trump to host says to me that they are more interested in viewers and ratings than they are with upholding their own political and social ideals. The show has been lambasted in the past, especially in recent years, for their racist hiring practices. The show has no Latino cast members currently, and has had only two in its 40-year history.

This incident seems to be yet another example of SNL being insensitive to racial issues. This is obviously a problem with society at large, and SNL should not shoulder all the blame. But they have a responsibility not to reward and encourage this man’s actions.

Since the announcement was made, SNL has faced extreme backlash from the public for their decision. The show also faces the problem of equal time rules, where networks are required to give candidates from both parties equal coverage on their stations. However, these do not seem to have made much of a difference at this point in time.

Many intend to boycott the upcoming episode in protest. Donald Trump will be appearing on SNL on Nov. 7, and I for one will not be watching.