"Der Donald" and the Rise of the Right Wing

By: Kayla Hewitt 

Lobyn Hamilton is an artist with work currently displayed at the University of Indianapolis in an exhibit called The Breaks. Hamilton works using the medium of vinyl, deconstructing records and their covers to create a new form of art. Of the pieces displayed in the exhibition, “Der Donald”, pictured below, has attracted the most attention.

When it comes to Trump’s rise specifically, Hamilton believes the election of the nation’s first black president has greatly impacted our political landscape. President Obama’s time in the White House has tested the national narrative of America’s “melting pot” and, as a result, Hamilton believes that this conflict of standards has contributed to the rise of Trump.

“Everything is fine until your ideals are challenged. Everything is fine until you get a non-Anglo Saxon into the presidency,” said Hamilton.

The election of President Obama made the abstract theory of racial equality in America seem far more concrete than many of its believers ever expected it to be, completely changing the discourse of the nation, and eventually causing tangible results in the actions of the electorate.

“After the election of Obama we began to hear a lot of rhetoric that I had never heard before about a President,” said Hamilton. “It went from keyboard banging to people voting in who they thought would stop Obama from doing something.”

Although the piece has a quite blatant connection to Donald Trump and his candidacy, it is also a reaction to the recent wave of right wing movements all across the globe. When speaking of his inspiration for creating “Der Donald”, Hamilton points to his time in Europe where he witnessed first hand the effects of right wing politics.

“I was in Munich, and we had to leave the square because the right wing party was doing demonstrations against the refugees. Then, I go to London, and they’re talking about Brexit.”

Although one may be immediately struck by the shock of the association of an American presidential candidate and the Nazi Party, “Der Donald” is much more about the connection between the sentiments of the recent conservative movements and the early stages of the Nazi party. It is not only meant to shock, but also to provoke conversation within the context of history. In an effort to convey this message, Hamilton researched the rise of Nazism and traveled to Germany to attain a copy of the Nazi Handbook.

“It was important for me to convey [Donald Trump’s candidacy] through a way of historically linking the two because it would be sophomoric to put a couple swastikas with a picture of Donald Trump.”

Whether you love or hate Trump, it is important to take a step back from partisan politics and realize that we are observing history in the making. Outside of our own fears and concerns, we must be able to objectively contextualize Trump and his right wing counterparts around the world. Only then, will we not only be able to understand the movement more completely, but also the individuals behind it.

Check out more of Lobyn Hamilton’s work: Here