Right-Wing Nationalism Was Not A Sneak Attack, Says Trevor Noah

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It's been a little more than a year since Trevor Noah took over The Daily Show news desk, and the South Africa-born comedian turned news commentator is right there with the rest of us when it comes to fatigue with politics.

"There are moments where I'm swept in the chaos and the panic around this election," Noah told Refinery29 in a recent telephone conversation. But perhaps because of Noah's more global perspective, he's not as surprised as some by how the whole process has played out.

"It's not as strange as many Americans would like to think it is: If you look at the rise of right-wing nationalism all over the world, you understand why this is happening," he said. "It's happening in Europe, in Australia, and in the Americas, as well as in the U.K. So you come to see that this is a feeling and a sentiment that is growing — as opposed to a freak, isolated incident that's just happening in the United States of America."

But has being in the U.S. and doing nightly news over the last 365-plus days influenced the way Noah thinks of America? In a word: "Definitely."

"I still enjoy and appreciate the United States," the late-night host explained. "But I will say: When I first got here, I guess I had an inferiority complex about where I was from. Now I've come realize that America is almost as dysfunctional as many African countries. It's just [America has] found a way to make that dysfunction a part of the system."

And while Noah does not identify with one major political party at the exclusion of another, he does have definitive thoughts about which candidate belongs in the Oval Office.

"You don't have to be Democrat to see that Donald Trump is a mad man. There is a reason that most Republicans have separated themselves from him... I've had conversations with Mitt Romney, and Lindsey Graham — these are people who I may not have agreements on on many things, and yet we can agree that Donald Trump is one of the scariest propositions for the United States.

"These are people who are fundamentally opposed to Hillary Clinton because of her views, because of what they believe she would bring to the Supreme Court, and an extremely liberal point of view, and a leftist agenda. I understand that they're against that, and that's why they have the political affiliations that they do," he said.

So, the fact some Republicans have broken rank and said they won't be voting for the party candidate? "That's a strong thing," Noah said. "I don't think you need to be politically leaning in any way to [think]: This is an election where there has been a complete breakdown of a normal race, and the two people who are competing — there' s no contest between them."

This has been excerpted from Refinery29's upcoming full interview with Trevor Noah on the subject of his book, Born a Crime, out November 15.
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