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The Financial Express

US election: Trump continues to play racist card

| Updated: October 24, 2017 11:11:30


US election: Trump continues to play racist card

Donald Trump had entered the race for the Republican Party's ticket by making the case of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country that are largely Hispanics the signature of his campaign. On the campaign trail, he called the Mexicans, who constitute the largest number of illegal immigrants in the country, "criminals" and "rapists." He then came out with the outrageous idea of building a state-of-the-art wall on the 1985-mile-long Mexican-US border to stop completely anyone from entering the United States from its southern borders.
Donald Trump also sent out another outrageous message on immigrants, this one to the Muslims. He used the country's fear of 'Radical Islam' to demand a total ban on Muslims wishing to visit or migrate to the United States until the country's leaders were able to figure out "what the hell was going on out there." 
When he found that the right wing of the Republican Party was receiving his stand on illegal immigrants and immigration with wild enthusiasm, Donald Trump   developed the outlines of a vaguely defined immigration policy that in effect is racist. The media went along with it because it felt that significant sections in the country were against the immigrants and that it was adding spice to the 2016 presidential election.
The media also felt that Donald Trump would moderate the racist nature of his ideas about immigrants and immigration as the campaign picked up steam. It thought that the Republican candidate would be forced to moderate his immigration and immigrants stance because the majority of Americans would reject these views as these fundamentally contradicted everything that has allowed America to become the leading country in the world. 
In fact, for a while, it looked like the media was correct in assessing that the Republican candidate would moderate his despicable views on immigration and immigrants. Thus after becoming certain that he would get the Republican nomination before it was formally offered to him, he changed his total ban on Muslims to a partial ban. At the Republican National Convention in July, where he was formally nominated as the Party's candidate, he said that he would not allow Muslims to enter the United States from the countries that exported terror.
He made more moves away from his racist immigration policies following the Democratic National Convention. With his number falling dangerously, nationally, and in the critical swing states, Donald Trump momentarily realised that his racist immigration policy was closing all doors for votes from two major and critical voting blocs, namely the Hispanics who constitute nearly 9.0 per cent of the electorate and the African-Americans who make up 13 per cent of the total voters of the country. In fact, Donald Trump changed his campaign manager for the third time and named Kellyanne Conway to head his campaign with the intention of doubling down on his racist immigration policies,
Thus in recent weeks, Donald Trump had made a good number of reconciliatory moves towards the Hispanics and the African Americans. He also did something that no one expected him to do. He apologised for the insults and humiliations he had hurled at will at groups and individuals including the Golden Family of Khizr Khan. He did not, however, name any group or individuals in seeking what can only be described as "Trumpian" apology that was really no apology at all. Nevertheless, there were expectations in the country and more so in the Republican Party that was close to desperation watching Donald Trump not just ruin his own candidature but in the process rip the Party apart, that the apology would be the start of the candidate moderating his immigration policies to pivot towards the national electorates.
In fact, just before going on his sudden and unexpected trip to Mexico last week, Donald Trump had scaled down considerably on his anti-immigration policy. Just days before that trip he had told Fox Television's Sean Hannity: "I had a great meeting with great people, great Hispanic leaders, and there could certainly be a softening because we're not looking to hurt people." In Mexico, Donald Trump was so soft on Mexicans and illegal immigrants that there was no way to believe that he had ever been so insulting, demeaning and humiliating to them. 
But the real Donald Trump emerged once again on his signature immigration issue on his return from Mexico in the speech he gave in Phoenix the evening of the same day he visited Mexico. In the speech, he shattered the hope of many in the Republican Party and in the country with whom he had struck the right chord with his argument that America is going down; Washington is responsible for it and that he would make the country great again. In believing Donald Trump, his supporters, however, overlooked the fact that he made these promises on purely racist policies by trashing American values and the Constitution. The Phoenix speech that was directed at his base of the ultra right that was apprehensive that Donald Trump would moderate has now left no one in doubt that the racist nature of Donald Trump's immigration policy is not going to change.
In Phoenix, Donald Trump outlined an immigration policy where immigrants already in the country and those to be allowed to migrate must blend with the culture of the white supremacist. In its final shape, this immigration policy would rebuild America where there would be no place for other cultures, religions or colours except that of his core supporters. CNN described this immigration policy as "twisted dystopian rant on immigration." This apart, the body language of his Phoenix speech has been full of hatred towards immigrants.  It is incredible that someone seeking to become the President of the world's oldest democracy that has historically accepted immigrants of all religions, races and colours could have such absurd views on immigration and immigrants.
Donald Trump paraded white Americans who lost close family members in the hands of illegal immigrants on stage in Phoenix like all illegal immigrants responsible are murderers. He had earlier used the same ploy on Muslims. In both cases, Donald Trump set aside reason and facts to create hatred because, first, the number of white Americans killed at the hands of illegal immigrants and American Muslims is so ridiculously low that the reference is absurd. In fact, 33,000 Americans die each year in gun-related murders/acts (that include those by illegal immigrants/Muslims) for which illegal immigrants or American Muslims should not even be mentioned because such acts by them are just too few and could be counted on one's finger tips. Second, the country's absurd and crime-friendly gun laws to which Donald Trump has given his wholehearted support are responsible for these murders.
Donald Trump's vision of America is one dominated by the whites where the essence of a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious United States of America would eventually end. It is a vision that others in history have tried but failed abjectly. As for America, it is the antithesis of the vision of its founding fathers.
The writer is a retired Ambassador.
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