Trump’s scapegoating of undocumented immigrants is Mein Kampf-era madness and it’s time we say that
On Labor Day, Paul Waldman did something that few people have enough hours in a lifetime to do. He put together a partial list of some of the stories that illustrate “the kind of history of corruption, double-dealing, and fraud that Donald Trump has.”
You should read the whole post but here’s a screenshot of the list to give you a sense of what we’re talking about:
Waldman notes that over and over a “story about some kind of corrupt dealing emerges, usually from the dogged efforts of one or a few journalists; it gets discussed for a couple of days; and then it disappears.”
The result is Trump gets cast as the flashy businessman with normal businessman dings while Clinton’s indiscretions get exploded into never-ending scandals connected to all manner of uranium-fueled fever dreams.
So as a result, these essential points go ignored:
Trump is the least qualified and most indebted candidate ever. His business record is sole credential and its pockmarked with shame and corruption. And he’s least transparent candidate since at least Watergate.
The press is utterly baffled or indifferent when it comes to dealing with the collected weight of his indiscretions cloaked with Trump’s willingness to lie, contradict himself and invent reality.
And — as political scientist John Stoehr points out — it’s unwilling to note that “a candidate for the presidency of the United States can give a policy speech on immigration based on the fever dreams of nativist-white nationalists, and the entire media apparatus does not report that it is unadulterated racism.”
Trump’s smears against undocumented immigrants may have become less colorful than his debut racism of calling Mexicans “rapists” and “murderers.” But it’s no less insidious.
Trump is engaged in a smear campaign against Latino immigrants that is beyond anything we’ve seen in modern America politics. Its furor and blatant falsehoods resembles Hitler’s early attacks on the Jews more than the subtle digs we’re used to conservatives making about “welfare queens” and “takers,” which are debilitating and dangerous in themselves.
Trump has normalized white supremacist rhetoric against the undocumented.
And he’s done it by eschewing slurs and embracing outright lies that feel true to an aging white working class populace whose kids are unlikely to enjoy the same opportunities they did thanks in large part to conservative policies.
Trump’s marquee lie that he uses to frame his attack on the undocumented to assert that “illegal immigrants” are being treated better than veterans.
It’s a nonsensical claim built off a real Veterans Administration scandal that the right-wing hyped endlessly to further its goal of privatizing the VA. But the press rarely bothers to debunk it, the way largely ignored sites like FactCheck.org do:
They can’t get Social Security, or enroll in government health care programs such as Medicaid or Medicare. They don’t qualify for food stamps, government housing or unemployment benefits, and they can’t vote.
And the biggest disgrace of this lie is that tens of thousands of undocumented Americas are veterans.
We shouldn’t have to point out that the undocumented are less likely to commit crimes and tend to contribute more to society than they take. But we should — over and over. Because what Trump is doing will fester and get worse.
He’s offered so many racist lies that the press doesn’t even acknowledge his claim that Mexico was sending its worst immigrants to this country, which is like a Protocols of the Elders of Zion-level conspiracy theory.
And then there’s his use of “Angel Moms.” As mourners who lost their family members to people in this country they deserve our sympathy. But Trump is using them to illustrate a crisis that doesn’t exist.
“He is attempting to scapegoat undocumented immigrants for all the country’s ills, and making an almost millenarian promise of imminent utopia if only they can be removed,” Slate‘s Michelle Goldberg wrote.
You only indulge in this kind of behavior to justify mass inhumanity — which is what Trump’s mass deportation plan is, no matter how he spins it — and to avoid real crises that you have no solution for or want to make worse.
Workers are suffering as nearly all the gains the economy go to the richest .01 percent. And here we have a member of that .01 — who either wants to cut his own taxes or pays zero taxes — ginning up hate toward the most vulnerable people in this nation, who just happen to be dying to pay more taxes.
This is racist demagoguery that has never been more obvious — and many Americans are oblivious to it because our press isn’t capable of calling out Trump’s corrupt campaign of racist lies.
[Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr]