Trump Recycles the Racist Divide and Conquer Message

Donald Trump sank to a new low this past week with his call to temporarily prevent all Muslims from entering the U.S. in the wake of the shootings in San Bernardino. He even referred to the shameful chapter of history where the US government put Japanese-Americans into concentration camps during the World War II as a positive precedent. Decades ago the U.S. government admitted that those imprisoned had been falsely targeted. But reality doesn’t stop Trump from his vicious attacks.

If this was just the ranting of an isolated, ignorant mad man at the end of the bar before closing time, we could laugh it off and ignore him. But it’s not. He is a media star and a billionaire candidate for the U.S. presidency. He is encouraging fear of all Muslims and is fueling the kinds of attacks on innocent people that we saw after September 11th. What he is doing is dangerous and should be opposed.

Early in his campaign, he called Mexican immigrants, rapists and drug addicts. He claimed that the Mexican government is sending criminals to the U.S. Facts have nothing to do with his claims. He is out to spread fear and encourage and prejudice. Later, he tweeted a chart that claimed to show that 81 percent of white homicide victims were killed by black attackers. This is an outright lie. The FBI’s figures show that 82.3 percent of white people who are murdered, are killed by a white person. The more outrageous Trump is, the more lies he tells, the more publicity he gets. He is front-page news in the newspapers and a regular feature on TV and radio. He was even considered for Time Magazine’s “person of the year”!

Trump uses racist stereotyping to appeal mainly to those white people who are open to this sort of fear mongering. It is the old “us” versus “them” game. Blame “them” for the fact that you haven’t had a wage increase in more than a decade or that you and your family have lost your home due to mortgage swindling. Or that the young people in your family can’t find work or are strung out on drugs. Blame “them” for the fear that your world is crumbling around you. Blame everyone other than those who are really responsible – the 1% who rule.

Trump is following a long line of rightwing politicians who have used this kind of insulting garbage to turn people against each other. It is not Muslims or Mexican immigrants, or African Americans who are responsible for layoffs, cutting pensions and benefits, low paying part time jobs, gentrifying the cities, threatening our health care and social security benefits and raising the cost of college education. In fact the groups blamed by Trump and others are hit hardest by these attacks.

The responsibility for the problems we confront rests with those at the top. Trump knows this. He is one of them. His billions of dollars come from knowing how to work this system. And he is continuing in the tradition of divide and conquer, of fooling some people, mainly white people, into attacking minorities rather than joining forces with others to fight back against the bosses.

Unfortunately this is not new. This country was founded on the genocide of Native Americans. Most of this country’s early wealth came from the labor of enslaved Africans. Over and over again different minority groups were discriminated against in order to have a section of the working class that was more exploited than others. Discrimination was directed against the Irish and later against Italians, then Eastern Europeans. Chinese workers were attacked and deported and prohibited from entering the U.S.

This kind of scapegoating has been used every time the U.S. rulers want to go to war by trying to fool us into believing that we need to fight and sacrifice against a new enemy. Since September 11th the demonizing of Muslims has been used to justify billions of dollars in war spending to defend the oil companies and weapons manufacturers at the cost of millions of lives in the Middle East and thousands of American lives.

Trump uses these same tactics and the corporate media is his ally in promoting his shameful and disgusting views. No one should be taken in by this bigmouth racist liar. He is the defender of the rich and the enemy of all working people.