By Duane Campbell,
Mexican American Digital History Project.
Trump’s Racially Divisive Politics Must Be Exposed and Opposed !
The intolerant agitation promoted by Republican Donald Trump and support of its substance by most Republican candidates is a call to the “silent white majority” and a demand that 11 million immigrants be deported. This campaign is a dangerous and divisive racial message. It must be vigorously opposed.
We know these campaigns to be dangerous. It is not only the ranting of a fringe right.
If you cannot vote, you can still campaign for candidates and assist opposing campaigns with literature distribution. One of the most effective things you can do is to work with campaigns and to talk with your friends, neighbors, and families.
Trump’s popularity among Republican voters has dramatically risen in the polls. He leads the Republican Party campaign for president and determines the terms of the debate . Cruz and Rubio have a similar policy on immigration, Build walls, deport people. This fear mongering political message has found a very receptive base within our society among xenophobic and angry conservative sectors.
As prior posts have demonstrated, the Trump– Cruz Republican arguments are factually incorrect and the proposed agenda is impossible to implement short of establishing an authoritarian police state never before seen in the US. How will he deport 11 million? And, how will he round up the estimated 40% of all of the workers who arrived with a valid visa, but overstayed their work or tourist visa?
Let us be clear. The attack on Mexican American children by Donald Trump is impossible to implement within the constitutional framework of the US.
There is no such thing as an anchor baby. They are U.S. citizens.
There is no such thing as “birth right citizenship,” they are U.S. citizens.
This is Dog Whistle Politics, as described well in Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, by Ian Haney López (2014).
It is remarkable and disturbing that the US press is treating these incendiary remarks as legitimate political discourse.
Instead, these are examples of strategic racism, which is a system of racial oppression created and enforced because it benefits the over class, in this case the many billionaire funders of the Republican Party.
This scapegoating campaign is a product of strategic racism, including a complex structure of institutions and individuals from police and sheriffs to immigration authorities and anti-immigrant activists, Tea Party activists, militia and elected officials and their support networks. These groups foster and promote interracial conflict and job competition as a strategy to keep wages and benefits low and to promote their continuing white supremacy in the nation.
Mexicans, Mexican Americans and other Latinos have good reason to be concerned about the mobilization of racist movements by these harsh and xenophobic campaigns. During the 1930’s some 1,000,000 Mexicans were deported in response to similar campaigns, including over 500,000 US citizens, and an additional 1,000,000 Mexicans were deported in Operation Wetback in the 1950's. Trump proposes that it should happen again.
In 1994 California passed an anti immigrant Prop. 187 parts of which became federal law and now lead to the deportation of millions. We need to recognize the potential advantage of racist scapegoating as revealed in the Republican promoted Proposition 187 initiative passed by 2/3 of California voters in 1994. The campaign produced a large turnout of right wing voters. Components of Prop. 187 became national law in 1996 as a part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation act of 1996, and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Both passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. They are Public Law 104-208.
In 1994, California had a population that was 56.3 % White, 26.3 % Latino, 9.4% Asian, 7.4 % African American, and 0.6% other. However, according to exit polls, the voters in this election were 80% white, 9% Latino, 7 % African American, and 4 % Asian. Exit polls show that Latinos voted against Prop. 187 by 3 to 1, African Americans split their vote 50-50, and the Anglo electorate passed the proposition by over 60%. The large turnout of white voters for this divisive initiative passed the divisive Prop. 187 and gave a substantial electoral victory for Republican Governor Wilson in his re-election campaign. Racism works. This mobilization of the white vote is the vote Trump and the other Republicans are seeking.
The purpose of Trump’s intolerant bombasts are not to develop a policy -- it is to capture and exploit the anxiety and emotion of a particular sub-set of voters: xenophobic Republicans and the hard Tea Party Right. Trump freely uses the stab-in-the-back rhetoric beloved of fascists in other eras. As Linguist George Lakoff says,
“He knows how to play the media and he knows how to insult people.”
To date this hate filled campaign has succeeded in winning a short-term victory while ignoring the long-range consequences of such bigotry. The devastating legacy of the Trump campaigns is the mobilization of a harsh, retaliatory, right wing. There is a significant increase in voters on the right of the Republican Party.
In response to the 1994 attack on the Mexican American community, Latinos organized to vote in large numbers for future elections. Republicans became a small minority party in California. The California population (not its voters) is currently Latino 37 %, White 37 %, Black 6%, Asian 14%, Native American 2 %, mixed race 4 %.
On Sept. 3, candidate Bernie Sanders said in Muscatine, Iowa, speaking about Donald Trump:
Candidates running for president should not stoop to racism and demagoguery to win votes. . . This country has experienced racism for hundreds of years. I would have hoped that by the year 2015 leading candidates for president like Mr. Trump would campaign on their ideas as to how they can address our serious problems, and not by trying to divide the country with racist and demagogic appeals. Clearly Trump is scapegoating the Hispanic community.
Politicians using divisive racial politics must be defeated. To do that, all eligible must register and vote. We must reach out and register Latino voters.
It is important for all to join this campaign. If you cannot vote, you can still campaign for candidates and assist campaign with literature distribution. One of the most effective things you can do is to work with campaigns and to talk with your friend, neighbors, and families.
Low voter turnout among Hispanics gives the radical right an opportunity to win.
As the Pew Research Center has pointed out, “Overall, 48% of Hispanic eligible voters turned out to vote in 2012, down from 49.9% in 2008. By comparison, the 2012 voter turnout rate among blacks was 66.6% and among whites was 64.1%, both significantly higher than the turnout rate among Hispanics.” (2013)
If we want to preserve a democratic society. We must register and get out the vote. Our families and our community depend upon you.