Trump Shows Hate Speech is Out and Proud – by Gary Younge – Guardian UK:

Trump Shows Hate Speech is Out and Proud – by Gary Younge – Guardian UK

Those who have been asking if it was necessary to take Donald Trump’s candidacy seriously finally have their answer.

The fact that he has topped almost every poll for the Republican nomination for the past four months was always being weighed against the obvious – he’s a buffoon, with a comb over as brazen, ridiculous and outlandish as his rhetoric. He has offended women, Mexicans, disabled people, Jews, Chinese and immigrants.

Those who saw him only as an entertainer kept waiting for his Republican audience to get the joke and move on to more plausible candidates. But on Monday, 07 December after he called for Muslims to be prevented from entering the US, his presence had become so toxic, even his most dismissive detractors could ignore him no more. 

To cheers from the faithful, Trump read out a statement referring to himself in the third person: “Donald J Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

Americans are used to such venom dripping from the lips of talk radio hosts and the occasional Fox News anchor. But to be uttered by the frontrunner for the nomination of one of the two main parties was more than many had bargained for. What once had been considered hate speech confined to the margins of political life is now out and proud in the mainstream. “Probably not politically correct,” Trump said afterwards. “But I don’t care”.

This is a large part of his appeal. He articulates the frustration and bewilderment of that section of uneducated, unskilled, low-paid white America, whose wages have stagnated and social mobility has stalled that is nostalgic for its local privileges and global status. In recent times, they have lost wars, jobs, houses and confidence.

So when he brands Mexicans “rapists”, Chinese “cheats” and all Muslims potential threats he gives free rein to their insecurities about an increasingly cosmopolitan and less predictable world they feel they have been excluded from.

To that extent, his base is not too different from that of the Front National, which just triumphed in the French regional elections, Ukip or any of the range of far-right parties currently making headway in Europe.

“Minorities are the flashpoint for a series of uncertainties that mediate between everyday life and its fast-shifting global backdrop,” writes Arjun Appadurai in Fear of Small Numbers.

“This uncertainty, exacerbated by an inability of states to secure economic sovereignty in the era of globalisation, can translate into a lack of tolerance of any sort of collective stranger.”

Trump was responding in part to shootings in San Bernadino, California, where a Muslim couple, claiming to support Islamic State, killed 14 people. The mass shooting – the 353rd this year – was defined by the FBI and Barack Obama as a “terrorist incident”.

For those who see the presence of Muslims – and not the easy accessibility of guns – as the central threat the shooting represented not the routine occurrence of gun violence in the US but a particular pathology stoking a lurking fear.

Trump did not invent Islamophobia in the US. In a Pew research poll from last year, which asked people to rate different religions from 0 to 100 – with higher numbers suggesting more positive feelings, Islam came last with 40, just behind atheists (41) and way down among Republican voters (33).

Indeed, while Trump’s fellow Republicans rounded on him on Monday, few expressed outrage just two weeks ago when he proposed a database to track Muslims living in the US. Nor was he alone in advocating discriminatory measures.

Ben Carson, one of his main contenders for the nomination, suggested Syrian refugees should be screened as though they were “rabid dogs”. Meanwhile, two other Republican hopefuls, Texas senator Ted Cruz and former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, both suggested prioritising Christian refugees from Syria first.

But while the race to the bottom has long been on, Trump was always uniquely well positioned to win it and leverage anti-Muslim bigotry for electoral gain. One poll, earlier this year, showed Trump’s supporters are among the most negative towards Muslims among Republicans, with 77% of his supporters believing “the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life”.

Few among his Republican challengers were ever prepared to challenge him head on. When they did, it seemed to do little damage, which allowed his bigotry to fester in the public square.

His support, which had been waning until the Paris attacks, has since shot up – as have the number of Islamophobic attacks in the US. So while his comments drew a stern rebuke from across the political spectrum, it remains to be seen if they will do him any harm. The more the establishment round on him, the more his supporters hail his outsider status and celebrate the notion that he is breaking a taboo.

The fact that his xenophobic binge has done little to damage his status among the Republican faithful says a great deal about the party. But the narrow question of what these outbursts do to his electoral prospects is secondary to the damage they are clearly doing to American political life.

Once discrimination on this scale enters the political market, it debases the currency of a democracy and leaves everything weaker and everyone more divided. He wouldn’t be the first political figure to make the transition from ridiculous to dangerous before the media and political elites realised the joke was really on them.

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Comments

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On December 11, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    The thought of this man becoming the commander-in-chief of the world’s greatest armed forces is a terrifying prospect for humanity.

  • detow  On December 11, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    All I ask is that they find whatever way they can to keep him the hell out of Canada. We have our own problems to deal with and do not want to be seen as targets because of our closeness (wish that they would build the fence that some Republicans called for in the past) to America.

  • Gigi  On December 12, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I am going to vote for this man! Trump is a true representation of real America that the world needs to see. To claim he only represents white uneducated Americans who vote republican is a big fat lie! Trump is the white version of Al Sharpton – the rabid racist thug Obama appointed to be “Race Ambassador.” In a country like America with an 80% white population, the populace will not tolerate a black Trump (Al Sharpton) especially given Obama’s disastrous presidency. Unless, of course, it wants a full out civil war. And it ain’t going to be just the white uneducated folks fighting.

    At least the Republican party represents a form of quasi democracy where candidates get to into the race provided they have the money to compete. Not so under the totalitarian Democrat party where less than a handful of candidates (3/4?) are carefully selected and scripted so as not to overshadow and contest the candidate the party has already selected to be their nominee; and where the second leading candidate is there only to roundup and corral the straying flock. How the hell is that process democratic?

    Trump 2016!!!!!

    • Albert  On December 12, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Gigi: “I am going to vote for this man (Trump)!”

      Kind of surprise. You sounded more like an anti American radical.
      White version of Sharpton?
      Did not hear Trump saying anything against Africans. In fact, he said he plan to get 100% of black votes.
      Might have to reconsider your affiliation.

      • Thinker  On December 12, 2015 at 3:51 pm

        Why are you surprised? Haven’t I from early on pointed out that Gigi is consistently anti-black in anything she says? Wasn’t she also pushing some nonsense about Indians as Aryans, which is contrary to recent research (Indians didn’t come from somewhere else). She also blamed the filth of Georgetown under the PPP as due to Blacks. The clean-up since May has been astounding, folks. IT makes us all proud to be GUYANESE.

        The extreme right also is also capable of criticizing American big business.

    • Tata  On December 13, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      Gigi! If you follow politics in America, you will know that the Rev. Al Sharpton is the individual we all need on our sides when our Civil Rights are violated in America. Sadly, with a college education (so you say), you have not gotten out of the “cage” And, truly understand the struggle of Black people in America. Incidently, it is because of that struggle you are enjoying the legacy of the American Dream. You cannot hide who you are. You are Black in America.
      Check your Maderian Roots. The Portuguese were the first Slave Owners so why would they enslave their own. You should study your history.

      Moores!!!!!!!! Iberia!!!!

  • Thinker  On December 12, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/12/donald-trump-mark-bowden-playboy-profile
    Nothing new.

  • Tata  On December 13, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Why are we so upset with Donald Trump; when in fact “our world” is so very “Bigoted. As a matter of fact, Those of you who believe that Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”, speech has changed the American psyche, should have your heads examined. Unfortunately, we have today, people who cannot handle the “truth” and sometimes we need to pay attention to what Trump is saying without being so judgmental ourselves.

    Incidentally, Trump is saying what most of us think but afraid to say! However, he is not going to be America’s next President because the “political correctness scrip” was not written in his favor.

    Sadly, America has a bunch of untrustworthy candidates who are bought and controlled by wealthy “lobbyist”, who do not have the Nation’s best interest at heart. Unfortunately, this information and so many other important facts are lost in Trump’s conversation and the focus is now shifted to immigrants. Honestly, this campaign is much more than immigration and more about American safety.
    We may not like Trump’s message on immigrants but the voice of his followers are loud and clear and the polls don’t lie.

  • Albert  On December 14, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Gigi is the wrong person to tell about Al Sharpton.
    Did not know Gigi is black. Is she?
    If she is not then what black legacy is she enjoying.

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 14, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I almost don’t want to get into this one, but I was reading somewhere that some racist numb-skull wrote in defence of Netanyahu – something about how experienced a politician Netanyahu is and how irrelevant President Obama is to the leaders of the rest of the world … I believe it has to do with the freedom of speech thing – but, if you do not allow these Republican-Tea Party-Trump-idiots to speak, we would never know what is on their little pea-brain minds.

    They asserted that President Obama was elected because of Affirmative Action – really? President Obama campaigned to win at university; campaigned to win at the Illinois Senate; campaigned to win the Presidency of the USA – all the hatemongers, like donald trump came out of the wood-work to vow that he would be a one term President – they obstructed President Obama at every turn in the road – even to the point of taking the USA to the brink of financial collapse and writing a treasonous letter to foreign leaders – which all failed ….. – President Obama prevailed through all of this and more – Yet, it still boggles my mind how Affirmative Action came into the discussion – and how fools could get on this blog and trash President Obama … I don’t get it.

    If President Obama was allowed to run again, and turned loose on Donald trump, he would be looking pretty bad right now [and I don’t mean “pretty” in the true sense of the word – I couldn’t help myself] – the only reason Trump will survive this run, is because he is white and blonde and he will be forgiven.

    To make a long story short, one person commented that – perhaps, they could get their little insignificant Prime Minister Netanyahu to get Israel to stop living off the dole and that would show the Americans.

    [I hate trash talking – but that is what happens when you try to respond to fools – it is like wrestling with pigs …. it gets dirty]

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Harrison Ford – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcYvXBqzWq8

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 16, 2015 at 3:44 am

    Harrison Ford in Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_Z7SbHyrHU

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