Originally Published August 2, 2015
Trump. The blogs are ablaze; the talking heads can’t seem to get enough of the blathering “birther.” It was no surprise that Donald Trump would enter the 2016 presidential race. His dogged critique of President Obama and his obsession with the long debunked myths regarding his origins were his way of courting the fanatical right, hoping they would carry his gold plated litter on their backs to a party nod.
Now that Obama is in his post “I’m all out of fuchs” groove Trump needed a new, seemingly easier scape-goat. And so he decided to turn to an oldie but goodie – xenophobia and racism against Latinos. His comments attempted to lend credence to his name and money to the rallying cry of the far right. Of course, we know the truth, but the effort to debunk immigrant myths have become a tiring game of “whack a mole.”
You see, Trump is not stupid. He knows Middle America. While he professes of wanting to return the U.S. to “greatness” using the platform of economics, you have to ask what credibility a multiple-bankrupt real estate developer has when all data points toward democratic presidents doing better for the economy? What he talks about is more a dog whistle to the base. If you read between the lines “back to greatness” really means “back to a time of white, Christian Men” dominating positions of power. He knows that there is an America that is easily swayed by this notion; a “Fox News” America that has been scared to death that changing times means their collective doom.
That Trump is exploiting this fear is not new, or a surprise. He has made a career of exploiting the weak for his gain. In fact, his run is less about winning and more about doing what he does best—building up his personal brand. When so many have made big bucks off the far right “crazies & conspiracy nuts,” (Palin, Coulter, Hannity, Rush, Beck), it only makes sense that he’d try to lock in that market. In a democracy, even this type of lunacy has a place in our politics. It’s just usually reserved for the side-show.
Except, that is not what’s happening. The ultra conservative core of the GOP base, contrary to the hopes of its leadership, have embraced Trump. Why would these folks fall for such shenanigans? Trump exemplifies the end of “American exceptionalism.” This concept championed by the GOP, (yet, ironically coined by Marxists) is the idea that the US is unique in its quest for democracy and freedom, that of all the countries in the world, we are special because…well, we are Americans. It infers that we make smarter political choices than the rest of the world, who we see as full of corruption and motivated by baser “ideals.”
And what has been the Latino response? Staggering. Few things or people in recent memory have galvanized the community as much as their disdain for the red-faced rube. Even former friends, like Pitbull, spoke out against the man he’s admittedly had friendly relations and business dealings with. Lest you think that the reaction is reserved for the glitterati and intellectuals – here’s a response by a Mexican laborer, which has been making the web waves: