Jun 20, 2016
Some of Donald Trump’s supporters in Congress seem to be embracing Trump with one arm, while using the other to distance themselves from him after each of Trump’s ethnic or racial slurs makes headlines. For example, Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, said that Trump’s call for a sweeping ban on immigrants if they happen to be Muslim is racist, as he said after Trump insisted that a federal judge ruled against him because he was “Mexican.”
But Trump’s overtly racist statements haven’t been enough for Republican leaders to disqualify him from representing their party in the November election. Ryan still says, for example, that he supports Trump’s candidacy.
And why not? Trump’s remarks are not very different than what Republican politicians spout every day. They just aren’t as open or crass as Trump.
As for the Democrats, who gleefully jump all over Trump’s remarks, they might not resort to the same kind of rhetoric as the Republican politicians. But in the end, the Democrats support similar policies that divide working people against each other.
How many times have we heard Republicans, Democrats, as well as most union officials, blame unemployment on foreign workers, thus stirring up racism and prejudice? It is the capitalists who rob workers of our jobs by driving fewer workers to work longer and harder in order to produce more. Politicians scapegoat workers in China or Mexico as a way of not just diverting workers’ anger away from the capitalist class, but justifying even more job cuts.
The same goes for terrorism. The politicians drum up racism and chauvinism in order to justify wars and the U.S. military build up – when it is precisely these wars that exacerbate the conditions that produce the terrorism. ISIS got its start in prisoner of war camps during the U.S. war in Iraq. Decades earlier, al Qaeda was created by the CIA and Saudi intelligence services during the war in Afghanistan. These are not accidents or mistakes. It is the U.S.’s own military allies, including in Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf states and Turkey, which arm and finance “radical Islamic” groups in their own quest for power and influence in that region – with the blessings of U.S. imperialism and its agents.
But the politicians turn around and use the threat of terrorism that was created by their own policies to attack the U.S. population, through more surveillance of the U.S. population, carried out by an increasingly more repressive police apparatus, thus tightening the grip over the U.S. population.
Trump’s brand of bigotry is at home in the Republican Party (and the Democratic Party), because it is a tool that politicians of both parties use in their defense of their capitalist masters – even when some of Trump’s openly racist statements make it harder for them to hypocritically pretend otherwise.