.
.
.
.

Donald Trump’s racist manifesto

A president Trump will plunge the world in trade wars

Hisham Melhem

Published: Updated:

The leadership of the Republican Party finds itself in a trap of its own making. Now that they have, on the whole, capitulated to an insurgent candidate pausing as a pretend conservative, they are frantically trying to justify their brazen Faustian bargain. They know that Mephistopheles lives off of fear and loathing that he breathes contempt and discord, that he craves adulations from supplicants, and yet they want to believe that in return for their souls, he would support some of their policies and their contrived ‘vision’ and ‘principles’. If you are searching for profiles in courage among Republicans in congress, you are looking in the wrong place.

Last week, Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and other senior Republicans were defending their candidate Donald Trump, while expressing their indignation against his latest racist outbursts. The essence of their position is; it is true that Trump’s discourses exude bigotry, and yes his attacks on an American judge of Mexican heritage fits “the textbook definition of a racist comment” as Ryan admitted, but we can still work with him. These leaders, as Senator McConnell said are “comfortable” collaborating with Trump in the name of party unity, passing their agenda in congress, and most importantly to make sure that Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, will not return to the White House as President.
A history of racism

Most Republicans in congress are still reluctant to admit that Trump dabbles in racism and exclusion, that he made numerous racist remarks, that in fact his announcement of his entry into the presidential race was itself a racist manifesto. But virtually no elected Republican of any weight dared to accuse Trump of racism when he insulted Mexicans, or later when he called for banning Muslims from entering the United States, and he was rarely confronted when he reveled in his obnoxious misogyny and casual antisemitism.

A president Trump will plunge the world in trade wars, and he will swing like an uncontrolled pendulum between corrosive nativism and military adventurism overseas

Hisham Melhem

I don’t recall any Republican with any national standing shutting up Trump, when he was the leader of the “birther” movement which sought to delegitimize the first African-American President. This disturbing tendency of many Republicans to tolerate people like Trump is not due only to the lack of moral courage, or weak character, but also because they share some of those dark views regarding immigrants, and Muslims. Trump’s vicious and incessant attacks on the heritage of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is hearing one of the lawsuits against the so-called “Trump University”, a sham enterprise, and the outrage they generated among the American people, embarrassed the Republicans and stiffened their backs to gently admonish the thin-skinned nominee to at least alter his tactics.

The battle cry of Republicans

Trump’s racist outrages, his gratuitous attacks on Republican Party leaders, and his inability or unwillingness to study the complex issues confronting the country; have encouraged some of his critics to call on those Republicans who endorsed Trump to withdraw their endorsement. There was only one taker; Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, who is waging a very tough re-election campaign, withdrew his endorsement. Even Senator Tim Scott, the sole black Republican Senator refused to revoke his support of Trump after criticizing his “racially toxic” statements. The silence of Senator John McCain, who is fighting for reelection, was particularly jarring, given his previous morally courageous positions against racism and religious bigotry. Early in the campaign McCain who was captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese, was at the receiving end of Trump’s mockery, just because he was captured and jailed for five and a half years.

But why let blatant racism spoil potential cooperation with Trump to pass speaker Ryan’s agenda? “But do I believe Hillary Clinton is the answer? No I do not…I believe that we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with his than with her” Ryan intoned. Speaker Ryan, like other Republicans believe that by invoking the specter of the nightmare of Republicans, also known as Hillary Clinton, they can justify their Faustian bargain. Hillary Clinton has become the Republicans favorite battle cry, to mobilize their troops for the kill.

The Republican Party is obsessed with a deeply flawed Hillary Clinton. She is too calculating, too cold, too contrived and lacking in authenticity. She likes to operate in secrecy and under the shade, and not under the glare of transparency. And she always suffered from a deficit of trustworthiness. While it is unfair to compare Trump, the politically illiterate novice to Clinton, who is clearly much superior intellectually and politically, nonetheless both are equally unpopular. In a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, Trump and Hillary were both at 57 percent disapproval. In a New York Times/ CBS News poll, 60 percent said Clinton does not share their values. Sixty four percent of respondents said she is not honest and trustworthy. A Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into her private email server she set up at her home remains as a sword dangling over her head.

The extent of Trump’s mendacity is breathtaking, for lying is in his DNA. But Trump is not a smart liar, since he forgets his numerous lies. He kept lying about his opposition to the invasion of Iraq and the military intervention in Libya, when in fact he was on the record supporting both actions. But if the nonpartisan PolitiFact has rated 76 percent of Trump’s pronouncements lies, it gave a rating score of 28 percent Clinton’s statements lies. Still, invoking Clinton’s name to scare the Republicans into submission to a Trump presidency is the height of folly. Clinton will not destroy America’s system of alliances, she will not tolerate the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and she will respect America’s economic and international security obligations, and she will probably be tougher than President Obama in checking the depredations of the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Ayatollahs in Iran or their Syrian satrap Assad in Damascus. Donald Trump is unfit even to intellectually understand the complexities of these issues.

Dysfunction and fear

To have Trump and Clinton as the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties, says a lot about the dysfunction of the two party system when it comes to the nomination process. Clinton, a fixture in the Democratic Party for a quarter of a century, was seen as “entitled” to be the nominee during this cycle, it was “her turn” we were told, which made it prohibitive for other potential contenders to enter the fray, until the 74 year old socialist Senator Bernie Sanders challenged the supposedly anointed candidate of the establishment and forced her to earn the nomination. The crowded Republican race allowed a loud demagogue to play on the legitimate economic fears and anxieties of those Americans whose jobs were lost, in part as a result of the new dynamics of globalization and international trade agreements.

Trump was adept at exploiting those deep feelings of resentment of the federal government on the part of a significant swath of the electorate, mostly middle aged white men given their dim prospects of regaining their jobs. Trump used the race and bigotry cards as mobilization tools against immigrants and Muslims as the new bogymen stealing jobs from Americans and/or threatening the homeland. Trump, is in part the product of the culture of fear and resentment that some Republicans fostered with relish as a reaction to the election of the first African-American President. The fact that a vile charlatan like Trump received the votes of 14 million Americans during the primary season (against a large field) deserves serious study. But before we know all the reasons, it is very disturbing, and says something about the fragility of democracy, even in the United States.

A Trump presidency will be a nightmare for the United States and the world. President Trump will help unleash further the forces of reaction and right wing and extremist groups and tendencies in Eastern and Western Europe. A president Trump will plunge the world in trade wars, and he will swing like an uncontrolled pendulum between corrosive nativism and military adventurism overseas. His hateful rhetoric against Muslims will drive a wedge between American Muslims and the rest of society, and will seriously alienate America’s Muslim friends and severely undermine the war on Islamist extremism. It is painful to hear voices from the Arab states, Iran, Israel and Turkey telling Americans to stop urging them not to fall victims to sectarianism, chauvinism, ethnic divisions and extreme identity politics, when Americans by the millions were voting for a bigot, a nativist who embodies most of the ills in the Middle East that we are speaking against.

This is a potentially dangerous moment in the life of a great democracy. In an uncertain world, a strong, wise and steady America is more indispensable than ever. Electing a scoundrel, an unrepentant racist like Trump will be a historic betrayal of all those Americans who struggled mightily in the last 250 years to realize the dreams of the founding brothers, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and in every word written by Abraham Lincoln, (what I consider to be my secular bible, and the reason for my American conversion) urging us to work incessantly toward a more perfect union.


________
Hisham Melhem is a columnist and analyst for Al Arabiya News Channel in Washington, DC. Melhem has interviewed many American and international public figures, including Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, among others. He is also the correspondent for Annahar, the leading Lebanese daily. For four years he hosted "Across the Ocean," a weekly current affairs program on U.S.-Arab relations for Al Arabiya. Follow him on Twitter : @hisham_melhem

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.