Outlandish Trump & His Politics of Fear

First, a farce and now megalomania

Trump has garnered huge support among the Republican voters by playing the fear trump card. Since the Paris attacks, while the “serious” GOP contenders have proposed establishing no-fly zones and arming Kurdish rebels in Syria, Trump has focused on registering Muslims and closing mosques in the U.S. while insisting that he “watched … thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrate 9/11 as the Twin Towers were coming down.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump at a rally in Oskaloosa, Iowa, July 25.
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump at a rally in Oskaloosa, Iowa, July 25.

He’s turned the focus of the debate on the right candidate to terrorism and immigration, with a vociferous anti-Muslim rhetoric. His racist approach and fear mongering statements are propelling him in debates. This needs a reality check.

Let us see what Trump has to say on various issues.

On Domestic Issues

1. Arab-Americans cheered the attacks on 9/11 – Trump repeatedly claimed that on September 11, 2001, there were thousands of Arab-Americans celebrating in New Jersey after two planes flew into the Twin Towers. He says such public demonstrations “tell you something” about Muslims living in the US. However, there are no media reports or police records to back up the claim.

2. There should be surveillance on US mosques – Trump believes Muslims should be tracked by law enforcement as a counterterrorism initiative. He has walked back some comments about keeping a database on all American Muslims, but says he doesn’t care if watching mosques is seen as “politically incorrect”.

3. The US should use waterboarding and other methods of “strong interrogation” in its fight against the Islamic State.

4. “Would build a “great, great wall” between the US and Mexico. In some of his earliest campaign comments, Trump suggested that Mexicans coming to the US are largely criminals. “They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and they’re rapists,” he said. A wall on the border, he claims, will not only keep out undocumented immigrants but Syrian migrants as well. He also believes that Mexico should have to pay for the wall, which could cost between $2.2bn and $13bn (BBC analyst).

5. A mass deportation of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the US should go into effect. Despite criticism that this idea is xenophobic and prohibitively expensive – estimated at $114bn – Trump says his deportation plan is as achievable as it will be humane. In addition, his immigration reforms would end “birthright citizenship”, the policy that grants the children of illegal immigrants citizenship so long as they are born on American soil. He does not support creating a new path to citizenship for undocumented workers.

6. In order to end mass shootings, the US should invest in mental health treatment rather than Gun Control. In a position paper on gun rights, Trump revealed he has a concealed carry permit and that when it comes to gun and magazine bans, “the government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own”. He would also oppose an expansion of background checks.

7. The Black Lives Matter movement is “trouble”. Trump mocks Democratic candidates like Martin O’Malley for apologizing to members of the protest movement against police brutality and casts himself as a pro-law enforcement candidate. “I think they’re looking for trouble,” he once said of the activist group. He also tweeted a controversial graphic purporting to show that African Americans kill whites and blacks at a far higher rates than whites or police officers. However, the graphic cites a fictitious “Crime Statistics Bureau” for its numbers, and has been widely debunked using real FBI data.

On Foreign Policy

1. Trump and Vladmir Putin would “get along very well”. In an interview with CNN, Trump said that Putin and Obama dislike one another too much to negotiate, but that “I would probably get along with him very well. And I don’t think you’d be having the kind of problems that you’re having right now”.

2. Climate change is just “weather” . While Trump believes that maintaining “clean air” and “clean water” is important, he dismissed climate change science as a “hoax” and believes environmental restrictions on businesses makes them less competitive in the global marketplace. “I do not believe that we should imperil the companies within our country,” he told CNN on the issue. “It costs so much and nobody knows exactly if it’s going to work.”

3. The world would be better off if Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddhafi were still in power . Trump told CNN that he believes the situation in both Libya and Iraq is “far worse” than it ever was under the two deceased dictators. While he concedes Hussein was a “horrible guy”, he says he did a better job combating terrorists.

4. No asylum to Syrian migrants . He says that the Paris attacks prove that even a handful of terrorists posing as migrants could do catastrophic damage, and so he will oppose resettling any Syrians in the US, and deport those who have already been placed here.

5. “Bomb the hell” out of IS. Trump claims that no other candidate would be tougher on the Islamic State and he would weaken the militants by cutting off their access to oil.

On Healthcare

1. Veteran healthcare in the US needs a major overhaul . Trump wants to clear out the executive level in the Department of Veterans Affairs, saying that wait times for doctor visits have only increased after previous interventions failed. Thousands of veterans have died while waiting for care, he says. He will invest in the treatment of “invisible wounds” like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. He would also increase the number of doctors who specialize in women’s health to help care for the increasing number of female veterans.

2. Obamacare is a “disaster”. Trump says he favors repealing the president’s Affordable Care Act, which aims at extending the number of Americans with health insurance, but he believes that “everybody’s got to be covered”. A spokesman for Trump told Forbes that he will propose “a health plan that will return authority to the states and operate under free market principles”.

On Economy

1. Create a simpler tax code . Trump wants anyone who earns less than $25,000 to pay no income tax. They would submit nothing more than a single page tax form that reads “I win”. He would lower the business tax to 15%. He would also allow multinational companies keeping money overseas to repatriate their cash at a 10% tax rate.

2. Hedge fund managers are “getting away with murder” . Trump found common ground with Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren when he said that hedge fund managers and the ultra-wealthy do not pay enough taxes. However, after the campaign released specifics of his plan, analysts argued that hedge fund managers would actually get a tax cut along with the middle class.

3. China should be taken to task . If elected , Trump says he will make China stop undervaluing its currency, and force it to step up its environmental and labor standards. He is also critical of the county’s lax attitude towards American intellectual property and hacking.

4. Unemployment. Trump has said repeatedly that unemployment in the US is at 20% – once commenting it may be as high as 42% – despite the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the number at 5.1%. Trump says he doesn’t believe that figure is real.

But can Americans buy the stuff Trump is so zealously dishing out?

Americans know well presidential candidates must make unrealistic guarantees. The difference in Trump’s blather is that it is dangerous. Trump’s megalomania borders craziness.

Everyone who has bought into Trump needs take a step back, rethink and make informed decisions about what America stands for and who will uphold the great values and tradition of America. Those who care deeply about the values of this nation need to recognize where we are. Throughout history, anxiety has brought out the worst in people.