It’s less than two weeks until the election and Donald Trump has been searching for a new message. In an act of blatant racial opportunism, he targeted the Central American immigrant caravan traveling toward the United States. The videos of thousands of poor and desperate immigrants heading for the southern border provided the perfect victims to stoke up anger and fear within his base.
With no proof, Trump immediately suggested that the caravan was made up of people of Middle Eastern descent, MS-13 gang members and other criminal elements. He again provided no proof but said “Democrats had something to do” with organizing the caravan. Trump totally exaggerated the migrant caravan, calling it “an assault on our country” and threatened to call out the United States military.
“Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our country?” Trump said on October 18. Trump tweeted a video in Spanish that appears to show people handing out money to members of the caravan. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, originally tweeted the video alleging that it exposed women and children being given cash to join the caravan and “storm the US border.” Gaetz also suggested that billionaire George Soros was funding the caravan. Multiple fact checkers have totally debunked all this as pure fear-mongering.
Trump understands that fear is a great motivator. Psychologists have shown people become temporarily more conservative when they are presented with threats they perceive as a danger to themselves or their families. By fabricating fear about immigrants at the border, Trump is whipping up and manipulating his supporters with lies and fake news. A recent article in the The Atlantic, Trump and the Politics of Fear, states:
“Trump is a master of fear, invoking it in concrete and abstract ways, summoning and validating it. More than most politicians, he grasps and channels the fear coursing through the electorate. And if Trump still stands a chance to win in November, fear could be the key.”
Trump is simply reverting to his 2016 political success by again ramping up fear of immigrants in order to frighten his base into voting for Republicans and against Democrats. Trump’s latest fear-mongering of immigrants is simply a continuation of his anti-immigrant political strategy. Trump has falsely blamed Democrats, accusing them of supporting “open borders” and establishing “sanctuary cities” and providing “amnesty.”
We are seeing and hearing the same anti-immigrant propaganda used in Iowa against Democratic candidates. Republican candidates and their proxies are using these same “fake news” anti-immigrant buzzwords against their Iowa Democratic competitors.
The facts show that there are no sanctuary cities in Iowa. Democrats generally support immigration reform but not amnesty. They support giving Dreamers, the children of immigrants brought to the United States, a path for citizenship. Many Republicans support the Dreamers as well and it is not amnesty.
Trump claims, “Every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate has signed up for the open borders, and it’s a bill, it’s called the ‘open borders bill.'”
Politifact fact checked Trump’s claim and ruled it false; there is no open borders bill.
Iowa Republicans are using the same lies about immigrants to stoke up fear among Iowa voters. It’s a shameful and disgusting manipulation for pure political gain.
Republicans control the presidency, the U.S. House and Senate. They could pass true immigration reform tomorrow if they wanted to solve the problem. Blaming Democrats for the immigration crisis is simply an excuse for the Republicans’ inability to find consensus within their own party. By their inaction, Republicans are empowering Trump to use immigrants as pawns as he manipulates public opinion with fear and lies.
Electing more Democrats is the only solution to confront the lies and fear-mongering.
by Rick Smith