The Hatred that Trump’s Lies will Leave Behind

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Whether Trump wins or loses (and in my view there isn’t much chance he can win), he will leave behind a toxic legacy of increased racial and religious hatred, which he has deliberatedly stirred up in order to take the focus off his policies– policies that will hurt workers and will throw even more money at the super-wealthy. This use of racism to divide the working class and whip up support for the business classes is as old as American capitalism.


Trump has galvanized sentiment against Latinos and immigrants (a minority of Americans of Latino ancestry is first-generation immigrants) by loudly proclaiming that they are guilty of all kinds of crimes. In fact, violent crime has fallen 48% in the US since the early 1990s, yet in the past 25 years immigration has soared. Research shows that immigrants commit less crime than the native-born. It isn’t hard to figure out why. First, those who don’t yet have citizenship are afraid of being deported, so they keep their noses clean. But more importantly, and contrary to what Trump alleges, immigrants are go-getters who have taken the big step of leaving home to accomplish something. They are highly motivated to succeed and often bring with them a great deal of human capital. As for jobs, immigrants aren’t stealing them from the native born. They are doing different jobs than locals with the same educational attainments. That’s because they often don’t have as good English skills or can’t afford to turn down menial jobs. The hatred against immigrants Trump has fostered is based on a set of lies, lies that are easily shown to be falsehoods. But it is a little unlikely that this hatred of foreigners will subside Wednesday, whatever happens.

Trump has given aid and comfort to the American far right. With his racist dog whistles (and often just unadorned racism) he has emboldened the Ku Klux Klan, Alt-right and other disgusting organizations. David Duke of Louisiana has been encouraged to run for the senate and is pledging to be Trump’s biggest supporter. This genie will be hard to put back into its lamp.

Trump has encouraged hatred for Muslims in the US on an unprecedented scale. Hatred for Muslims has already been adopted as a latent platform by the Republican Party, but they are usually at least a little more subtle about it. If Trump can succeed in discriminating against Muslim-Americans, he can then proceed to discriminate against the rest of us on one pretext or another. Muslim-Americans are only 1% of our population. There isn’t actually any danger of them taking over the country or imposing their religious law, and most terrorism comes from the far right or from overseas, not from native-born Muslim-Americans. Trump supporters have already burned down a mosque in Florida, have assaulted Muslims (and Sikhs, whose men wear turbans) all over the country, and some Trumpists have plotted terrorism against Muslims.

Trump has left a legacy of contempt for women and a resurgent patriarchy. He has juvenilized women and hurled slurs at them. He accused Megyn Kelly of being on her period when she asked him sharp questions. He boasted about grabbing strangers by the genitals. His message is that women should be judged not by their intelligence, hard work, or character but by their breast size and figure and the symmetry of their faces.

Trump has taken optimistic trend lines and pulled them down into Sheol with him. He has diminished our country, traumatized our children, and made us laughingstocks in the urbane capitals of the world. He leaves us a large bequest, tied up with a bow, of hatred and prejudice, smelling like the piece of dog shit that is Donald Trump.

41 Responses

  1. And take a lesson from us here in the UK, after the ghastly referendum on leaving the European Union, manipulated by our virulently right-wing, and increasingly openly racist, national newspapers. The latest horror unleashed has been an attack on the judiciary as “enemies of the people” (yes, the Daily Mail actually used these words on its front page) simply for giving a judgment that ruled against against the goverment

    • One wonders how well Trumpski’s anti-Semitic ads play in Israel… I suppose it’s seen as “Trump being Trump.”

      • @RepubAnon

        The Israelis in question won’t give a damn… provided Trump and Trump supporters hate Arabs, Muslims, Middle Eastern non-Jews more then they hate the Jews…

        Which is the case. We see this unholy alliance in Europe as well, where the rabid israel-first crowd has joined hands with the “kick the Muslims and Arabs out of Europe” crowd.

        The fact that the euro far-right was railing against the Jews as recently as the end of the 1990s and the early 21st century seems to be something that’s been forgotten as long as they “hate Arabs and Muslims”.

  2. Poor old Trump, he doesn’t seem to have any friends anywhere in the establishment or the media and he has even raised the ire of our favourite professor and blogger, Juan Cole. Really, whilst Trump is a good whipping boy for the moment, one should be asking why is it that this ‘wild card’ candidate didn’t fall by the wayside way back in the primaries. To all intents and purposes he’s an independent candidate standing against a formidable establishment candidate who is of course, Hillary Clinton. We should not be wasting our time on Trump but asking why it is that the Republican party with all its power, money and experience, haven’t been able to field one candidate capable of challenging Clinton. To me this is the real story of the presidential election.

    • I thought Trump’s appeal to Republican voters was well documented: where mainstream Republicans dog-whistled, Trump shouted. It’s gone full-circle, from Lee Atwater’s guidance of replacing explicit racism with coded appeals such as “states rights” and “welfare queens”, back to Trump’s express racism.

      It’s nothing new – during the Reagan Years, the Austin Lounge Lizards wrote a song called “Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs” which satirized how people angry at tax increases and economic reversals needed a scapegoat to blame: teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs. (“They’re too lazy to work – and they’re stealing our jobs!”)

      I’m sure Donald Trump heard that song, and saw it as a campaign blueprint.

    • The very fact that he is not supported by any of the traditional “Establishments” .. Media, Wall Street, Republican Party, Corporate America, MIC, Health Care, etc., is for me the the most persuasive reason for voting for Trump. Corruption is rampant throughout all of these Establishments. As the two parties have cycled through the White House, the situation has not only gotten worse but more blatant … too big to fail … too rich to prosecute … too elite to go to jail etc. etc. Let’s take a chance. We have so little to loose. Let’s exchange the current package of known corruption and risk the dire consequences of a Trump presidency (as predicted by the people who stand to lose the most). At least the man would prefer to do business than start a war. What do we really expect from HRC?

      • The people who stand to lose the most are those at the bottom. Many low-income people are getting by in this status quo and don’t want to gamble on a nativist upheaval. You can stuff your revolution up your tailpipe.

      • Little to lose? Install a guy who promises to trigger a trade war with China, renounce the national debt, and establish a national deportation force to round up 11 million people? As well as a physically impossible wall on the southern border, and excluding all Muslims from entry into the United States (how, exactly)? And ending the clean water act, abolishing the FDA, ordering the military to kill the families of opponents of the United States. Re-introducing torture as a standard practice. And nuking whoever he tells them to nuke. “They will follow my orders, believe me. Believe me.”

        There’s a reason he doesn’t have the support of anyone “in the establishment”. He’s a nutcase.

        You have nothing to lose but everything.

    • The republican coalition has always been strange.

      – A small part of the republican party are economic elitists that want to concentrate wealth in just a few hundred people with the rest of the humans in the USA as near slaves. Think feudal England. Because their policies are not very popular with the general population, they have had to disguise their goals and align themselves with other groups.

      – Lots of “entitled” white middle class. Typically these people do not have higher education. While the economy was doing OK, these people were like republican sheep. Now with the economy eliminating middle class wealth, these people are becoming angry.

      – Racists. When the democratic party embraced racial equality, the 25% of the population that is extremely racists, had to align themselves with the republicans in hopes of having enough numbers to take power. Part of the reason trump has a stable floor of support is there really are 25% to 30% of Americans that are extremely racist.

      Now with rapidly changing demographics and economics (due mostly to technology and bad tax law), the republican coalition is falling apart with the very small core constituency unable to hold it together.

      The racism will continue because it is human nature to blame others for a person’s own failures instead of examining what they personally did wrong. But because whites are decreasing as a percentage of the American population, they will lose power. BUT no human willingly gives up power, they always fight to the bitter end.

  3. Here is a quote from a Trump supporter here is South Carolina that shows how far apart were are on this pre-election week….“I’ll put it to you this way: If the Taliban had a football team, I’d pull for them before Hillary Clinton (if she) had a football team.”

    While I have cast my ballot for Hillary I can’t fault Trump for tapping into a mother load of discontent. Our borders are not secure. Our politicians have given incentives to companies to seek out cheap labor in foreign countries while the Clintons and Trumps profit from this arrangement.

    Needless wars were started by the Bushes and supported by the Clintons. Wars that have wasted valuable lives and resources here at home and in the middle east. The national debt is out of control hanging over our collective heads like a guillotine while Hillary and Bill give million dollar speeches to Wall St. tycoons and Trump shuns his responsibilities to pay taxes on his multi million dollar income.

    Trump was the wrong messenger but he proved there is a pent up demand for a leader who will end the madness of perpetual wars coupled with uncontrolled waste, fraud and abuse.

    The danger is that political elites and large corporations might find a more skilled politician who can sell the American public on the idea we need a strong Fascist leader to solve our problems.

    • Here is a good summary of the pretty extensive social science research that shows pretty conclusively that Trump and his like in Europe aren’t about economics, bad wars, or whatever other excuse you might want to choose. It is basically about racism against immigrants with a darker color of skin. It is about whites, who have been in the ascendant for millennia, fearing their loss of control of to

    • Actually – the USA borders are about as secure as any borders can be, especially as long as the USA borders are. Note that MOST of the “illegal” people in the USA did NOT walk across the border but FLEW over it with a valid visitor or work visa and then simply didn’t go back home.

      The national debt is almost meaningless because the USA fully controls its currency and can manipulate it to eliminate the debt overnight if it wanted to. BUT the group that the USA owes the most is . . . USA citizens. So we owe the debt to ourselves.

      – While the tax laws currently favor companies that eliminate USA jobs, it is important to note that Americans are doing this to themselves by electing people that do this for them. If Americans really wanted a better economy, they would elect democrats who would likely change the tax laws to favor people over companies. BUT NOTE most of the jobs that have been lost in manufacturing over the last several decades are NOT due to international displacement but to cheap, fast, reliable technology – the robots are everywhere. Robots are so cheap, that even changing the tax laws will not incentive companies to add more humans.

      BTW – fascism can NOT fix any of the structural problems the USA has, but will simply make things worse for a majority of the humans.

    • That Trump supporter backing the Taliban football team is making a bad bet. The Taliban has never produced a decent quarterback.

  4. And let’s not forget the anti-Semitism Juan. One of the closing ads of his campaign is laden with anti-Semitic tropes and not-so-subtle dog whistles, and this has been a hallmark of his campaign. Steve Bannon is a notorious anti-Semite, and when you refer to the Alt-Right, well, we all know who their predecessors were. Josh Marshall at TPM has been admirably on top of this issue.

    A day or two ago (to whine a bit) someone in comments said I had no argument because I referred to Trump and his supporters as Nazis and they felt that was the last refuge of someone with no argument. I hope they take a real hard introspection at their assessment of the current GOP and their candidate, who is around him, and what is going on. What the left must now fight – in addition to the decades long horror of militarism and regressive social policies on the right – is now a revanchist and retrenched open racism that, as you point out, will be hard to fight.

    My particular anger is at people my age (50 something) or older: Growing up I sat at the dinner table and heard horror stories about the rise of Nazism, about relatives in Europe who were occupied by jack-booted thugs who wanted to Make Germany Great Again. I am sure many many others did too, and may have even heard about relatives no longer living because they died liberating a Europe occupied by the very ideology Trump supports. The battlefields in Europe are littered with the bodies of uncles, brothers, husbands, sons, never known because of our former commitment against this ideology. How could they vote for such a thing?

    Of course we know how. Jason Stanley, a philosopher from Yale, had a fine essay in the NYTs yesterday about this. The authoritarian personality creates a new reality and a befuddled populace accepts it, no matter how ludicrous. (Stanley cites Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism in his article). They (i.e., strongmen) “convey power by defining reality”, the reality is a simple one, and “offered with the goal of switching voters’ value system to the authoritarian value system of the leader”.

    The wild success of this this year is, of course, extremely dangerous and will have long term implications, since our electorate has now been marinated in his vile stew of a surreal environment that feeds on hatred, rage, and corruption (and need we rehearse the history of hate radio’s and Fox’s 30-odd year foundational contribution to this?). If we mercifully dodge the bullet of open civil conflict, then at the very least the new reality will be openly fighting fascism in the highest reaches of government.

    The bright side? Well, if you have no respect for the Constitution, at least you can’t make a coherent argument anymore for keeping the second amendment. Oh wait, I said “coherent”, didn’t I?

    • The people who study such things suggest that living historical memory is no more than 70 or 80 years long. Events that happened before are either mythology or known only to profs. Part of what’s happening, here as in the rest of the world, is that the expiration date on the lessons of the 30s and 40s has arrived while the appeal of racism and scapegoating and the leadership principle remains evergreen.

      • Let´s pray it´s not as short. No laughing stock here in Europe, just too close to the bone. The only thing that gives me hope – for Europe and its further development, that is – is that we might have learnt the lesson that you can´t just always run away from people with different attitudes but have to fight for a common solution if you want to continue living in the same country. The common denominator in the US has been cited to me endlessly (by US citizens) as the pursuit of one´s own happiness, but the freedom of one person ends where the one of the other begins, and that includes to my understanding more sacrifices then the average american thinks he owes to anyone

      • for further clarification: for me, it seems less like true hatred directed towards foreigners or “teenage mothers on welfare and drugs” than anti-intellectualism. I laughed really hard when I read that line in a Jonathan Franzen essay (Mr Difficult) where an angry reader described his putative other readers as “the elite of New York, anorectic, neurotic, refined, nonsmoking, having an abortion every 3 years” and so on and so forth. When I write about sacrifices and common denominators, it´s those two parties with their respective ways of life, the tea partier and the “intellectual”, who in the past never felt any need to talk to each other; “hell, the country´s big enough, right? Just move away and pretend the others don´t exist”. Immigrants are just the weakest link, like when you´re beating the horse and mean the rider. Not that I don´t suspect the same mechanism behind xenophobia in Europe, but I do suspect running away from your adversary at eye level and pretending he doesn´t exist has more of a tradition in the US than it has in Europe, and you´ve got more work to do

      • Plus, the world really is going through a drastic social change due to technology.

        The simple reality is right now, due to technology, less than 3 billion humans can easily produce ALL the goods and services needed by the7.5 billion people on earth.

        That is, over half the humans are on earth are not needed to produce things but are only available consume them. When half the humans are only consumers this upends the entire economic models that have been in place for centuries.

    • I’d suggest that you dial it back a bit when you carve out a certain demographic as a target for your “particular anger.” It’s not just 50+ somethings voting for don drumpf. Nearly everyone I know in my neighborhood that is over 50, despises the guy. The lines of demarcation aren’t so easily drawn. Dig deeper.

    • “The authoritarian personality creates a new reality and a befuddled populace accepts it, no matter how ludicrous.”

      So true, If you go to a site like zerohedge (they used to occasionally have some economic insights). It is now a fever swamp of people who create their own alt-right reality. There is no common ground any more.

  5. Oh Juan,

    ” there isn’t much chance he can win..”

    I obviously, fervently want to believe that as well. But if there’s one takeaway from the 2016 campaign, it’s that normal rules – and facts – don’t apply as they otherwise would. Yes, the famed “ground game” should tip the advantage to Hillary. But the RNC and the majority of the Republic rank and file are uniting around Trump, voting for their tribe over the general interest.

    Never in my lifetime has there been a more important vote. The purists who wrinkle their nose in disgust at Hillary because of supposed “shortcomings” ought to think twice before wasting their vote on Stein or Johnson. A Trump presidency would usher in a horror show.

  6. Professor Cole, Trump supporters have always been h8ers and tiny minded bigots, angry gun loving, faux Christians. They were there way before Tiny Fingers came along. Trump’s attempted power and wealth grab merely furnishes a rallying point for our national stupidity.

    Tuesday will determine if our country is smarter than a Klan meeting.

  7. It seems that this is almost a footnote to this other article
    link to

    The Illusion of choice.
    In your seven reasons listed above (comments closed) you did not mention the Gerrymandered system where voters are presented with the unenviable task of choosing between two parties that are increasingly viewed as two branches of the same party, disconnected from the people. As the two main parties have ruthlessly excluded minor parties from ever getting close to power, and the main stream media serves the two major parties by only ever demeaning the smaller parties there are fewer choices.

    Thus with no other choice, a significant proportion of voters appear to have selected the most “radical” candidates available from within the limited choices available. Trump for his part successfully portrayed his rivals as shallow hollow “men”. Disingenuous hacks. He is similar of course but at least he had some colour and life about him with his frequently incoherent positions. Bernie, like Corbyn was the “choice” that was supposed to loose! And nearly didn’t, unlike Corbyn.

    The arrangement of the electoral system and the archaic first past the post method of voting (which effectively excludes minor parties) means that the only time the electorate gets a real look in at choice is during the pre-selection process.

    “The United States is alone among major countries in that self-interested politicians govern the redistricting process”

    link to

    link to

    What appears to have evolved in the now hyper-moneyed PAC era with the blessing of the major parties is a simulacrum of democracy.

    Seeing as it does not affect me directly I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to have a Trump presidency with all the chaos that might ensue. Then you, the US electorate, might actually have to wake up and seriously think about what has been created. Because a Clinton presidency will just perpetuate the problems – it is not in her financial (or political) interest to change anything. The next “Trump” candidate might be even worse, they might be less of a clown and actually more organised.

    As a distant observer it is also interesting how the tone has moved from mockingly incredulous to demonizing as Trump has inched closer to the throne. And surely if he is such a danger this is another indictment on both the major parties for apparently allowing so much power to exist at the executive level. On the one hand Trump is a puppet of Putin and on the other he’s going to pull out the launch codes. Which is it? And Clinton is on record (wikileaks) rattling her Saber at China, desirous of ring fencing it with missiles. Yeah, peace.

    What choice really is the least worst?
    If Trump loses will he just become a kind of cathartic scapegoat, an aberration? And next time?

    Apologies for length. My armchair ride ends, mostly inspired by 1st link below.–americas-democracy-is-broken-and-they-cant-fix-it-20161103-gshl3c.html

    link to

    • On the one hand Trump is a puppet of Putin and on the other he’s going to pull out the launch codes.

      Obviously he’d cozy up to Russia, he has been very hard on China though, and he also expressed no reservation to use nukes on none-nuclear combatants. Think nuking Mosul (certainly would qualify as a surprise attack).

      This is something even Richard Nixon never contemplated.

      • In a recent video Putin demonstrated that he is under no illusions about the veracity of Trumps statements, quite clearly stating that what is said before the election in order to get elected, and what transpires after the election are two entirely separate things. Putin characterised Trumps mouthings as a strategy that appeared to have some resonance… nothing more.

        If Trump pulled out the codes he would probably contemplate whether or not he’d get the chance to have another Miss Wherever under his arm. Ted Cruz on the other hand would appear to have never had the opportunity of cultivating the possibility to even contemplate that choice ;-)

        And Clinton asked if they couldn’t just drone Assange. What need of nukes?

  8. Juan, can you site evidence that it was Trump supporters that burned a mosque and attacked Muslims and Sikhs? Have the arrested the suspects and have they been convicted or confessed to being Trump supporters?

    • Please just go google the mosque arson in Florida and read about the alleged perpetrator and his Trumpist social media posts. There isn’t any doubt that Trump is stirring these people up.

  9. Tricky Dick, Teflon Ron, Shrub and I thought they had
    hit the bottom of the barrel, I guess I was very wrong.
    Also, forgetting the dog, I believe that Donny would have
    to stand in his highchair in order to kiss Hillary on the cheek.
    John L Hansen 80+

  10. Well, OK; but I still say Trump is just the Republican Party without the mask. And of course Cruz is now waiting in the wings.

  11. A nation gets the leaders they deserve. One choice is irrational, racist and xenophobic, puffed up with an inflated opinion of himself who thinks he can bully other nations to bow to US demands. The other believes in secrecy and double talk to a domestic audience and has never met a bombing, an invasion or a regime change she doesn’t like.
    Don’t blame the candidates for reflecting the wishes of the people.

  12. “…..and in my view there is not much chance he (Trump) can win…..”

    As late as 10:00 p.m. last night, one media polling organization was saying Hillary Clinton had a 72% chance of winning the election – just before 11:00 that was amended to 55% in support of a Trump victory.

    At 9:00 p.m. last night, the Detroit Free Press, citing complex precinct extrapolation statistical methods they employed – called the State of Michigan for Hillary Clinton; the Michigan Secretary of State by next morning disclosed results that Trump had won the State of Michigan by 3/10ths of a percentage point.

    One polling expert last week indicated that Trump had a “1% chance” of winning the election.

    NBC, the largest presidential polling group, on Monday showed Clinton with a 7% lead nationally.

    The LA Times/USC Tracking Poll, who had consistently throughout the election cycle showed that Trump was leading Clinton nationally, was ridiculed yesterday by pundits that their “day of reckoning” was coming by the end of the night when final results were expected.

    The Rasmussen Poll that showed Trump leading Clinton most of the election cycle was likewise dismissed as having a pro-GOP bias. The Investors Business Daily – which predicted a Trump victory in a 4-way race and had been the most accurate presidential polling organization the last three elections of 2004, 2008 and 2012 – was largely ignored by the mainstream media.

    Maybe Trump has a point about liberal biases in the media and in polling.

Comments are closed.