Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)
25 September 16
s the polls tighten and the con artist Donald Trump pulls ahead in Ohio and Florida, I am afraid for our planet. From the moment Trump came down his golden escalator with Neil Young’s “Rocking in the Free World” playing in the background, he has been reaching out to the deplorable. I believe that even Donald Trump considers them deplorable, but to him they are votes.
The campaign really started five years ago, when Trump reached out to racist bigots for the first time. Donald Trump knew Barack Obama was a US citizen, but he knew if he became a leader in the birther movement he would be creating a base of support for this run for president.
I find racist, sexist, homophobic bigots deplorable, and that is the base of Donald Trump’s support. Maybe half – as Hillary claimed – isn’t accurate, but it might be. It is at least a significant percentage of his base. I know Trump supporters on both ends of the spectrum.
I had a landlord who supported Trump who was a gay man, who I don’t think was racist. He was a prison guard who used to be a police officer. We never really discussed immigration, but he was a very compassionate human being who I think was buying into the anti-establishment, “make America great again” rhetoric. He would excuse the missteps and say that he thought Trump was wrong on certain things but it was time for a non-politician to get a chance.
I also had a regular Uber driver who seemed like a good guy. He would talk about Bernie getting screwed and how evil Hillary was. He would say that Trump was flawed but that we needed a business man who understood how taxes and regulations are strangling the economy. But as we dug deeper and he asked me why I thought Trump would be a disaster, the racism surfaced. When I said his involvement in the birther movement was calculated, and his initial refusal to condemn David Duke was a nod to racists voting the next day in the South, all I heard was how the blacks were dragging the country down. We didn’t get to immigration.
So today as I sat in the doctor’s office watching MSNBC, the only news on the planet was that Donald Trump was going to make a major announcement on Obama’s immigration status. Once again, the carnival barker had the media eating out of his hands, waiting, with only a shot of the empty podium. Hillary did take advantage by calling on Trump to apologize to Obama and the country.
Trump spent an hour huddled with his advisors in a holding room at his new Pennsylvania Avenue hotel. He was only a few blocks from the president, who was meeting with John Kasich and other elected officials on the benefits of the TPP.
Oooops, maybe the distraction was a good thing for progressives. Finally Trump emerged in a room full of military heroes. The staging was pure Trump. He had Medal of Honor winners and generals, and a Gold Star mom, whom he acknowledged. The vets who spoke were honoring Trump; it was not an event honoring the Medal of Honor winners. It was all about Trump.
The Donald is even blaming Hillary Clinton for one of the darkest episodes of his political career. It is true that in the 2008 presidential campaign, frustrated Clinton supporters were the first to raise the issue of whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States. But they had long since moved on before Donald Trump launched his political career by becoming a leader in the racist birther movement. The media had seen the birth certificate. We had already found the birth announcement in the Honolulu Star. It was already a settled question. It was never an issue for Hillary Clinton or anyone officially in her campaign.
It was a Pennsylvania attorney and former deputy state attorney general Phillip Berg who filed a lawsuit claiming Obama was born in Kenya. The case was dismissed as Berg was unable to show standing. If he had indeed been part of Clinton’s campaign, he would have been able to show standing, because the campaign did have standing and would have been harmed if Obama was not an American citizen. So while it was a Clinton supporter, it was not Clinton or her campaign that raised the issue.
In 2009 the House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution recognizing Hawaii as Obama’s birthplace. Only Donald Trump and his racist, conspiracy theorist, birther movement haven’t moved on. Trump didn’t offer an explanation or an apology at his event. He wants the issue to go away but doesn’t want to lose his racist base of support. If he apologized, his supporters would feel betrayed.
When Trump blames our nation’s problems on Mexicans, Muslims, and other scapegoats, he is speaking to the same base. His opposition to the TPP comes from a nationalist bent, not a desire to help American workers. It’s all a calculated attempt to reawaken Archie Bunker-like voters. The scary thing is it’s working. My former landlord is a good guy. He is being conned by a great con artist. We must expose Trump for the fraud that he is.
Bernie is back on the campaign trail
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren headed to Ohio this weekend to help Hillary Clinton. Bernie also hit the cable news circuit and made his case for why we cannot let Donald Trump become president and why we should support Hillary Clinton. Once again, I agree with Bernie. We have already influenced Hillary Clinton’s campaign. We have to pressure her after the election to make good on the Democratic platform. If Donald Trump wins, it will be the Archie Bunkers of our country who will have seats at the table. We can’t let that happen.
Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.