Muftic: The fear factors in the race for the White House
Last week left many asking why Donald Trump was so schizophrenic. On the same day he posed as presidential in his press conference after meeting with the Mexican president, he delivered a speech with red meat dripping in hate fueling tones that whipped the crowd into a frenzy. There was no “pivot”. The kinder, gentler Trump had disappeared in six hours. Why? It appears that his strategy is to scare more voters to support him by creating an even greater atmosphere of fear. Will it work?
It could not help his already dismal standing with minorities. Even some of his Hispanic advisors distanced themselves by the next morning, expressing their “disappointment” and “being misled”. That response does not bode well for outreach to Hispanics. No doubt it consolidated the base he groomed in the primaries. But would hyping fear and hate help him expand his support among independents and suburban women?
It is obvious he did not aim any of that day’s actions toward gaining more minority support. In his evening rally (billed as a policy speech) he repeated his battle cry of “build the wall and pledged he would still make Mexico pay for it.
“No amnesty” was once again his message to the eleven million undocumented in this country and he doubled down on deportation of criminal illegals (he estimated at two million), proposing to increase border patrols and to triple ICE agents in a deportation task force to work with local police. Otherwise, much of what he proposed was already Obama administration policy and priorities. Trump simply placed the nine million illegals who did not commit crimes as lower priority for deportation and in limbo since he promised he would come up with “humanitarian” policies after his other deportation and build the wall proposals had been completed.
His tone was even more important than his avowed policies. He ginned up fear of immigrants. To whom and how will that expand his support ?
To justify his earlier assertions that illegal immigrants were murderers and rapists, he paraded by his microphone a dozen or so parents of victims of those who were murdered and raped by illegal criminals who escaped deportation if having been found guilty of prior crimes. Fact checkers had already knocked holes into the figures of crime increases and most of those caught, they reported, had been released by Court order, not by Obama or Clinton’s State Department policies. The “problem” of due process would continue to exist no matter who became president.
In a current Atlantic article, I found a compelling case made that his fear based strategy was his most important allure, but it could turn off some, as well. . Most already drawn to Trump are those who are the most fearful, and it is not so much fear of economic and job problems, it is the racial and cultural changes and terrorist threats brought on by recently increased in migration of Mexicans and the prospect of more Muslims. This strategy, however, may be backfiring with women in suburbs. They see his fear mongering as causing more violent and emotionally disturbing conflicts in the future in their communities and in the world, not less.
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