(Edit: November 9th 2016 – Trump elected president of USA)
Donald Trump, an incompetent old American businessman whose entire business career (punctuated by regular bankruptcies) has been funded by his inheritance, is espousing bigotry and extreme prejudice, including overt racism, daily as part of his campaign to be nominated as the Republican Party candidate for the US presidential election in 2016. It is unclear if he is keen to win the nomination; he may just be using the exposure of the campaign as an opportunity to promote a political stance.
Trump might be nominated as his party’s candidate but he is very unlikely to be elected president. (Edit: Trump elected president of USA.) However, he is a useful tool for the other Republican candidates and for the Democratic Party candidates. Both parties’ candidates can offset themselves against Trump’s extremism: They can readily claim that nothing they do or say is as bad as what Trump does or says while using any mass bigotry that Trump has encouraged to their advantage.
For any politician of any country, the motivation to encourage prejudice and racism is that it distracts people from the real cause of all economic problems. Gangster business people like Trump are the real enemy. He knows this, as do fellow gangsters like the Bush family and gangster enablers like Hilary Clinton and so Trump supports his own kind by engaging in a year-long campaign of distraction. Whoever wins the election should thank him for being the recipient of most of the election-based criticism and thank him for helping to develop distracting prejudicial views of which they can then take advantage.
Included among Trump’s most extreme proposals are a wall separating the USA from Mexico, visible identification to be worn by Muslims and a complete ban on all Muslims entering or re-entering the USA, including US citizens. His squealing pig deliverance of these proposals is accompanied by a hive of lies, incitement to violence and twisted logic. Obviously, his proposals are daft, unethical, in breach of the US constitution and unworkable but they are also an extension of or a variance of what already exists, in law or in practice. A wall on the US Mexico border is little different from a fence, gates on roads and armed racist Texan vigilantes patrolling the desert, Muslims are already profiled via appearance by police, private security and the public and access into the US is much more problematic for Muslims, people from predominantly Islamic countries and people who look as if they might be Muslim.
Trump takes active prejudice further than most visible protagonists but he is also being a bit more honest about it. He makes the demand for profiling openly whereas most police forces, local authorities, private businesses, public transport and colleges, who exercise anti-Muslim profiling, (almost always illegally), are keen to claim they are not profiling and they offer a variety of flimsy excuses for their behaviour. Trump’s assertive support for prejudicial profiling, and its consequences, acts as motivation for delayed support for these activities that already exist while, simultaneously, allowing those who introduced them and those who enable them to avoid severe scrutiny and criticism. He is the useful tool, knowingly or otherwise.
Trumpism is not exclusively an American disease
Stephen Harper, (defeated ex-prime minister of Canada), Tony Abbot, (ousted leader of Australian government), Nigel Farage, (hapless leader of UKIP), and Marine Le Pen, (leader of far-right Front National in France), share Trump’s politics and his presentation style. The first two were elected as prime ministers of their respective countries, Harper losing the next general election and Abbott being deselected by his own party while in government, and Le Pen’s party has had some recent success in French regional elections and was subsequently rejected in second round of elections due to clever tactics from the other parties, and Farage’s mob have to make do with collecting EU parliament expenses. All four relentlessly promote prejudice and division as a distraction tool and as a method of shifting the blame – for economic difficulties – away from the culprits, who readily fund these politicians’ respective parties, and onto an invented otherness.
Equally, all four of the above Trumpists are useful to the politicians whose division and distraction techniques are less obvious. Harper’s successor as Canadian prime minister, Trudeau, has a free hand to selectively reverse some of Harper’s more vicious laws while keeping others that he would have found difficult to introduce himself, Abbott’s party is still in power in Australia with the same political objectives – with a slightly less weird leader – and Le Pen can absorb the liberal criticism of her racism allowing French president Hollande to launch draconian attacks on free assembly, free speech and free religious belief. UKIP is useful to both Tory and Labour parties in the UK. The Tories are happy for Farage and colleagues to promote viewpoints that the Tories are reluctant to admit to for PR reasons but are happy to act upon, and the Labour centrists are happy to use UKIP’s electoral success at the last general election – nearly four million votes – as an excuse to hamper any shift leftward in Labour’s strategy.
If Trump were British he would have invented Prevent
The British government’s stated reasons for updating the Prevent Strategy and how they claimed it should work are here: Prevent Strategy. The underlying purpose is to side-step Human Rights law on free speech in order to dissuade the discussion of and promotion of certain political outlooks. Human Rights group CAGE has highlighted some of the problems with the intentions of Prevent and with its use, Cage prevent letter.
Increasingly, Prevent is being used against young people for no other reason than they are Muslim. At Mirfield Grammar School some Muslim students requested a prayer room. The headteacher Lorraine Baker declined the the request citing Prevent as a reason to do so, Mirfield Prevent. Thus, she equated praying with “radicalisation.” There is no difference between her stance and that of Trump.