By Sean Connolly, Editorial Section Editor
Donald Trump is currently the leading presidential candidate for the Republican Party. A CNN poll on Tuesday found that Trump currently has 27 percent of the expected Republican vote, while Ben Carson, his only real competitor, has 22 percent of the vote. Trump has had a largely stable campaign, remaining constantly on top of national polls for the Republican primary. It seems entirely possible that he may be the 2016 Republican presidential candidate. Even if he doesn’t win the Republican primaries, the amount of support he has received is nothing short of a national embarrassment.
Trump is an unapologetic racist, and though one may think that such open racism would be met with more criticism than praise in a modern country, Trump’s constituents don’t seem to have any problems with his racist remarks. The most infamous example is Trump’s statement concerning people immigrating to the US from Mexico.
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us,” Trump said during his presidential announcement speech. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
While it may be the most well-known example, this is only the tip of the iceberg regarding Trump’s racism. Trump was a public figure at the forefront of the questions surrounding President Barack Obama’s place of birth, a question that has – unsurprisingly – never been directed toward white politicians. As president of Trump Management Corporation, he has faced several lawsuits from the Department of Justice on charges of discriminating against black people trying to rent apartments.
In 2013, Trump tweeted that the crime in American cities is overwhelmingly committed by blacks and Hispanics. While some statistics do show high crime rates in minority populations, most serious analysts attribute this to the high poverty rates that minority groups face. This poverty comes from systematic discrimination, such as refusing to grant housing to minorities. Trump seems comfortable both contributing to poverty that causes violence and placing the blame of the violence on race itself.
This racism directly relates to Trump’s extreme anti-immigration platform. Sentiment against immigration can come from feelings of racism and xenophobia. In an interview in 2014, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto called US anti-immigration language discriminatory. Supporters of this immigration platform may refute accusations of racism and cite supposed economic benefits as their motives, but the actual benefits of tightening down on immigration are questionable.
The idea is that immigrants are “stealing” jobs and placing tighter restrictions on immigrants will make more jobs available for Americans. It is true that immigrants get jobs, but something rarely talked about is when immigrants create jobs. Immigrants account for less than 13 percent of the US population, but according to a 2012 report by The Partnership for a New American Economy, 28 percent of all new American companies launched in 2011, and over 40 percent of America’s Fortune 500 companies, were founded by immigrants. Anti-immigration proponents enjoy painting immigrants as lazy welfare recipients, but they contribute more to the economy than they’re given credit for.
Even if there was an obvious economic benefit, these anti-immigration policies inherently dehumanize immigrants. Immigrants are made out to be less deserving of positive economic progress than Americans. Saying that immigrants are “stealing American jobs” implies that these are jobs they don’t deserve simply because they weren’t born in the US. This type of rhetoric makes Americans out as inherently superior and the only ones deserving of good employment. Immigrants become portrayed not as humans, but as pests to be sent away.
Trump’s campaign relies on racist sentiment in support of anti-immigration laws, and he himself has clear prejudices. In the 21st Century, it shouldn’t be acceptable for a popular politician to have such socially regressive views. Voters on both sides of the aisle need to condemn this display of open racism.
Photo Courtesy Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons