Still Descending

On June 16, 2015 Donald Trump descended an escalator at Trump Tower and declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. The descent, while perhaps no longer physical, hasn’t abated in the interceding months and was again illustrated in his first television ads this past weekend.

The ad has been nicknamed Two Americas. It is not the hopeful Two Americas portrayed in John Edwards’ speeches. It is a fear mongering fantasy built on well accepted lies from right wing mythology.

During the first few seconds of the speech it cites the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) as a source. CIS is a white nationalist/white supremacist backed group. The basic philosophy of these people is that America was built by and is for the genetically superior (in their opinion) decedents of white Europeans. They regard blacks as mentally inferior and question whether it is even possible to educate Hispanics. In the past they haven’t expressed much of an opinion on people whose ancestors hailed from the Middle East. That is probably because their “world view” was restricted to the continental United States. Time has shown that they simply fell back on the “color of their skin” argument.

One of the ads’ most chilling proclamations is that undocumented immigrants collect Social Security. That has long been one of the favorite stories in right wing mythology. If you simply stop and think for a minute you know that is untrue. I reached the point where I was able to retire and collect Social Security. I had to go to a review meeting where the Social Security Administration looked at my record of payment and entire job history. I didn’t have to supply them with much more than my name and Social Security number; they already had everything else in more detail than I could have reproduced. The image of the illegal immigrant is someone working off the books and being paid in cash under the table. If that is the case how did they pay into Social Security? Social Security is an entitlement in the sense that a person like me is entitled to get back the money I paid in. If you never contributed to the fund you do not derive any benefits from it.

You don’t have to take my brief word for it. The Washington Post did an article in its fact checking column. They rated Trump’s claim at Four Pinocchios; the rating they save for only the most totally dishonest statements. (By the way it was Trump’s 41st Four Pinocchio rating of the campaign.)

We are getting to the later part of August and Trump is in big trouble. He is still trying to solidify his primary base and just starting to work on the general election Republican base which should have been solidly onboard with him by now.

The latest Trump strategy seems to be to play the fear card that “those people” are coming to get you in an attempt to rally white voters to show up and vote Republican in record numbers. While I opposed Mitt Romney I certainly didn’t portray him as a racist and a xenophobe. In fact Romney may have been a bit more tolerant than most Republicans because his religious group has been the target of wrongful discrimination in America. Polling indicates that Trump is running considerably behind Romney in the white vote.

The question is can Trump go any lower. My answer is: with Steve Bannon as his co-pilot a resounding yes!

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