I just yesterday did a video on Donald Trump and his ghastly appearance on television where he announced his candidacy for GOP leadership. In true Trump fashion he managed to build himself up and then destroy himself in a single appearance… or so it appeared. His performance began with a lot of cheap and lofty talk about setting America on the right track again. He declared his intention to return America to the greatness that made it the best country in the world. All of it the standard lines that come out of the mouth of any politician, with no more substance than the rest. At first it seemed that he was going to be as bland as any other politician with a big spoonful of populist pandering. It however, did not remain that way. It was not long before he exploded into a right wing racist rant where he managed to alienate the entire Latino population of the United States. In a baffling moment he called Mexicans rapists and drug dealers.
“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. … When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”[i]
At best these are very poorly chosen words. At worst it’s a hate crime. The public was obviously outraged and there was a fairly decent backlash against him. After having made a statement like that and a public reaction like that; you know there is going to be a follow up interview. CNN’s Jake Tapper did that very interview. In it Trump double-downed on his statement.
“I like Mexico. I love the Mexican people. I do business with the Mexican people, but you have people coming through the border that are from all over. And they’re bad. They’re really bad. You have people coming in, and I’m not just saying Mexicans, I’m talking about people that are from all over that are killers and rapists and they’re coming into this country.”[ii]
Calling all of the 12 million[iii] undocumented immigrants to the United States drug dealers or rapists is not a very wise move, particularly if it’s largely based upon race; a race that has a decent number of voters. It is also not a good idea when you know the media is going to lambast you for it. The fallout from his words have been pretty severe. By severe I mean he’s lost business. As of this writing he’s had Univision and NBC cancel their broadcasts of his Miss Universe Pageant.[iv] In addition to that he has lost one of his crown jewels. He’s been fired his Celebrity Apprentice program on NBC.[v] Macy’s has decided to end their business dealings with him by pulling Donald Trump brand merchandise from their stores.[vi] His ignorant racism and his ego in refusing to admit what he said was wrong has cost him a good deal of money. Nevertheless, again in true Trump fashion he has decided to take civil action. He has filed suit against Univision for breach of contract and defamation to the tune of $500 million[vii] and has considered suing NBC.[viii] His ego seems to be unwilling to let him admit he’s wrong, nor will it allow him to accept responsibility for his actions.
His complaint about “bad” people bringing problems to America is nothing short of utter hypocrisy and imperialist chauvinism given his love of capitalism. The United States (and global capital in general) is responsible for the destitution faced by many Mexicans who now in larger numbers have decided to leave Mexico and head for the U.S. This largely stems from the NAFTA agreement which placed more Mexicans in poverty and stole indigenous lands enough causing a rebellion among the Mayans.[ix]
Here are a few statics about the damage NAFTA has done[x]:
- From 1960-1980, Mexican real GDP per person almost doubled, growing by 98.7 percent. By comparison, in the past 20 years it has grown by just 18.6 percent.
- According to Mexican national statistics, Mexico’s poverty rate of 52.3 percent in 2012 is almost identical to the poverty rate of 1994. As a result, there were 14.3 million more Mexicans living below the poverty line as of 2012 (the latest data available) than in 1994.
- Real (inflation-adjusted) wages for Mexico were almost the same in 2012 as in 1994, up just 2.3 percent over 18 years, and barely above their level of 1980.
- Unemployment in Mexico is 5.0 percent today, as compared to an average of 3.1 percent for 1990-1994 and a low of 2.2 percent in 2000; these numbers seriously understate the true lack of jobs, but they show a significant deterioration in the labor market during the NAFTA years.
- NAFTA also had a severe impact on agricultural employment, as U.S. subsidized corn and other products wiped out family farmers in Mexico. From 1991-2007, there were 4.9 million Mexican family farmers displaced; while seasonal labor in agro-export industries increased by about 3 million. This meant a net loss of 1.9 million jobs.
- The very poor performance of the Mexican economy contributed to a surge in emigration to the United States. From 1994-2000, the annual number of Mexicans emigrating to the United States soared by 79 percent. The number of Mexican-born residents living in the United States more than doubled from 4.5 million in 1990 to 9.4 million in 2000, and peaked at 12.6 million in 2009.
The “bad” people he’s talking about are the poor and marginalized Mexicans who have been displaced and ruined because of capitalist imperialism, a system he whole heartedly supports and owes his fortune too. People leave Mexico to try and escape the poverty that the U.S. and capitalism has enforced on the population. Who suffered? The lower class of the population. This is actually the same old imperialist racist garbage. We’re supposed to believe that America is the place where a man can make it if he works hard and has the smarts. We’re supposed to believe that this is how American was founded and how it built itself up. We’re supposed to ignore the genocides of two whole peoples, and the fact that the economy was built on slavery. Trump’s racism is no different here. He frames the Mexicans as people who “couldn’t succeed” in their country because of some inherent flaw in them and their country. When they come to America Trump (and Americans in general) see it as them coming to leach off of their “hard work” that was possible via some inherent value. (a.k.a. American Exceptionalism). This attitude of superiority is built on the false belief in one’s own accomplishments. As long as one ignores the historical advantages, crimes of exploitation, theft, and genocide.
In this we can very clearly see the basis for America’s class position in the world. In substance it is not much different than Canada, the UK, Japan, or Australia’s imperialism. It’s a result of global class position and the corresponding economic role. What we’re seeing here is the effect base and superstructure. This is by no means is limited to Trump or even the capitalist class in the United States. This general perception, the effect of imperialism and colonialism that built the U.S. is also found in the vast majority of its White population. It largely forms the basis for internal racism as well. Blacks and Latino are seen as less due to their global class position. This is an influence that cannot be separated from its global context. The Black and Latino countries are poor, therefore they lack the “virtue” of Americans, the basis for the perception of superiority. We can see an example of this in Trump’s approval rating which skyrocketed after he gave his racist speech. In April a Bloomberg poll showed that only 9% out of 18 possible candidates would vote for him (or second last place).[xi] Today he stands second place behind Jeb Bush as most popular GOP candidate.[xii]
Donald Trump may or may not be a good president for the U.S., but he is a good symbol for it. I think he embodies the capitalist American mind and experience so well. He proclaims to be a self-made man who struggled to build his empire off of hard work; while completely ignoring the fact he was born into a privileged position, a family worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He talks about his wealth coming from hard work and entrepreneurial spirit while ignoring the brutal exploitation of others that was carried out to obtain it. He talks as though anyone can succeed if they work hard; yet he lives in a system that punishes poverty and is built upon the premise of inequality. All of this provides him with an inflated sense of self-superiority that manifests as delusional narcissism. A self-perceived right to just take whatever he wants due to his self-image. As he amasses wealth he is oblivious to the suffering around him and thinks that his efforts benefit others. He isn’t even aware of the problems he causes
In other words he’s a self-entitled exploitative ass.
* * *
[i] Donald Trump, June 16, 2015
[ii] CNN Interview, Jake Tipper, June 28, 2015 http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/06/29/donald_trump_fired_from_nbc_celebrity_apprentice_star_and_republican_presidential.html
[iii] Jeffrey S. Passel, “The Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S.: Estimates Based on the March 2005 Current Population Survey”, Research Report (Washington, D.C.: Pew Hispanic Center, March 7, 2006), cited in “Estimating the Undocumented Population”, GAO Report #06-775, at page 17.
[iv] CNN Money, Donald Trump says Univision and NBC “abandoned” the 51 women vying for the Miss USA crown by canceling the upcoming pageant telecast.
[v] International Business Times, Donald Trump Fired From NBC; ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ To Continue Without Host
[vi] CNN Politics, First on CNN: Macy’s dumps Donald Trump
[vii] The Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump Files $500 Million Lawsuit Against Univision
[viii] ABC News, Trump to Consider Suing After NBC Ends Business Dealings
[ix] The Real News, Zapatista’s Warning Over NAFTA Rings True 2 Decades Later
[x] Mark Weisbrot, Stephan Lefebvre, and Joseph Sammut, Did NAFTA Help Mexico? An Assessment After 20 Years, Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2014
[xi] Bloomberg Politics Poll, Selzer & Company, April 16th, 2016
[xii] CNN ORC International Poll, June 26-28