Trump also works on the assumptions that Mexican immigration increases unemployment and holds down wages. However, is this really true? If there is any competition for jobs it would be for underpaid work that Americans, even the undereducated, tend not to want -- thus creating the employment opportunities that attracts "illegals" across the Mexican border in the first place.
Part IV -- Trump Is Not Alone
The difference between Trump and the other candidates, both Republican and Democratic, is that he openly panders to emotions and fears that generate support for cruel actions and policies. Though other candidates might not act out in this way, they would, if given the chance, prove every bit as capable of initiating cruel acts and policies in the name of "American interests." Given her actions in relationship to the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, we know this is certainly true of Hillary Clinton.
It might well be that most presidents have acted cruelly at some point during their term of office. Take for example President Obama, who, on the one hand, put an end to President George W. Bush's practice of torture while, on the other hand, initiated an infamous and on-going campaign of drone murder. Nonetheless, the vast majority of presidents have not personally sought to stir up hatred. However, we can all rely on ambitious demagogues and the rightwing media outlets to do this.
Part V -- Conclusion
It is important to understand that there is always a subset of any population, including that in the United States, susceptible to the posturing and rhetorical style of a person like Donald Trump (who, by the way, often strikes poses and speaks in a fashion reminiscent of Benito Mussolini). This susceptible subset are looking for simple answers forcefully presented, they have a longstanding resentment of minorities and immigrants, they distrust the political establishment, and they feel disenfranchised. Their feelings and fears mean more to them than the nation's constitution or other laws. The number of such people becomes larger or smaller depending on economic and social circumstances. However, they never go away entirely -- their numbers never drop to zero. In the case of Trump's appeal to the American public, my estimate is that this number may currently stand at one-quarter to one-third of the adult population.
The Trump phenomenon stands as a powerful reason why it is in the nation's interest that the government pay attention to issues that hold to a minimum public resentment: issues such as general equality of opportunity, fairness in the market place, tax equity, combating discriminatory practices, the serious problem of special interest influence in politics, as well as the need to enhance social services ranging from unemployment insurance and Social Security to the right to health care and education.
Trump's popularity also stands as a powerful reason why the government must see to the dissemination of accurate information on such issues as immigrants and the economy, the real consequences of "free trade" treaties, the positive and necessary role of regulation, and last but certainly not least, the positive role of Muslims in America. To the extent that both the Republicans, as well as the more conservative Democrats have stood in the way of such things, they have bred the frustration and dissatisfaction that Trump now exploits. Thus, they have only themselves to blame for rise of Donald Trump. Of course, that is little solace to the rest of us.
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