Dump Trump

by James J. Zogby

Dr. James J. Zogby is the President of Arab American Institute

 

Recent Trump outrages have thrown the GOP establishment into a tizzy. Reactions have been varied, ranging from a few brave souls who have denounced their nominee's bigotry to those who continue to hope against hope that Trump will begin to behave more "presidential". Ignored in all of this are two important realities: Trump is Trump; and his message and movement are the handiwork of the very establishment that is now rejecting their creations.

Trump's xenophobic, male chauvinist, and bigoted bullying campaign rhetoric is not an act. It is who he is and it what the constituency that has propelled his candidacy wants him to be. While this simple truth has been self-evident throughout the campaign, the establishment has been in denial, unwilling or unable to confront reality. With every display of brutish behavior, they pronounced Trump fatally wounded—only to discover that his appalling and dangerous attacks on Mexicans, women, Muslims, people with disabilities, news reporters, and incitements to violence against demonstrators—caused his poll numbers to rise.

Party leaders shouldn't have been surprised, since it was they who set the table for "The Donald". For decades, the GOP has preyed off the fears of white voters who are in economic distress. Since the days of Richard Nixon, they have used subtle and not so subtle racial messages to win support. Whether the targets were "welfare queens", "Willie Horton", or resentment over "affirmative action"—the appeal was the same: "they are a threat to you" and "they are privileged and are taking from you".

With the election of Barack Obama, in the midst of the most severe economic crisis since the Depression, this effort swung into high gear with the Tea Party and "birther" movements. New targets were added—Mexicans ("illegals" and "drugs") and Muslims ("terrorists" and "an existential threat to our way of life").

In each instance, the GOP fed the beast. They funded, helped to organize, and used the Tea Party to win elections, and with "a wink and a nod" they let the "birthers" fester in effort to deligitimize the president. They encouraged and celebrated vigilante actions against "illegals" and callously exploited the fear of Muslims with trumped-up campaigns against Sharia law and TV ads in congressional races charging Democrats with being "soft on Muslims".

All of this created a constituency which Trump, the entertainer, understood and toward whom he directed his campaign. He is but the latest in a long line of demagogues to tap into resentment and fear—following in the footsteps of Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Michele Bachmann.

The hope of the Republican Party establishment that Trump would become a more "respectable" candidate has been, in part, disingenuous. If he were not the nominee, they would be thrilled to have him campaigning for GOP candidate. But as the standard bearer, he is an embarrassment.

His racist attack on the judge who is hearing the case against the so-called "Trump University" has left party leaders flailing about. In an effort to distance themselves from his behavior, they have expressed everything from disappointment to disgust. Last weekend, Trump compounded his bigotry by noting that not only did he feel that a judge of Mexican descent couldn't give him a fair trial (because Trump was planning to build a wall between Mexico and the US); he also felt he couldn't trust a Muslim American judge (because he had called for a ban on Muslim immigrants to the US).

While I do not have polling data on Mexican Americans, I did conduct a survey of US voters a few months ago that demonstrates the sad reality that is behind Trump's calculations. American voters were asked "If a Muslim American were to attain an important position of influence in the government, would you feel confident that person would be able to do the job, or would you feel that their religion would influence their decision-making?"

A plurality of voters (46%) said they felt that Muslims would be unduly influenced by their religion. More telling: while a plurality of Democrats (47%) were confident that a Muslim American could do the job, 63% of Republicans said a Muslim couldn't be trusted—including a whopping 75% of voters who said they were Trump supporters.

The bottom line is that Trump didn't create this mindset or this constituency. It was created for him and he is merely playing to the crowd. Instead of hand-wringing, the party leaders who for years have encouraged this phenomenon need to accept their responsibility. It didn't just happen, and Trump didn't will it into being. The fear and/or resentment of Mexicans/Muslims/blacks/strong women/etc has long been cultivated and has now given birth to its evil fruit.

I warned that this beast would turn on its creators, and now it has. Whining or expressions of disappointment won't make it go away. Decisive action just might.  Republicans should repudiate bigotry and demonstrate resolve by listening to those courageous voices who are calling on them to "Dump Trump" and undo the damage they have done to their party and to our country.      

Browse articles by author

More Essays

Added 16.07.2018
Getting rid of loneliness is also about letting go of cynicism and mistrust of others. So next time you meet someone new, try to lose that protective shield and really allow them in, even though you don’t know what the outcome will be.
Added 12.07.2018
From the beginning Donald Trump’s administration has been marred by corruption and outright contempt for the rule of law – with the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey “because of the whole Russia thing”, and persistent efforts to undermine Robert Mueller’s Russia probe; with his refusal to divest himself of private businesses, his attacks on judges who rule against him, and much else besides. Trump’s shameless claim to unbounded executive power manifested itself recently in repeated calls to deprive unauthorized immigrants of their due process rights. The conditions in migrant detention centers are horrifying and photos from one facility in McAllen, Texas showed children being held in cages. According to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Facebook report, this border facility is an enormous warehouse “filled with cages. Cages for men. Cages for women. Cages for mamas with babies. Cages for girls. Cages for boys.”  Such an unconscionable state of affairs makes the current exhibition of Alberto Giacometti at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City all the more electrifying. The show features more than one hundred and seventy-five sculptures, paintings, and drawings, spanning more than forty years and across all the various media with which he worked.  
Added 12.07.2018
I sometimes meet with apologies from venues when a piano’s action may not be serviced to top form. I reply with a smile that such apologies are unnecessary, for in my youth I had to pull up as many keys as push down upon them when playing on battered uprights before elementary school children. In those days I played as often with my palms up as down, like a day at the gym dedicated to both push and pull. Once, however, just before a recital in a private South Carolina home, I encountered a woman whose main concern was – though my naked hands were plain before her – that I remove any rings I might be wearing before playing upon her piano’s vulnerable ivories.
Added 12.06.2018
Extract: “Nothing is beautiful except what is true,” Cézanne once said, “and only true things should be loved.” As the philosopher Jacques Derrida put it: “The truth in painting is signed Cézanne.” Perhaps it is this above all else that makes him the indispensible painter for our times, this era of so-called ‘post-truth.’ For Cézanne “painting was truth telling or it was nothing.” That is what it meant to paint from nature, to be primitive, to be free from all affectation, to be like those “first men who engraved their dreams of the hunt on the vaults of caves…” This is why we need to look and look again at Cézanne. And it is perhaps best that he has come to the National Gallery, to D.C., but a stone’s throw away from where truth is daily made a mockery of, and lies are proffered with breathtaking ease.
Added 06.06.2018
Extracts from the article: "Johnson and Johnson recently announced that it was halting a clinical trial for a new Alzheimer’s drug after safety issues emerged. This latest failure adds to the dozens of large, costly clinical trials that have shown no effect in treating this devastating disease. The growing list of failures should give us pause for thought – have we got the causes of Alzheimer’s all wrong?".............."Another option is to look at the risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s. One of these is type 2 diabetes." ............"Testing these [diabetes] drugs in animal models of another neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease, also showed impressive effects, ............These new theories bring a fresh view on how these diseases develop and increase the likelihood of developing a drug treatment that makes a difference. To see any protective effect in the brain in a clinical trial is completely new, and it supports the new theory that Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are caused, at least in part, by a lack of growth factor activity in the brain. These new theories bring a fresh view on how these diseases develop and increase the likelihood of developing a drug treatment that makes a difference."
Added 01.06.2018
Extract from the article: "The most common defense of truth is the pragmatic one – namely, that truth works; that true beliefs are more likely to get the job done than those that are not true. The pragmatic account of the value of truth is not wrong, but at the same time it is not enough. Truth is not valuable for solely instrumental or extrinsic reasons. Truth has intrinsic value as well. When we reduce the value of truth to instrumentality, it is a very short step to saying that we just want beliefs that work for us, regardless of whether they are true or not."
Added 14.05.2018
During the first century of modern art, Paris was a magnet for ambitious artists from all over Europe. Remarkably, the current exhibition at Paris’ Petit Palais tells us that “Between 1789 and 1914, over a thousand Dutch artists traveled to France.” Prominent among these were Ary Scheffer, Johan Jongkind, Jacob Maris, Kees van Dongen. But of course most prominent were Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondrian.
Added 10.05.2018
The Jewish Museum in New York City is currently presenting the work of Chaim Soutine (1893-1943), featuring just over thirty paintings by one of the most distinctive and significant artists of the early twentieth century. Focusing on still life paintings, of which he was a master, "Chaim Soutine: Flesh" includes his vigorous depictions of various slaughtered animals - of beef carcasses, hanging fowl, and game. These are dynamic works of great boldness and intensity, and taken together they constitute a sustained and profoundly sensuous interrogation of the flesh, of carnality - of blood, skin and sinew.
Added 08.05.2018
The impact of air pollution on human health is well-documented. We know that exposure to high levels of air pollutants raises the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But there is growing evidence to suggest that air pollution does not just affect our health – it affects our behaviour too.
Added 05.05.2018
 

The May bank holiday is intimately linked to labour history and to struggles over time spent at work. In the US, May Day has its origins in the fight for an eight-hour work day at the end of the 19th century.

Added 01.05.2018
Quote from the article: "Who is talking about how globalized the world was between 1880 and 1914 -- until war broke out and fascists subsequently determined the course of history -- and the parallels between then and now? Globalization always had a down side, and was never meant to last forever -- but the gurus chose not to talk about it. It is always just a question of time until economic nationalism reappears, but the gurus have done a poor job of addressing the nexus between economics and politics, and its impact on business, which is the real story."
Added 29.04.2018
"......if we did manage to stop the kind of ageing caused by senescent cells using telomerase activation, we could start devoting all our efforts into tackling these additional ageing processes. There’s every reason to be optimistic that we may soon live much longer, healthier lives than we do today."
Added 29.04.2018
Many countries have introduced a sugar tax in order to improve the health of their citizens. As a result, food and drink companies are changing their products to include low and zero-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar. However, there is growing evidence that sweeteners may have health consequences of their own. New research from the US, presented at the annual Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, found a link with consuming artificial sweeteners and changes in blood markers linked with an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes in rats. Does this mean we need to ditch sweeteners as well as sugar?
Added 25.04.2018
Female doctors show more empathy than male doctors. They ask their patients more questions, including questions about emotions and feelings, and they spend more time talking to patients than their male colleagues do. Some have suggested that this might make women better doctors. It may also take a terrible toll on their mental health.
Added 25.04.2018
The English-born Thomas Cole (1801-1848) is arguably America's first great landscape painter - the founder of the Hudson River School, the painter who brought a romantic sensibility to the American landscape, and sought to preserve the rapidly disappearing scenery with panoramas that invoke the divinity in nature. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Thomas Cole: Atlantic Crossings" is an astounding exhibition featuring a painter of extraordinary power and vision, underscoring his environmentalism and the deep sense of loss that pervades many works as he reflects on deforestation, the intrusion of the railroad, and the vanishing beauty of the untrammeled wilderness.
Added 23.04.2018
Quantitative evidence from three independent sources — auction prices, textbook illustrations, and counts of paintings included in retrospective exhibitions — all pointed to the fact that some important modern artists made their greatest work late in their careers — Cézanne, for example, in his 60s, and Kandinsky and Rothko in their 50s. But the same evidence indicated that other important artists produced their greatest work very early — Picasso, Johns, and Stella, for example, all in their 20s. Why was this was the case: why did great artists do their best work at such different stages of their careers? I couldn’t answer this question until I understood what makes an artist’s work his or her best.
Added 19.04.2018

People of all ages are at risk from diseases brought on by loneliness, new data has revealed.

Added 09.04.2018

I was a senior university student in Baghdad, Iraq. It was March 2003, and over the past few months, my classmates had whispered to each other about the possibility of a US-led invasion and the likelihood that 35 years of dictatorship and tyranny could be brought to an end.

Added 26.03.2018
In 1815, 69-year old Francisco de Goya painted a small self-portrait. Today it hangs in Madrid’s majestic Prado Museum. Next to it are the two enormous paintings of the uprising of May, 1808, in which Madrid’s citizens had been slaughtered by Napoleon’s troops, that Goya had painted in 1814 for King Ferdinand VII, to be hung in Madrid’s Royal Palace. One of these, of the execution of Spanish civilians by a French firing squad, is now among the most famous images in the history of Western art.
Added 15.03.2018

Soon after I enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge University in 1964, I encountered a fellow student, two years ahead of me in his studies, who was unsteady on his feet and spoke with great difficulty. This was Stephen Hawking.