Depending upon whom one chooses to ask, the chances of Donald J. Trump prevailing in November's presidential election are either very good or very poor. Many, if not most, oddsmakers have Hillary Clinton taking the White House in various magnitudes of landslide, but, as this particularly silly election season still has several weeks to go, taking any possibility off the table seems like a poor play.
What is already known is that Donald Trump's presidential run has fomented the rise of a particularly hideous form of xenophobia the likes of which this country hasn't seen in decades. Some of the most vile and ugly racists have used his candidacy as an excuse for slithering out from under their rocks and broadcasting their loathsome message of hate.
Included among the targets of the Trumpian troglodytes are immigrants (legal and undocumented), Muslims (born here or not - doesn't matter) and women (unless they're named or work for Trump).
Trump seems to want to shoot America in the foot. The United States has a rich tradition of immigration. It's a nation built almost entirely on the ability of people from different parts of the world to contribute to and build a society in different ways, whether that's at a desk, on a farm, or in public service. Trump could be reminded that America is in a global competition to fill the "skills gap" for talent. Though hating someone for their race or origin is vile all on its own, the ramifications of frightening off skilled labor from abroad are far reaching. China, India, Europe, even Canada would love to welcome Ivy League technology and business graduates to their shores.
Trump's run has attracted racists like fresh dung attracts flies. Some are well known, like KKK leader, Holocaust denier, and convicted felon David Duke. Others are less known, like Florida attorney Sara Blackwell. Fresh off a charge of allegedly beating her ex-husband in front of her children, Blackwell decided to enter politics when she became involved with a lawsuit against Disney by former employees who say they were fired and replaced by foreign workers.
Vamping for a typically raucous crowd of about ten thousand waiting on the Republican presidential nominee earlier this year, and apparently well versed in the latest alt-right dog-whistle phrases, she said that Americans face a looming invasion of foreigners at work, where they may stroll in on a Monday to "find an Indian or Asian sitting at their desk." She has become something of a celebrity in the anti-immigration movement, lobbying officials from California and Delaware to draft proposals to block many of America's immigrants, including those with advanced degrees, from accepting jobs in the United States.
In addition to teasing racists out of hiding, the Trump campaign is responsible for invigorating a latent hatred for Muslims in America. Trump's campaign has signaled that it may soften the anti-Islam rhetoric, but there are candidates across the country who feel no such need to dial down the hate. Businessman and property developer Carlos Beruff, a Republican candidate for Senate, eloquently detailed his ham-handed approach to "Muslim immigration," or immigration from Middle Eastern states. Beruff said he would ban immigration from "pretty much anybody that's got a terrorist organization in it, which is pretty much all the Middle East," with Israel being an exception, thanks to their "pretty strong" security. He saw no need to cast a small net, either, saying that the ban would apply to even non-Muslims as well.
It's not an exaggeration to say that this November's election will be a turning point. The electorate has a choice between hate, fear, and ignorance, and reason and decency. Unfortunately, we will always have people in this country who harbor hate in their hearts and look for any opportunity to spew the poison within them. It's no surprise that elements from the Republican Party are trying hard to distance themselves from the Donald.
Trump's running mate is trying, but fortunately, has yet to overcome his boss' rhetoric. A self-described "born-again, evangelical Catholic," Mike Pence's recent campaign to rally the GOP around Trump ended poorly, with a large number of congressmen taking aim at the controversial positions aired during the campaign. Meanwhile, James Glassman, former undersecretary of state under George W. Bush, is spearheading a campaign to recruit life-long Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton.
We can only hope that the majority of decent and inclusive people, who have made this country what it is, will turn out in November and send this fringe and un-Republican ideology back into the dark corners of our society where it belongs.