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What to Make of Trump’s Manic Spasm of Xenophobia?

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Frank Sharry: “Fear and loathing of the other is his core belief and his core strategy”

President Trump continues to tweet, bluster, threaten and lie about border security and immigration policy multiple times a day. Just yesterday he threatened to send the U.S. military to the border, a move as unwise as it is illegal. Clearly, Trump is up to something. But what?

In a Medium piece posted last night, America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry argues that “fear and loathing of the other” is at the core of Trump’s political strategy and worldview. As Trump ramps up the immigrant-bashing in hopes of ginning up his base in time for the 2018 midterms, what is at stake goes well beyond an immigration policy dispute. At issue is which of two starkly different visions of America will prevail.

Read Frank Sharry on why 2018 elections promise to be an epic battle between the populism of “us vs. them” and the pluralism of e pluribus unum and check out some key excerpts below:

…this is the core of Trump’s political strategy. It worked for him in 2016 and he hopes it will work in 2018. He appeals to angry voters who want to blame somebody else for the disruptions of the modern world. He gives voice to fear and loathing. His endless efforts to demonize, dehumanize and “other” immigrants and refugees is the glue that holds together his coalition. It’s the animating force of his ethno-nationalism. It’s the rally chant that still echoes. It’s the tail that wags the GOP dog. It’s the issue which has most free-market, pro-immigration conservatives fearing his wrath, coddling his voters, and aping his nativism.

…The fight is on. This is the battle heading into the 2018 midterms. It may turn out to be a generational battle with us for decades. Whatever its duration, let’s engage it with a fierce determination to expand our definition of “us.” Trump will continue his ugly and sustained attack on immigrants, refugees and more. Fear and loathing of the other is his core belief and his core strategy. We need to resist and denounce, to be sure. But we need to do more than resist and denounce.

We need to articulate and advocate for a vision of America that is more powerful and more competitive than rank appeals to hate, resentment and exclusion. Our vision is written in our founding documents. Our vision is realized in the struggle to make our ideals real in the lives of one and all, regardless of the color of one’s skin, the gender of one’s body, the place of one’s birth, the religion of one’s choice, or the person one loves. Our vision is an aspiration that is an invitation. It may not be realized yet, but it’s a fight each and everyone of us can join and wage. Our vision is inclusive, not exclusive. It’s us and them, not us vs them. It’s E Pluribus Unum, not “Build the Wall.”

Our vision? It’s the American way.