AGORA on Trump: Is He Anti-Immigrant or Just Anti-Lawlessness?

Dan Georgakas and Constantinos E. Scaros debate whether Donald Trump is really anti-immigrant or anti-lawlessless, and whether or not he is good for the country.

Is Donald Trump Really Anti-Immigrant?



Dan, I would say we’ve talked a great bit about Donald Trump over the past few weeks but, then again, so has practically everyone else in the media. And just as they continue to do so, so should we, I think, because his continued command of this stretch of the election cycle renders such discussions newsworthy, not to mention entertaining.

I take strong exception to the stereotype that Trump supporters are racists, nativists, and misogynists. Sure, some are, but the vast majority are not.

Take me, for instance. Though I wouldn’t pigeonhole myself as a “Trump supporter” just yet – I’ve been around the political process long enough not to be surprised that I may sour on him in a few days, weeks or months – I have also certainly not ruled out the possibility of voting for him. And yet in no way am I any of those horrible things. That I think a lot of what Trump says has merit and is vital to our national political discussion in no way means that I support racism, xenophobia, or misogyny. In fact, the basis of my argument in this Agora segment is that I don’t think Trump harbors any of those sentiments, either.

Let me focus on Trump’s supposed “anti-immigrant” position. I have heard Trump say – constantly – that “I love immigrants. I want immigrants to come to this country through a big, beautiful door. But they need to come here legally. And I want to build a wall to keep people from coming here illegally,” as well as to deport those who have – even though he would allow the vast majority of them (i.e., the non-felons) to return very quickly. “And I promise to do this in a very humane manner,” he says, albeit not getting too specific with the details. Exactly how is that anti-immigrant? Sounds to me like it’s anti-lawlessness.

If someone were to condemn Spiro Agnew for having pleaded no contest to bribery charges while governor or Maryland and as a result resigning the vice presidency of the United States, should we label that person anti-Greek?

Moreover, is Trump “anti-immigrant” because he would not allow Univision’s Jorge Ramos to speak out of turn at a press conference, because at that point Ramos stopped being a journalist and became a heckler? Not to mention that Trump let Ramos back in and gave him more floor time than he did to anyone else. “Go back to Univision,” Trump told Ramos, prompting the Trump-bashers to insist that his reference to a Latino television station was clearly a racist remark. If it had been MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews who was doing the heckling, and Trump said to him “go back to MSNBC,” would that make Trump a racist against Irish-Catholics (of which Matthews is one)? And who really thinks Trump wouldn’t have thrown out a zinger against MSNBC, just like he did against Univision, though in neither case anything having to do with ethnicity?

Trump rails against political correctness, and he is so thin-skinned that when attacked, he will zero in on the attacker’s weak spot, even if the comment may hint of broader forbidden “isms.”

America has had populist candidates for centuries. The last one to gain traction to this significant level was Ross Perot in 1992. Pat Buchanan also mounted a strong challenge to then-President George H.W. Bush. John Anderson made some noise as an independent in 1980. George Wallace in 1968… etc. None of those candidates won the election.
Judging from history, then, populists are great for rousing the masses, but over the long and grueling haul of a presidential campaign just don’t have what it takes to finish first. The odds are against Trump, therefore, in that regard. But his current poll numbers suggest that he has an advantage over the others – he is currently the frontrunner of one of America’s two major political parties.

As we continue to watch Trump, I hope that any criticism directed his way is based on what he has actually said – not what has been wrongly twisted into passing as his words. For instance, Trump never said: “Mexicans are rapists and criminals.” Instead, he said: “Mexico sends us its racists and criminals,” meaning that the Mexican government, seeking to keep only its good people in its own country, sends us the bad ones.

That is exactly the type of statement worth analyzing and, if applicable, refuting, disproving, or otherwise criticizing. And again, that would not make Trump anti-immigrant.

What do you think?


“The Donald” may or may not be racist, xenophobic, or sexist. Many of his supporters are and have no qualms about so stating. He is a champion of tough talk that ignores the whole of a policy’s impact to concentrate on a single aspect, good or bad, of that policy. His economic proposals consist of actions that have repeatedly failed. Finally, he is a corporate executive, a class that contrary to most public opinion is not well suited for public service.

Trump is extremely thin-skinned. He is also vindictive. as demonstrated in his demeaning attack on the heroism of John McCain and his adolescent stab regarding the attractiveness of Project Runway’s Heide Klum. This shoot-from-the hip style is not suitable for dealing with world leaders, whether allies or foes. What the world remembers when Trump indulges in abrasive language is the crudeness of what was said rather than any follow-up clarification.

Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the Mexican border reminds me of the heinous wall Israel has built in Palestine. He opposes the Iran agreement without offering any viable alternative or admitting our allies will lift sanctions whether we do so or not. Like myopic politicians of the late 1920s, the Donald believes raising tariffs on imports will guarantee long-term American prosperity. He also is under the delusion that the power of OPEC and manipulation of the Chinese currency can be controlled through acts of the U.S. Congress.

Trump happens to be the son of a millionaire, with little understanding of the challenges faced by people dependent on wages and salaries. This is clear by his reluctance to raise wages even for the lowest paid workers when executive pay is at all-time highs. He says he will create jobs by reducing corporate taxes to zero, which outdoes even Cheney/Bush’s economic blunders.

Trump has a poor record in urban development. Years ago, he and his colleagues assured Atlantic City that if they allowed casinos to open, there would be an economic boom that would re-establish the city as a major vacation and convention center. No such revival has occurred. Moreover, one of Trump’s three casinos has closed and a second may follow suite.

Like other corporate executives, what Trump is good at doing has little to do with running a government. Corporations are profit-seeking enterprises; the government is a service organization. Corporate executives seek to cut costs whatever way they can and avoid paying taxes whenever possible. They are paid enormous sums to get as much work as possible out of as few people as possible at the lowest cost possible. The mode is less about efficiency than personal gain.

Governmental efficiency is not measured by how much profit is generated but in keeping revenues and costs in balance. Responsible politicians strive to regulate corporations whose products might endanger health, public safety, and the environment. Rather than trying to create winners in the capitalist casino, responsible governmental administrators strive to provide an equal playing field for all citizens and regulate financial institutions to prevent outright swindling and trickery. Their pay is modest with no “golden parachutes” when they move or retire. Unlike corporate executives who plan for the short run or for as long as they will be employed by a specific corporation, they plan for the long run.

Most Americans don’t consider many of our present political leaders as responsible. Trump’s statements attract them, but he is presenting old policies as something new. He is more bark than bite.


1 Comment

  1. Ohhh, poor Dan; It seems that Dan is appalled at Trump’s rhetoric/antics and finds him “vindictive” and “crude”. I wonder if Dan and his leftist ilk would have lauded the privileged McCain’s (son of a Vice Admiral in the Pacific fleet) “heroism” or crudely spit, and/or condemned him and other veterans as a “baby killer” 45 years ago? I really don’t really know the particulars, but scores of veterans and other POW/ MIA organizations seem to agree with Trump, some, even going as far as accusing McCain of treason, albeit for different reasons.

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