'Anti-Trump protests do what US media failed to – hold him accountable'
RT: Trump's rallies have seen more violence than those of all the other candidates put together. Wherever he goes, clashes follow. What makes passions run so high when it comes to this particular politician?
Max Blumenthal: The violence that we saw in Anaheim mainly emanated from the heavily militarized police. There is a long tradition in Anaheim - which is a heavily Latino immigrant community just like Albuquerque - of police violence…That is why we sometimes see stones being thrown at police as in Albuquerque, which is the most violent lethal police department in the country. Mostly the police kill mentally ill people and Latinos as in Albuquerque. Trump, a candidate, who has incited against Mexicans, called them rapists, incited against the immigrant community, who has crowds chanting “Build the wall!” is coming into these heavily immigrant communities which have been targeted by anti-immigrant legislation. He is calling for people’s deportation and bringing people from the outside, primarily a white anti-immigrant audience to cheer him on. So, I think Trump should have expected this kind of response and in many ways these protesters are doing what the American media failed to do - which is to hold Trump accountable.
Arun Gupta, journalist and analyst, told RT: “American society is very deeply divided: it is divided by class, it is divided by race, and it is divided by religion.”
“We should put it in perspective that these clashes are relatively minor. In the US the political culture it is completely out of proportion.”
“The US is the most violent nation in the world. At one point, it was bombing seven different countries just a few years ago. So, these clashes…are nothing like the US wars. But the reason why the anti-Trump protesters are so impassionate is because their lives are literally on the line when Donald Trump says we are going to build the wall, we are going to deport 11 million people.”
RT: What are the main forces behind the so-called anti-Trump movement? Is it a diverse medley consisting of people from across the political spectrum or is it a solid group?
MB: The people that you saw in Albuquerque and in Anaheim are people who are generally younger, who are not connected to the Democratic Party or involved in grassroots, you can even call it radical left-wing activism against police brutality, against anti-immigrant policies. And we also have to note that there are sometimes border patrol raids in and around Orange County…But you can also see the Hillary Clinton campaign is trying to capitalize on the anti-Trump energy and is seeking to insinuate its own people into anti-Trump protests in a much more subdued form. And then you have the neoconservative wing of the Republican establishment with its ‘Never Trump’ movement which is sort of sour grapes, from people who are unpopular with actual Republican base.
Jeffrey Sommers, Associate Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee: “We are seeing two things – one is the kind of increasingly precarious nature of the existence of young people in the US. They are going to probably face a future in which their living standards are lower than their parents. Employment is unsecure at best. But also there is a moral dimension to this as well: people are genuinely frustrated with Donald Trump statements regarding immigrants.”
“It is a calculated effort to kind of gee up these tensions which result at [Trump] being seen as a figure who is opposing what is a political correctness that many people are tired of.”
RT: Would it be an exaggeration to say these clashes are symptomatic of deep divisions in American society? Have we perhaps gone past the point of no return already?
MB: Absolutely, this is symptomatic not only of political polarization but cultural polarization: you have white workers being phased out of their jobs, being outsourced to Mexico, to China. And in many ways corporations are bringing in undocumented labor that they want to exploit. And these people are seeking the path to citizenship. So, it is really the corporate Republican and Democratic establishment who have kind of created this divide and are not providing a solution to it by allowing people to become unionized, to become part of the workforce and stop these free trade deals. Donald Trump has actually spoken out against the free trade deals, but he is pointing the finger not up at the one percent who are inking the deals but down at the undocumented labor that is being exploited and at Latinos in general who are now the fastest growing minority group in the US.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.