Only things left in Republican arsenal: Fear, racism, and hate
Divisive: Donald Trump and Republicans are trying everything to sow racial, ethnic, and partisan disunity in the closing days of the campaign. Here, Trump himself is divided in a reflection as he posed for a photo during an interview in December 2015. | Andrew Harnik / AP

Murder. Mobs. Mayhem. Misery.

Trump and the GOP are desperately peddling lies, fear, and dystopia as we head into the final weekend before the midterms. It’s all they have left to stem expected losses November 6 in the face of energized Democratic voters and widespread erosion of support for their key policies.

Take two new shocking racist political ads tweeted out by Trump and meant to scare the hell out of voters. Imagine the infamous Willie Horton ad from thirty years ago, but on steroids.

Ad 1: A courtroom scene with an undocumented immigrant convicted of murdering two police officers only laments, with a crazed grin, that he didn’t kill more. That’s followed by terrifying scenes of menacing mobs, presumably from Central America, violently smashing barricades to enter the United States, including one migrant convicted of attempted murder who hopes to be pardoned. It’s all followed by the tagline: “Who else would Democrats let in?” (Never mind that the cop-killer actually re-entered the United States during the presidency of George W. Bush.)

Ad 2: Scenes of economic prosperity, new construction, job and wage growth resulting from Trump policies. Then switch to the contrast of an economic hell-scape under the Obama administration. Hooded anarchists are breaking windows and stomping on Trump supporters. A news report flashes across the screen that Trump opponents have “beat a white man” and are cursing the president. Then, in big letters across the screen, the latest Trump rally slogan: “Jobs not mobs.”

If you’re not on Trump’s Twitter feed or don’t live in the right-wing media’s propaganda and conspiracy bubble, you might have missed them. Perhaps if you live in a contested congressional district, though, you’ve gotten a taste of this non-stop barrage of lies.

The Trump and GOP messages conjure up an ominous national security threat being carried to our borders by immigrant mobs infested with disease and Islamic terrorists funded by globalists (read Jews). And the culprits who brought this ruin to our doorstep? Democrats—who apparently all support open borders and crave mayhem in the streets.

And helping them sabotage the country, according to Trump, are millions of undocumented immigrants who are once again voting to sway the election—just as he claimed they did in 2016.

The Republicans’ new ads further charge the toxic atmosphere that has already led to the slaughter of Jewish worshipers in Pittsburgh, multiple pipe bombs sent to Trump opponents, and the murder of two African Americans in Louisville, Kentucky over the past two weeks—acts that were all carried out by Trump supporters. Despite the GOP’s effort to make it seems like all the violence and hate is coming from the left, a growing number of Americans who are alarmed by these events don’t seem to be buying it. That may be why there’s been a drop in Trump’s popularity.

Still, they spin the “ alternative fact” notion that the American people can count on Trump and Republicans in Congress to keep America safe and prosperous. It is the president who is providing strong leadership by sending troops to the border, building the wall, and denying birthright citizenship. They’re all the ideas of the so-called “alt-right,” today’s re-branded fascists, carried right into the mainstream of American politics.

The GOP strategy is to minimize the party’s expected losses in Congress by shoring up Trump’s core support among white voters in rural, suburban, and exurban areas who are fearful over changing demographics and shifts in cultural and social attitudes. Republicans are betting on these voters being vulnerable to their racist and anti-immigrant appeals.

On the flip side of that dystopia, the GOP is spreading another fog of lies to stem the steady erosion of its white women supporters with a rosy appeal on economic issues, new tax breaks, and the whopper of a lie that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who are the real champions of affordable health care.

A Donald Trump supporter holds up a sign reading, “FINISH THE WALL” during a campaign rally on Saturday, Oct. 20, in Elko, Nev. | Alex Goodlett / AP

Despite their spin, Republicans are actually terrified of being held accountable for their four-year drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including their multiple attempts to overturn coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and to halt the expansion of Medicaid. They know 60 percent of people living in red states support Medicaid expansion and 75 percent back protecting people with pre-existing conditions. Public opinion has shifted so much on Medicaid expansion that even retiring Idaho Gov. Bruce Otter, a Republican, has endorsed a statewide ballot initiative to expand it.

And in an even more worrisome sign for the GOP, 70 percent of voters, including most Republicans, support Medicare for All—a position quickly becoming mainstream for Democratic Party candidates.

The American people have also soured on the Trump/GOP tax bonanza for billionaires, a measure that will add $2 trillion to the federal deficit. Republican candidates are running from it quicker than lightning and hiding their plan to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The president is still trying to take credit for low unemployment rates (which started their trend downward long before he took office), but for those who do have a job, wages are actually stagnant. As for the job-creating infrastructure act Trump had been promising? That’s been silently shelved, and the latest big plan from Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow calls for eliminating the federal minimum wage. That’s the Trump economy we’re actually in for.

Trump and the GOP think they can win with the big lie and big scare. The strategy’s got legs with a certain crowd or Republicans wouldn’t be pushing it so hard, but increasingly, the right wing’s act is wearing thin. The American people will render their verdict on November 6.


John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He served as national chair of the CPUSA from 2014 to 2019. He is active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Albuquerque and attended Antioch College. He currently lives in Chicago where he is an avid swimmer, cyclist, runner, and dabbler in guitar and occasional singer in a community chorus.