Victory in ignorance, order in fear

The Trump-Pence rhetoric has sparked a wider divide in the American Public, and it’s not going away.

Andy Stec, Senior Columnist

“Hillary Clinton’s border policy is going to allow people into the country just like the one who murdered my son.” The words of Laura Wilkerson echo in the latest of the Trump-Pence television ads. The thirty second spot was spent describing the brutal details of Joshua Wilkerson’s murder in 2010. The premise seems clear: we are in danger. The people you love are in danger. Only one man can save you.

If there is one thing driving the garish Trump-Pence campaign even unto the kalends of November, it is fear. Fear of the ‘Other’—whether that be an illegal immigrant hell-bent on abusing our welfare or a Middle Eastern muslim terrorist moments away from carrying out the next attack. Donald Trump and Mike Pence live in a perpetual state of fear. In his acceptance speech at the RNC, Trump thundered,  “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life…”

When people are scared, they wish to feel protected. They grasp tighter to the things they have and view unfamiliar faces and elements with hostility. This can be seen reflected in the primary polls: when Paris and San Bernardino were hit with terror attacks last December, Trump enjoyed a healthy seven point lead and pushed through the final stretch of the primaries into what many considered impossible—securing the GOP nomination.

To keep the thin veil of horror and fear surrounding his strongman figure even during times of relative peace, Trump takes advantage of two strategies above all others: misinformation and fear-mongering rhetoric.

The misinformation aspect is not particularly his fault, but rather evidence of his primary voter base: poor, uneducated, white males in areas experiencing high rates of suicide and early-death. A Vox/Morning Consult poll published on Oct. 10 revealed that “69 percent of U.S. voters think there is more crime in the U.S. than there was two decades ago, with 43 percent saying there is ‘much more’ crime…” In reality, FBI figures dictate that crime in the U.S. is at the lowest in 50 years, while a Gallup Poll suggests that concern about crime and violence is the highest in 15 years. Trump and Pence play on vapid misinformation to establish themselves as clear and strong leaders whose simple-to-understand, broad policy positions (like reintroducing stop-and-frisk, ‘extreme-vetting’ immigrants and vaguely ‘reintroducing law and order’) would surely make America safe again—if only for the P.C.-addled liberal left.

This is where their rhetoric steps in. By forming an abusive cycle of dependency—speaking of growing violence, and positioning themselves as the sole saviors—they then paint their opponents as either weak-willed leaders who will let these terrors become reality or as the terrors themselves. This comes into play with the Trump campaign’s recent tendency of using distraught victims of violence to further their political statement: that immigrants are dangerous, that people of color are breaking down law and order, that the next terror attack is being plotted as we speak. While Pence speaks of the drastic need to put boots on the ground in order to assert foreign dominance abroad, Trump speaks of needing to remove millions of people from the country because innocent American lives are at stake.

Never mind that, since 1993, nine terrorist attacks have been carried out by Islamic extremists. Never mind that, in that same timeframe, forty-two terrorist attacks have been carried out by right-wing conservative extremists in the U.S. Never mind the fact that one is seven times more likely to be killed by a Christian conservative terrorist than by any Muslim terrorists. Trump, and a good portion of the GOP, have built their campaigns not around substantial policy or fact, but around obstruction and damnation of liberalism. Since 2008, being a major member of the GOP has been a contest of who can denounce liberal ideas the most vocally—this is why Republicans, and Republicans alone, are to blame for “The Donald’s” rise. These candidates thrive on misinformation and ‘gut instinct;’ and when something doesn’t fit the narrative, it’s because it has been conjured up by the left.

When a young girl told Trump at a rally she was scared, it seemed genuine, because it was. “You know what, darling? You’re not going to be scared anymore.” Trump thundered from his dais on high, “They’re going to be scared.”

He never said who ‘they’ were, yet every member of the audience seemed to know exactly what he was talking about. The applause was deafening.