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Saturday, February 24, 2018


Guest Column: Trump creates an election of the extremes

Some Trump supporters attempted to crash the protest. | Photo by Justin Cross.

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s statements have started a fire that scorches other people and their beliefs. |  Justin Cross/The Cougar

“Politics hates a vacuum. If it isn’t filled with hope, someone will fill it with fear.”

Naomi Klein’s words certainly ring true during this unusual presidential race. Nothing brings out America’s hopes and fears like a hard-fought battle for the White House.

The 2016 election cycle — at times a clown show more than a presidential race — comes after a decade of war and fear mongering since 9/11.

It is no coincidence that, “in the age of Donald Trump,” the nation is witnessing extraordinary religious extremism and racism. And religious extremism fans the flames of the politics of fear.

Trump has fueled religious extremism on several occasions. Some of his most dangerous comments include “calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States,” claiming that Christianity itself is “under siege” and, just this month, claiming that president “Obama founded ISIS, literally.”

Tragically for us, Christian as well as Muslim extremists are picking up on his hate speech and mobilizing. It’s not a coincidence, therefore, that Trump enjoys the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan, or that his comments have been featured on an Al-Qaeda recruiting video.

But rather than blaming this election season’s hate speech entirely on the “Trump effect,” we need to ask deep, honest and introspective questions of ourselves: Why do some American’s flock toward this kind of religious extremism? Why don’t they reject it outright?

It’s easy for us to blame Trump, and even easier still to label him a racist or just plain ignorant. The truth is that Trump is the fruit, rotten and distasteful as it may be, of every election season since George W. Bush. The rise of Barack Hussein Obama, the U.S.’s first African-American president and whose father was a Kenyan Muslim, was enough to roil the racist sensibilities of many in the GOP to its very core.

The ensuing fight for the Republican Party’s survival depended on strengthening their right-wing, Christian, conservative credentials. So in the aftermath of 9/11 and the so-called “War on Terror,” the “Islamophobia industry” — as author Nathan Lean demonstrates — flourished. Conservative activists, donors, intellectuals, televangelists, media and politicians generated a multi-million dollar industry through anti-Muslim programming.

Nowhere was the “Islamophobia industry” more active than during the 2010 midterm election cycle. The “Ground Zero mosque” controversy, neither a mosque nor located on Ground Zero anyway, was made up out of thin air. And it became one in a series of protests blocking mosques from being built anywhere on U.S. soil.

The 2012 election cycle saw the peak of #CreepingSharia, another fearsome but hollow campaign aimed at maligning American Muslims. By 2015, hate crimes against American Muslims were five times higher than before 9/11.

Trump himself is not particularly religious, and there’s no indication he could tell the Bible from Moby Dick. So why does insulting Muslims or Mexicans resonate?

Religious extremism is a tool to harness the fears of working-class, older, white Americans — the political base of the GOP. It’s an audience that includes good, hardworking people, evangelicals, workers who lost factory jobs, families who sent their kids off to war, average people falling victim to alcoholism and suicide at higher rates, and a white America shrinking before a growing Spanish-speaking population.

Trump is banking on scaring enough votes out of them to land him in the White House, an increasingly unlikely prospect after Khizr Khan constitutional intervention at the DNC.

The U.S. is indebted to the Khan family, not just for their son’s sacrifice, but for potentially saving our republic from the politics of fear and persistent religious extremism.

Emran El-Badawi is the program director and associate professor of Middle Eastern studies. If you want to submit a guest column, please contact us at [email protected]


  • Bobocefus Jones

    Dr. Ran … come on now … you were as surprised as I was when Mr. Khan pulled out his pocket Constitution when he was being used by the Democrats at their convention.

    It’s was an AYAH that the pocket Constitution wasn’t confiscated by Democrat security officials when Mr. Khan walked into the hall, seeing as the U.S. Constitution gets in the way of all Progressive policies.

    I think you’re scared of Mr. Trump Dr. Ran, seeing your an AP doing a students work in this piece … you know that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is full of holes, and you can’t account for:

    – the Hidden Trump Voter,
    – the discouraged Progressive voter (hardcore Bernie supporters who won’t vote Hillary),
    – the Bradley Effect pertaining to Clinton (voters lying to pollsters so not to be seen as sexist),
    – Never Trumpers changing their minds about Donald,
    – the Armed Gay voter,
    – Hispanic voters (who do not want to compete for jobs with those who will benefit from a new amnesties policy),
    – Women who do not want a verified rapist First Husband,
    – etc.

    Undoubtedly, this is an important election … the victor gets to determine policy for a generation or more. If Clinton wins, the Supreme Court will most likely further erode our FREEDOMS via gun control and other impositions.

    If Trump wins, the country gets a second chance at improving our economy without a Progressive Jack-Boot of legislation and over-burdensome regulation pressed against our throats. Our foreign policy will improve due to a non-cowering US leadership..

    I look at consequence to action in everything Dr. Ran. That’s why I laugh at the gullible peoples who smile after buying electric cars. Why? What do those cars run on? The Progressive would say? Electricity. Well Yes. And what fuel is used to power the electrical generators? Hmm? COAL. Or MEAN-EVIL COAL as the Progressive would say.

    Now Hillary Clinton has told COAL MINERS to their faces that she will destroy their jobs. But she also will find new jobs for them, right after she settles 65,000 new un-vetted Syrian refugees with housing and jobs. That’s why Trump will win West Virginia.

    But if Clinton gets her wish of destroying the coal industry, undoubtedly the Wind and Solar industry, which generates about (5%) FIVE PERCENT of our countries energy, will have to pick up the pace and be our main and most expensive source of energy.

    And you would have to cover about (7) SEVEN of our smallest states, if not more, to even come close to generating our current electrical production. And how much more expensive is that going to be? Not to mention rolling blackouts. So the gullible electric vehicle owner will be left holding the bag, with expensive garage or driveway art.

    We are growing into a Balkanized country, and I fear for its future. America-haters to the left … American-lovers to the Right. Blacks here. Hispanics there. Michiganistanites here. Tree hungers there. Gays here. Transgenders there.

    And I have a beef with Transgenders. I don’t want one using the restroom next to my little girl, especially a perverted individual who only identifies as a Transgender to get close to a little girl.

    So what if the LGBTQIA gets there way with transgenders. What’s next? Man-Boy love acceptance? Muslim emergency-sex acceptance? Pervert-Little Girl acceptance? It’s not gonna stop, seeing after the LGBTQIAs got their rights, they immediately went to Transgenders and bathrooms to keep their movement alive.

    Deep down, I feel that El-Badawi only wants Clinton elected because she will extend lenient policies towards Muslim refugee and immigrant vetting and potential Radical Islamic terrorists. I mean, some CNN info-babe (who has a $500 haircut and $5 brain), said that ISIS wants Trump elected, which couldn’t be farther from the truth as I just explained, and Dr. Ran knows it.

    Islam and Black Lives Matter are gold to the Progressives. Radical Islamic Terrorists can kill 50 Gays, and their parents will be invited to Hillary Clinton campaign events.

    BLMers can riot and loot any store they want, and their is no call for Progressive condemnation of their actions. And I don’t think they will burn down suburban shops like that girl in Milwaukee call for. But she was right in that burning down Black shops hurts the Black communities effected. I know I wouldn’t rebuild if Blacks burnt me out. I’d relocated … to the suburbs.

    We certainly live in surreal times. We give terrorists an EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY to kill us. Transgenders … who need a therapist more than acceptance … are given Progressive credibility.

    And one last thing Dr. El-Badawi, whose persistent religious extremists … kills Americans?

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