Trump prefers leaning on voters’ fears by inventing facts and revising history using intentionally divisive rhetoric to justify his divisive policy, the most notable of which being his plans for a southern border wall to keep out those lurking to the south of the USA’s border with Mexico. The Washington Post reported that in his first 601 days in office, Trump has lied or made misleading statements 5,000 times. He’s showing no signs of slowing down and used his televised speech to demand his border wall. He did this without justification. The fears he is preying on of illegal aliens flooding across the border lack any kind of substance in reality. There is no national crisis and no terrorist war is being waged on American soil. The same rhetoric which inspired his core base which has largely stood firm with him despite his numerous failings as President as they have stomached lies that these failings are down to a liberal elitist agenda aimed at keeping working Americans poor and preventing Trump from doing what he wants. This core, however, is being chipped away as his lies are being exposed one at a time.
He has worked to create enemies within and without. The Democrats, Hispanics, the press and anyone who criticises him. His border wall is an attempt to create a tangible solution to the ‘crises of these enemies of the average working American. There is, of course, no crisis. The number of immigrants illegally crossing the border is nowhere near what it was in 2000 when it was 1.6 million. It was a little over 300,000 in 2016, no doubt a problem but by no means a crisis. In fact, even if those numbers had remained the same there is no evidence that it would be a crisis. Illegal immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans and legal immigrants at lower rates still. All research indicates the contrary of what Trump would have us think, the gap between how many crimes immigrants commit compared to native-born Americans is widening and has been for decades. Immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, know that if they do break the law they will be deported out of the country.
A wall would do little to solve the issue anyway as, according to the Department for Homeland Security, the largest category of illegal immigrants is those whose visas have expired, this category making up over 600,000 people, rendering a wall largely ineffectual.
As for the drug trade which goes through the American-Mexican border, a wall would again do little to solve the problem as 90% of it goes through legal points of entry according to the US government. The best way to solve these issues, quite the converse of a divisive wall is to improve trade-relations with Mexico so there would be less desire for people to illegally cross sovereign borders as they would be more able to survive and thrive in their own country. As for drugs, the best way to solve the issue is to legalise and regulate them; a government-regulated drug trade would increase employment, reduce the risk of drugs, increase tax revenue and reduce incarceration rates.
When it comes to terrorism, the CATO institute reported that from 1975 to 2017, only seven people who entered the US illegally from states tied to terrorism were convicted of planning terrorist attacks.
Trump is attempting to hold onto power the same way he gained it, by creating a crisis and preying on the fears resulting from it, but as the fact-checkers keep on going, so too will the core of Trump’s support continue to chip away.