A Closer Look at Trump Supporters

Trumpland

Fusion (2016)

Film Review

This documentary, filmed a month before the 2016 election, explores the life circumstances of a cross section of Trump supporters, referred to by Hillary Clinton as “deplorables.”

Commonalities shared by this demographic are

  • recent personal or family experience with job loss, bankruptcy or foreclosure.
  • strong feelings about Wall Street outsourcing manufacturing jobs to third world countries.
  • strong feelings about US politics being a “crooked” system set up to destroy the middle class.
  • strong opposition to their perceived corporate control of the two major political parties.
  • a perception that Trump, unlike other politicians, “can’t be bought.”

When answering filmmakers’ questions about Trump’s perceived racism and xenophobia, their replies vary. Some (especially women) feel that Black Lives Matter activists have a point about the abysmal way Black people are treated in the US. Others claim that Black people (and women) are demanding special privileges not enjoyed by white men.

Most deny that Trump is racist, claiming he only wants to prevent terrorist attacks by banning immigrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. They agree with his proposed wall because they believe his claims that most illegal Mexican immigrants are drug dealers and rapists. This flies in the face of research indicating undocumented immigrants (who are loathe to draw attention to themselves) commit far fewer crimes than either legal immigrants or native born Americans.

Will Trump Cause the Downfall of the Republican Party?

Excellent talk by NPR correspondent Mara Liasson outlining how Donald Trump’s candidacy threatens to put the Republican Party out of business. A pity she never speaks this frankly on public radio.

She explores the efforts by the Wall Street based Republican leadership to woo blue collar voters (based on social issues such as abortion, immigration, etc) without addressing their economic needs – how this has backfired with Trump’s presidential candidacy.

 

Mexicans Tackle Trump Over Migrant Row

Bittersweet Harvest: Mexicans Tackle Trump Over Migrant Row

SBS (2015)

Film Review

Bittersweet Harvest is an Australian documentary about a special training camp for Spanish-speaking labor activists who organize immigrant farm workers in the US. It takes its title from a ludicrous claim Donald Trump made accusing Mexican immigrants of being druggies, criminals and rapists. The film profiles two “undocumented” student organizers who, based on stellar academic achievement, have won university scholarships.

As the film ably documents, American’s $400 billion agriculture industry would collapse without the one million immigrant workers who comprise the bulk of its labor force. Americans don’t want these jobs: the living and working conditions are too obscene and the pay too meager. Ironically the substitution of immigrant labor for black slaves has enabled the southern US to maintain the plantation system it developed prior to the Civil War.

Following the trainee activists as they visit farm worker camps, the filmmakers raise thorny questions, such as why neither federal nor state governments enforce basic labor laws, eg child labor, minimum wage and occupational safety laws (limiting exposure to cancer causing pesticides like Roundup and green tobacco sickness).

The film effectively highlights the total hypocrisy of politicians like Trump who use the immigration crisis to score political points. The federal government could shut down illegal immigration tomorrow by a) prosecuting the agro-businesses that employ undocumented immigrants or b) requiring them to pay minimum wage and provide safe living and working conditions. Clearly our elected officials have no interest in doing either: the current system allows Food Inc to reap immense profits at the expense of the illegal labor they exploit.