Economics writer David Cay Johnson is a long-time Donald Trump watcher and in an interview on Democracy Now! says that there are a whole lot of unsavory elements in the way that he has done business, using undocumented labor, kickbacks, union-busting, tax-avoidance, corporate welfare, and others. Johnson lists 21 questions that should be asked of him.
Johnson says that if anyone seriously wanted to get him out of the race, they could force attention on these issues and demand explanations from him. Of course, he will refuse to answer and dodge the issues the way he always does but his campaign could be distracted.
And what I don’t understand, Amy, is not one major news organization has even tried to check these things out. I got one phone call from The Washington Post about this piece, “21 Questions for Donald Trump.” Nothing has appeared. And that’s because, in this country, politics reporters cover the horse race, and they do not vet the candidates the way they should. And Trump, if vetted properly, would quickly disappear from the polls.
I disagree with Johnson here. Even if he is vetted properly by the media, his followers will not desert him. But even the vetting won’t happen because his business practices are not that unusual among all the wealthy people who are the backers of the political-media elites, and these people in glass houses are unlikely to want to focus too much attention on the unsavory underworld of business dealings. Look at how Trump’s remarkable statement at the first debate about how he has personally bought the support of politicians, some of them on the stage with him, disappeared with little trace.
Johnson is right that Trump is appealing to the dark underside of people’s feelings in the US.
He is appealing to the worst instincts in us. He is appealing to racial instincts. And, you know, let’s recognize that, well, in polite society, you can’t say, “I don’t want to sit next to a black person or a brown person or an Asian person on the airplane or in a restaurant or at work.” You can’t say that. And so, there’s an undercurrent of people who hate that. They want to live in a white society. They want to imagine this is a Christian country, even though the Constitution expressly in Article VI makes clear it’s not a religious country in any way. And Donald has provided a way for those people who harbor these bad thoughts, I would argue, they harbor these inhumane thoughts, to channel them through him.
And they are so enamored of this, they ignore the fact that he is proposing to create a massive police state, to round up people, to have a—we were required to have adjudicatory hearings, although Donald likes to think he would be dictator—and spend enormous amounts of money on removing people from the country, including children born here who are citizens, and erecting a wall, which will do absolutely nothing to stop people coming here in an effort to find a better life. So, people who harbor these awful feelings and suffer from the social disease of white skin privilege just aren’t really thinking through what Donald is proposing, which is a massive new government program that’s totally contrary to the Republican promise of less government.
This is the man that is leading the race for the Republican nomination.