Tuesday 8 November 2016, by Robert Paris
The nasty, nightmarish, reality show of the presidential elections finally ends on November 8th. This election presented the stark reality of the choices this system has to offer us. Around 60 percent of potential Democratic and Republican voters had unfavorable reactions to both candidates – small wonder! Two years of endless media coverage and billions of dollars wasted on campaigns of personal insults left us with the so-called “choice” of selecting the lesser evil. Trump’s campaign attacked, insulted and divided people with the pretense that a billionaire could represent the interests of working people. Clinton’s campaign was a continuation of the policies of the one percent at the expense of the majority.
At the local level we were confronted with multiple measures to vote on, almost all of which would end up having us pay more taxes for necessary services the government should already be providing. But it doesn’t because our tax dollars are channeled into subsidies to big business and developers for their money-making schemes.
Nowhere was there a real effort during the campaigns to look at the catastrophe this system has created – the multiple wars, the global poverty and global warming that threatens the very future of humanity. Why? Both parties protect big business – the weapons manufacturers, giant agribusiness, the oil and automobile companies and others.
These campaigns didn’t even begin to propose solutions to the real problems we face. The fact that many of us are working too many hours in understaffed jobs, while others work multiple part time jobs and still others have no jobs at all was ignored. They didn’t address the problem of the lack of affordable housing which is forcing so many of us to commute long hours from home to work or pushing others to live on the streets. They didn’t address the lack of adequate and affordable public transportation. They didn’t address the degradation of health care for healthcare workers and patients while the insurance companies raise rates and limit access to needed services.
These campaigns didn’t address the insecure future facing young people with cut backs in education, teacher lay offs and school closings, while for-profit charter schools expand. They didn’t address the problem of rising tuition and the huge increase of student debt. And what of the young people who aren’t in school, who live in the streets, or are in prison?
These campaigns did not address the continued racism and police violence against poor and working people, especially African Americans. They didn’t address the rampant violence against women. Or the conditions of life for people forced out of their countries because of poverty or violence and now live here in fear of deportation?
Why would we imagine any of these problems would be addressed by these campaigns? These campaigns are run by those whose sole goal is to guarantee the profits of the one percent, which translates to exploitation and oppression for the rest of us. Their elections will never be a vehicle for us to change our situation. Their system can never provide what we want, need and deserve. It is the source of the problems we face.
To change our situation will require us to organize and fight for what we want in our workplaces, our schools, and our neighborhoods. That is the only way people have won anything in the past. Working people produce all the wealth. We run all the services. And why couldn’t we run it in our own interests – in the interest of the majority?
Impossible? No! Difficult? Yes. But what is more difficult is watching our lives degrade each year and wondering what possibilities will exist for future generations. We can take the first steps by having confidence in ourselves and in others. From that point on the possibilities are limitless. As the old saying goes, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 234 shut down the six-day strike of nearly 5,000 Philadelphia transit workers Monday morning ordering strikers back to the job without any opportunity to vote or even see the details of the announced five-year package. The sabotage of the strike, which shut down the sixth largest transit system in the US, was aimed at bolstering the get-out-the-vote campaign for Hillary Clinton who faces a tight race today in the pivotal state of Pennsylvania.
Nothing could more clearly demonstrate the anti-working class alliance between the trade unions and the Democratic Party, which from Obama down to the municipal level has directed the attack on transit workers, teachers and other public sector workers’ jobs, living standards and health and pension benefits.
The state’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolfe, denounced the strike and backed a motion filed by the Democratic-controlled city government to break the strike on the grounds that it was denying citizens of the right to vote. In the end, however, officials relied on the union to smash the strike making Monday morning’s scheduled hearing on an injunction a moot point.
With trains, buses and trollies running again, Clinton held her final campaign rally at Independence Hall in Philadelphia Monday evening, along with former President Bill Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama.
Given the refusal to release any details it is possible that the TWU ended the strike without actually having a contract agreement in hand. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) shut down the 45-day strike by 40,000 Verizon telecom workers last spring claiming it had reached an agreement. Five months after the end of the strike Verizon workers have still not seen a formal contract.
The action of the TWU confirms the warning of the World Socialist Web Site, which wrote, “state and city officials have decided to postpone a direct legal confrontation with the strikers, fearing that it would only incite workers who might also defy a judge’s decision, and have instead relied on the Transport Workers Union and the other municipal unions to isolate the strike and try to wear down the resistance of workers.”
“We’re going to support Hillary Clinton,” TWU Local 234 President Willie Brown said before falsely claiming the election “didn’t really play a factor with me.”
The generally degraded state of American politics entered a new low this weekend. The entire media and political establishment was consumed with the scandal that erupted in the wake of the release of video of Republican candidate Donald Trump boasting in 2005 of his ability to use his position of wealth and celebrity to assault women with impunity.
Dozens of Republican office-holders and candidates have announced they will not vote for Trump or called for his replacement as the party’s nominee—a practical impossibility, given the widespread distribution of ballots for early, absentee or mail-in voting. Democrats jumped at the chance to denounce Trump. Media commentators, who never fail to cheer on every war launched by the American military, expressed their horrified indignation at Trump’s treatment of women.
As far as Trump’s comments are concerned, there was nothing that would surprise or shock any serious observer of the appalling decay in the political culture of the Republican Party and the capitalist two-party system as a whole. Trump in his persona embodies the backwardness of the American ruling class, a product of the sordid nexus of the New York City real estate market, Atlantic City casinos, Las Vegas and the entertainment industry.
More significant than the comments themselves are the uses to which they are being put. It is clear that a significant section of the ruling class has decided that a Trump presidency cannot be accepted. The scandal is a mechanism for fighting out differences while concealing any discussion of the extremely reactionary character of the Clinton campaign. The Democrats prefer to fight Trump on the most debased level, the politics of pornography.
Sex scandals have become a standard mechanism employed by the US ruling class to regulate its conflicts without alerting the great mass of the population to what the real issues are. Such methods have long been a feature of American politics—FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover notoriously kept folders full of such personal scandals in his desk, for use in blackmailing congressmen, executive branch officials and presidents.
There is little doubt that the video from the Access Hollywood program on NBC was located and set aside for use at a time when it would do the maximum damage, only 30 days before the election. There is also little doubt that if this particular salvo fails to finally sink the Trump campaign, more torpedoes are in the water.
In a speech delivered by Donald Trump to an audience of thousands in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Republican candidate turned his campaign in a more distinctly fascistic direction. Presenting himself as both the savior of America and the victim of a ruthless political and economic establishment, Trump sought to connect deep-seated social anger among masses of people with an “America First” program of anti-immigrant xenophobia, militarism, economic nationalism and authoritarianism.
Responding to the latest allegations of sexual abuse, Trump proclaimed that he is being targeted by international bankers, the corporate-controlled media and the political establishment who fear that his election will undermine their interests.
He offered as an alternative his own persona—the strong-man leader who is willing to bear the burden and make the sacrifices necessary for a pitiless struggle against such powerful adversaries. Trump warned that the November 8 election would be the last opportunity for the American people to defeat the powerful vested interests that are supporting Hillary Clinton.
The clear implication of the speech is that if Trump loses the election, the struggle against the political establishment will have to be carried forward by other means: in other words, by force and violence.
Unlike other Trump speeches, which have largely consisted of rambling and disconnected improvisations, the West Palm Beach address, followed several hours later by no less explosive remarks at a mass rally in Cincinnati, was carefully prepared. Trump read from a teleprompter, and the argument was delivered coherently.
There is little doubt that the speech was scripted for Trump by his campaign chairman, Stephen Bannon, on leave as CEO of the Breitbart.com web site, a gathering place for the so-called alt-right, an amalgam of ultra-right, white nationalist and neo-Nazi tendencies.
The fascistic character of the speech lies in its combination of an appeal to real social grievances—Trump referred explicitly to “the disenfranchisement of working people”—with racist, chauvinist and dictatorial solutions. This includes not only the demand for jailing Hillary Clinton, now a refrain of every speech, but his calls for his supporters to prevent a “rigged” election by blocking access to the polls for voters in “certain communities.”
Trump denounced the “global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”
He continued: “Just look at what this corrupt establishment has done to our cities like Detroit and Flint, Michigan—and rural towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and across our country. They have stripped these towns bare, and raided the wealth for themselves and taken away their jobs.”
The Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign have played a critical role in enabling Trump to advance his fascistic campaign. Throughout the primary campaign, Bernie Sanders drew larger and more enthusiastic crowds than Trump for his denunciations of Wall Street and the power and privilege of the “millionaires and billionaires.”
Once Sanders quit the race and threw his support to Clinton, the epitome of the political establishment, the Democrats created the conditions in which Trump can present himself as the sole opponent of the status quo. He is seeking to draw on the social anger that previously animated support for Sanders. Indeed, he has repeatedly denounced Clinton for the corrupt, backroom maneuvers aimed at undermining Sanders, which Sanders himself has worked to cover up as he campaigns for Clinton.
Trump’s claim to oppose the establishment on behalf of the working people is pure demagogy. He owes his own career as a billionaire real estate and casino mogul, media celebrity and presidential candidate to the very forces—the financial elite, the corporate media and the political establishment—that he now falsely claims to oppose.
But the Clinton campaign does not even attempt to respond to Trump’s social demagogy, because it is tied by a thousand threads to the corporate and Wall Street oligarchy. Clinton is running as the designated successor of Barack Obama, responsible for the largest transfer of wealth from working people to the financial elite in history.
CNN reported at about 2:45 AM Eastern Standard Time that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had made a concession call to her Republican opponent Donald Trump, acknowledging that the billionaire real estate mogul had won the presidential election in a stunning upset and debacle for the Democratic Party.
Trump’s victory was accompanied by a rout of the Democrats in the congressional races, with the Republicans retaining control of the Senate and suffering only a small reduction in their majority in the House of Representatives.
When the concession call came, vote counting was continuing in a handful of states, but Trump had effectively secured a victory in the Electoral College. According to television network projections, Trump had 244 electoral votes and was leading in states with enough electoral votes to give him the 270 required to win.
Some 45 minutes before the announcement of Clinton’s concession, the Hill web site reported that Trump had won Pennsylvania, one of the industrial states that had been chalked up by pollsters and the media as firmly in the Clinton column. The win in Pennsylvania brought Trump’s electoral vote total to 264.
Shortly thereafter, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told the gloomy crowd gathered at Clinton campaign headquarters in Manhattan that the candidate would not make an appearance until the morning.
The result came as a political shock, as pre-election polls and media commentators had almost unanimously predicted a Clinton victory by a relatively comfortable margin. Financial markets went into convulsions, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures market plunging 900 points in overnight trading. The NASDAQ market halted futures trading as prices fell through preset triggers.
According to network projections, Clinton was trailing by 1.2 million in the national popular vote. She could retake the lead in the popular vote after late vote counts in the Pacific Coast states, where she was winning by wide margins. It is the Electoral College, however, that determines the outcome of the presidential race.
When CNN announced Clinton’s concession, the networks had not yet called the major industrial states of Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, Michigan (16) and Wisconsin (10), as well as New Hampshire (4) and Arizona (11). There were two other undecided electoral votes, one each in Nebraska and Maine—states that award electoral votes by congressional district as well as statewide.
By 11 PM on Tuesday, Trump had won five of the closely-contested “battleground” states, including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa, while taking substantial leads in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona. Clinton won only Virginia, Colorado and Nevada, while taking a narrow lead in New Hampshire.
Trump carried every Southern state except Virginia, which he lost narrowly, as well as the less populated states of the Great Plains and Mountain West, except for Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. He also won Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa in the Midwest, and took leads in Wisconsin and Michigan, while Clinton won only Illinois and Minnesota outright.
In the Midwest and Pennsylvania, Trump broke through in previously Democratic strongholds in the presidential race by combining large majorities in traditionally Republican rural areas with victories in smaller industrial cities that had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. These included Eau Claire and La Crosse in Wisconsin; Saginaw, Bay City and Battle Creek in Michigan; Erie, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania.
Fueling Trump’s lead in the polls was a further shift by whites without a college education—characterized as “working-class whites” by the media, although many workers have a college degree—against the Democratic Party. While 40 percent of this demographic voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and he won a majority on their votes outside the South, only 27 percent voted for Hillary Clinton.
This reflects both the impact of the financial crash and the pro-corporate policies of the Obama administration on the jobs and living standards of the poorest sections of white workers, and the complete indifference of the Democratic Party to the plight of the working class as a whole. The Clinton campaign sought to mobilize voter turnout among black and other minority workers on the basis of identity politics, while offering no policies to benefit workers as a class.
Voter turnout was at record levels in many states—Florida alone saw one million more votes cast than in 2012—and there were long lines at polling places both in urban centers and in rural areas.
In the contest for control of the US Senate, where the Republican Party was widely expected to lose its 54–46 majority because 24 Republican seats were at stake compared to only 10 Democratic seats, the Democratic debacle was as pronounced as in the presidential race. As of this writing, only one Democratic challenger, Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, had ousted a Republican incumbent.
The networks confirmed that the Republicans would retain at least 51 seats in the Senate, guaranteeing their continued control of the upper legislative chamber. This puts a Trump administration in a position to determine the successor on the US Supreme Court to Antonin Scalia, the ideological leader of the far-right faction on the court who died earlier this year.
The victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election is a political earthquake that has exposed before the entire world the terminal crisis of American democracy. Such is the degeneration of bourgeois rule that it has elevated an obscene charlatan and billionaire demagogue to the highest office in the land.
Whatever conciliatory phrases he may issue in the coming days, a president Trump will lead a government of class war, national chauvinism, militarism and police state violence. In addition to the executive branch, all the major political institutions in the United States—including both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court—will be in the hands of the far right.
Under Trump, America will not be made “great again.” It will be driven into the dirt.
Media commentators, none of whom foresaw this outcome, fell back on now routine explanations focused on the voting patterns of various racial and identity groups. They all ignored the fact that the election became a referendum on the devastating social crisis and decay in the United States, which Trump was able to channel and direct to the right.
Behind all of this was the central ideological role of identity politics and the systematic effort to conceal the real social divisions within society. The relentless and obsessive focus on race and gender over the past four decades has been used to give the Democratic Party a left cover for a thoroughly right-wing political agenda at home and abroad. At the same time, it articulates the interests of the most privileged sections of the upper-middle class.
The notion that the basic divisions in society are along the lines of race and gender is not only politically reactionary, it is fundamentally false. The Democrats and Clinton were hoisted on their own petard. They not only lost in regions that are predominantly poor and white, but also suffered from a decline in voter turnout in majority black regions, as African-American workers and youth saw no reason to back the candidate of the status quo.
The coming period will be one of shock, outrage and increasingly bitter struggles. It will not take long for workers, including those who voted for him, to realize what they have in a President Trump. At the same time, the explosive divisions within the state apparatus expressed in the election will emerge in new and more violent forms.
Over the past weeks, the public has heard audio of Trump saying some of his most disgusting comments about women. He brags about kissing women without permission, and how he likes to walk up to them and “grab them by the p—y”, how he can “do anything” to them because he is famous. In Trump’s sick world women are nothing but objects, things that only have value based on how physically attractive he thinks they are.
Trump’s comments have been called “locker room talk,” just “boys being boys,” but there is no justification for these sorts of views. And in reality, Trump’s disgusting and offensive views of women are not unique at all, but reflect the violent rape culture that is far too normal in this society.
The reality is that sexual violence in this country happens all the time. Most often it occurs as domestic violence, as murders and beatings of women by their male partners. The leading cause of death for pregnant women in the U.S. is being murdered by their partners. More than 1,000 women are killed per year by their male partners.
But even more often, women survive the violence, battered and beaten with the scars lasting a lifetime. The number one cause of injury to women in the U.S. is being brutalized by men. Every nine seconds a woman is beaten in this country, and every six minutes a woman is raped. One in five women are raped in their lifetime. And in 31 states, rapists who impregnate their victims still have rights as parents.
Many women never even report the violence that is perpetrated against them because far too often nothing is done about it. Often the police don’t follow up with an investigation. The courts often don’t do anything or issue slaps on the wrists. Recently a Stanford student was sentenced to only three months for raping an unconscious female student. Cases like this are far too common.
It is clear that we live in a male-dominated society that values the lives of men more than the lives of women, a society that accepts and even encourages violence against women. The main images we see of women in this society are as sexual objects, as things for men’s pleasure. On billboards, in magazines, in commercials, in TV shows and movies – women’s mostly naked bodies are used to sell everything. Advertising companies, fashion companies, and more use women’s bodies for profit similar to how a pimp uses a woman to sell sex. And it is not surprising that men believe these messages they get daily from our society, and view women in this way.
At the same time, women face additional discrimination in many areas. Women earn only 83 percent of what men earn. Women do the vast majority of the childcare, elderly care and housework, almost all of which is unpaid.
Donald Trump pretends he is anti-establishment and an outsider to Washington politics. Really? A billionaire businessman who brags about profiting from the crisis of 2008 that hurt so many ordinary people? His sexist and disgusting attitudes towards women have been revealed for all to see. His racist and anti-immigrant message plays on people’s prejudices, especially white workers. He encourages them to blame other workers for their problems rather than the 1% like him, who profit from this system. He must really think we are stupid not to see through his game.
The only time workers have expressed ourselves in the elections is when the candidates who ran were workers themselves, people who were linked to struggles and used the elections to express what workers wanted to say. For example, Eugene Debs, a railroad worker, ran for president in 1912. Then workers could vote for someone who had led strikes and struggles and who stood on the side of working people. He was a leader of the Socialist Party, which had over a 100,000 members, and he got almost one million votes. This is what we need today – a party of fighters of the working class.
We don’t have a party like this now, or even the beginnings of one. Only in a few places are worker candidates even running for office. It is important to remember that the movements of the 1930s and 1960s began with small struggles, and grew to a huge wave of actions. This is possible today. Workers make up the majority of the society. We are the ones who produce all the goods, provide all the services and make the society run. We have every right and every reason to have our own political party.
In the days following the victory of Donald Trump in the presidential election, the Democratic Party and media have attributed the results to the ignorance, backwardness and inherent racism and sexism of the “white working class.”
“Why Trump Won: Working Class Whites,” read the headline of a Wednesday article in the New York Times. Columnist Charles Blow wrote in Thursday’s Times op-ed page: “I can only assume that President Donald Trump will be a bigot. It is absolutely possible that America didn’t elect him in spite of that, but because of it.”
The so-called “left” press has advanced the same racialist narrative: The Nation’s Monica Potts noted with hateful sarcasm, “This election season has seen no shortage of tender, worried portraits of the white working class and its economic grievances…”
Potts explains Trump’s victory in terms of identity, race, and gender. The working class in rural communities “make[s] more money than their poor neighbors,” she writes. “They think they work hard, and they think other people—their neighbors, immigrants, the African Americans in ‘inner cities’—do not… While they could be doing better and surely struggle, it is their cultural identity that is important in this election… This wasn’t about anguish. It was about identity.”
This identity-based presentation of Tuesday’s election is a false narrative exploded by the most basic analysis of the data from the election.
The most significant statistic from 2016’s election is the massive drop in support for both the Democratic and Republican candidates. While uncounted votes from California may slightly alter these figures, Hillary Clinton received about ten million fewer votes than Barack Obama did eight years ago. Trump, who lost the popular vote while winning the electoral vote, received the least votes of any candidate from either party since 2000. These figures are even more striking because of a drastic increase in the population of eligible voters: 18 million since 2008.
Far larger in number than the vote for either candidate are the 99 million eligible voters who abstained from the 2016 election or voted for a third party. This is a measure of social discontent and not of apathy. In other words, while Clinton and Trump received the vote of 26.6 and 25.9 percent of eligible voters, 43.2 percent chose neither.
As a percentage of votes cast, all racial groups swung toward the Republican candidate in 2016 compared to 2012. However, white voters showed the lowest swing to the Republicans (1 percentage point), compared with African-Americans (7 percentage points), Latinos (8 percentage points), and Asian-Americans (11 percentage points).
These shifts, which occurred within the broader framework of abstention, were driven largely by economic issues. Fifty-two percent of voters said that the economy was the most important issue in the election, far above the second most important issue at 18 percent. Racial and gender issues did not register, while sixty-eight percent of voters said their financial situation was the same or worse than it was four years ago. Thirty-nine percent said they were looking for a candidate who “can bring change,” and of these, 83 percent voted for Trump. This equals roughly 40 million votes, or two thirds of Trump’s total.
Another indication that Trump was seen as the “change” candidate against the status quo is the fact that, of the 18 percent of voters who said they disliked both candidates, Trump won 49 percent to Clinton’s 29 percent. Fourteen percent said neither had the right temperament to be president, with Trump defeating Clinton 71 percent to 17 percent in this group. Remarkably, 57 percent of voters said they would be concerned or scared by a Trump presidency, but Trump still won 14 percent of these voters. These figures indicate the depth of the hatred that exists for the political establishment.
The elections saw a massive shift in party support among the poorest and wealthiest voters. The share of votes for the Republicans amongst the most impoverished section of workers, those with family incomes under $30,000, increased by 10 percentage points from 2012. In several key Midwestern states, the swing of the poorest voters toward Trump was even larger: Wisconsin (17-point swing), Iowa (20 points), Indiana (19 points) and Pennsylvania (18 points).
The swing to Republicans among the $30,000 to $50,000 family income range was 6 percentage points. Those with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 swung away from the Republicans compared to 2012 by 2 points.
The affluent and rich voted for Clinton by a much broader margin than they had voted for the Democratic candidate in 2012. Among those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000, Clinton benefited from a 9-point Democratic swing. Voters with family incomes above $250,000 swung toward Clinton by 11 percentage points. The number of Democratic voters amongst the wealthiest voting block increased from 2.16 million in 2012 to 3.46 million in 2016—a jump of 60 percent.
Clinton was unable to make up for the vote decline among women (2.1 million), African Americans (3.2 million), and youth (1.2 million), who came overwhelmingly from the poor and working class, with the increase among the rich (1.3 million).
Clinton’s electoral defeat is bound up with the nature of the Democratic Party, an alliance of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus with privileged sections of the upper-middle class based on the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation. Over the course of the last forty years, the Democratic Party has abandoned all pretenses of social reform, a process escalated under Obama. Working with the Republican Party and the trade unions, it is responsible for enacting social policies that have impoverished vast sections of the working class, regardless of race or gender.
The present political juncture presents real dangers for the American and international working class. The Trump administration will be the most reactionary in American history. At the same time, the election of Donald Trump heralds a period of renewed, explosive social convulsions.
Trump’s administration will be the most right-wing in US history. Its real character has already been indicated by Trump’s reiteration of plans to ban abortions and carry out the mass deportation of immigrants, and by the appointment of Stephen Bannon, who has direct ties to white supremacist and neo-fascist groups, as his chief strategist. Trump will intensify the class war at home and the US military-strategic offensive against its rivals abroad, posing immense dangers before the American and international working class.
As demonstrated by his anti-China remarks during the election campaign, Trump will escalate Washington’s war preparations against Beijing, raising the possibility of a military conflict between these two nuclear-armed powers. India will be further encouraged by Trump’s threats of a tougher stance against China and Pakistan, which will intensify the already explosive geo-political tensions in the region.
In the wake of a television appearance in which a Trump campaign activist said that a registry of Muslim visitors to the United States could be justified under the “precedent” set by the mass internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, a leader of the Trump transition team has revealed that a formal proposal for such a registry is under discussion.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, co-leader of the transition team’s group working on immigration, said that the advisory panel was considering presenting Trump with a formal proposal for a national registry of immigrants and visitors from predominantly Muslim countries. Kobach designed a similar program after the 9/11 attacks while he was an official in the Bush administration’s Department of Justice.
The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) designated numerous countries as “higher risk” and required visitors from these countries to be fingerprinted, interrogated and, in some cases, report to the authorities on a regular basis. The program was suspended in 2011 without having identified a single terrorist, although a total of 94,000 people were subject to it.
The Muslim registry plan came to widespread attention after a spokesman for a pro-Trump Political Action Committee told Fox News Wednesday that the incoming Trump administration could use the Japanese internment program as a precedent, because it had been upheld by the US Supreme Court in its notorious Korematsu decision, which has never been overturned.
In an interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL and spokesman for the Great America PAC said that the plan to register all Muslim visitors to the United States was legal and would “hold constitutional muster.”
“We’ve done it with Iran back awhile ago. We did it during World War II with the Japanese,” he said.