Wednesday 7 December 2016

Peter Casey: Brand Trump - making America scared again

Few on this side of the Atlantic realise how widely the views of the Republican Party front-runner resonate with ordinary Americans, writes Peter Casey

Peter Casey

Published 27/12/2015 | 02:30

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a presidential debate. Photo: AFP/Getty
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a presidential debate. Photo: AFP/Getty

Earlier this month, when Donald Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States", the reaction around the world was a mixture of disgust and disbelief. Many observers outside the US considered the comment one more ridiculous rant by a misogynistic, bigoted self-publicist.

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What is truly frightening and largely unappreciated outside America is how much Trump's rabble-rousing resonates with ordinary Americans, especially Republican voters, and how it may not be so entirely out of line with the practice on the ground.

If you don't believe me ask Mohammad Tariq Mahmood, a British gym-owner who paid for his family, including nine children, to travel to Disneyland. Mohammad and his family were authorised to fly only to be stopped last week at the last minute in Gatwick by US officials and told to go home and unpack their bags. No explanation was given for the refusal, leaving most to assume that were the family not Muslim they would even now be waiting in a three-hour queue to have their picture taken with a man in a mouse suit.

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