Presidential Campaign

Trump vs. Mexico

“The Mexicans are coming, the Mexicans are coming!” was Ross Perot’s shout in the crowded political theater of 1992. Basically, that is what I heard on Tuesday while watching Donald Trump announce his candidacy for president.

He is going to build a huge wall on the southern border and make “Mexico pay for it.” That is because, he states, he is the toughest negotiator in the world.

Mexico’s twofold crimes, according to Trump: It has stolen manufacturing jobs from the U.S. since NAFTA went into effect in 1994 and Mexico is where the Detroit-based Ford Motor Company has decided to build a new factory to produce cars.

{mosads}How dare a private American company decide to build a factory outside the United States!

Trump says he will call Ford and tell it that it can’t build in Mexico. Never mind that Ford de Mexico has numerous plants in Mexico and has been manufacturing there since the 1920s for the local and export markets of Central and South America.

He says he will make Mexico pay for a wall on the entire 2,000-mile border and make them pay for it with their own money, or else.

There are people in the U.S. like Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan and Perot who welcome that kind of talk. Their bile against Mexico overflowed in the NAFTA debate in 1993. They lost the argument then and 14 million new jobs were created in the U.S. in the first six years of NAFTA, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Certainly not all new jobs created then were from NAFTA activities, but some were, even as some jobs were lost, although jobs are lost every day with or without NAFTA.

As important as jobs we can see and touch are, what about the jobs created by the people, say, in the 50,000 cars per day that cross the busiest border crossing in the world between Tijuana, Mexico into San Diego? Those people, according to the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, spend $2.5 billion in San Diego at Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, restaurants, ice rinks, innumerable shopping malls, and at doctors’ and dentists’ offices, etc.

How about the millions of gallons in gasoline and diesel (including taxes) for the 600,000 trucks a year that cross through the commercial gate on the border from Tijuana to deliver goods, fill up their tanks and fill up with cargos of American goods for the Mexican market?

Trump’s wall would shut all that down and throw thousands of Americans out of work. What would happen to the 250,000 Americans who live and work in Mexico’s Baja California and commute back and forth, from San Diego? They would become Trump hostages in Mexico.

Mexico would become a Trump hostage — Mexico, with more than 100 million citizens.

Ford, the only American car company that didn’t go bust and didn’t need a bailout, would become a Trump hostage.

Worse, Trump shows us that he is nothing but a below-the-surface fascist who would order private companies what they could or could not do. That is not free enterprise.

Perot told us all that the “giant sucking sound” we heard was Mexico stealing American jobs under the (then-proposed) NAFTA.

He fed the paranoia of Mexico haters to the extent that when Mexico needed a $500 million emergency loan, Perot and allies like Buchanan blew enough fuses that Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) couldn’t round up enough votes in the Republican Congress to approve a loan. A loan was made with executive department funds that Mexico paid back early with a substantial profit to the U.S. Treasury.

Perot’s company is now run by his son; he moved much of its operations to Mexico. We can suppose that Trump would order Perot Jr. to return the company if elected.

Trump’s wall would shut out America’s third-largest trading partner; cut off Light Maya Crude oil, the best oil in the world; keep American oil companies from working in Mexico; cut off Mexicans who fought side by side with us in World War II; insult and demean the almost 30 million Americans with Mexican roots; and insult the hundreds of thousands upon hundreds of thousands of them who have worn or do wear U.S. Army and Marine uniforms and have produced over 20 Medal of Honor awardees.

We cannot empower anyone like Trump in our political system. Trump gives Democratic Mexican-Americans every excuse they need to reregister as Republican. Free-enterprise Republicans need to show Trump and his deeply rooted fascistic tendencies out of the party of President Lincoln.

Contreras formerly was syndicated by Creators Syndicate and wrote for the New American News Service of The New York Times.

Tags 2016 presidential campaign 2016 Republican primary Donald Trump Ford Motor Company Free trade Immigration Jobs Mexico Nafta Pat Buchanan Ross Perot Trade trade agreement

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