Hatred is a human impulse that Trump wields as a political tool

Hatred is a human impulse that Trump wields as a political tool
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa MORE paid a somber visit to Pittsburgh yesterday. He lit candles and laid stones on 11 Star of David markers memorializing those murdered in the Tree of Life Synagogue last Saturday. Is this a turning point? Has the shooting shocked him into sobriety? No.

We’ve seen this before. He cuts into the fabric of American life with sharp, incendiary invective, then offers the thin bandage of a TelePrompTer speech. Like a ventriloquist’s dummy, he mouths words while winking to his real audience, as if letting them into his little joke. As if conveying, “They’re making me say this.”

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The joke’s on us. This is uncharted territory. We’ve seen it reflected in ugly moments in our history. But this is different. Anti-Semitism isn’t new in this country. A president whose invective seems to summon and inspire anti-Semites is.

Racism isn’t a Trump phenomenon. A movement built around white nationalism, coached and coaxed by a president, is. Bigotry against the LGBT community isn’t new. A president singling out transgender Americans for isolation and second-class citizenship is.

We’ve had violence and hatred and bigotry in our history. Up to now, responsible presidents have sought to heal the wounds. This one likes pouring salt in them. This one thinks you can fan the flames of hatred, then blame the press for reporting on the burning.

We have reached the dangerous nexus of discrimination and desperation. We have a president who is about to lose his majority in the House, desperate to control the narrative, and seeking to energize his base to mitigate the loss.

How desperate? Remember the canard that we must fight the terrorists over there, so we don’t have to fight them here? We now have a president who wants to fight migrants here instead of containing them there.

He’s willfully misusing our military by sending 5,200 troops to the border against a faux invasion in, to coin a phrase, “the mother of all political stunts.” In his TV mind, soldiers are props, extras to be stage-managed on a “Made for Fox News” spectacle. He couldn’t get his military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Now he’ll get it in Laredo.

The deployment, by the way, is an open admission that his foreign policies have failed catastrophically. He’s been unable to work with foreign governments to control the conditions that spark caravans, so he’ll let refugees walk all over his failed foreign policy and meet them at the border, at the high noon just before the midterm elections.

He’s so desperate that in the wake of the deaths of 11 Jews in their synagogue, he blew another dog-whistle, this one on Monday against a free press which he called “the enemy of the people.” Because egging on one failed pipe bomber wasn’t enough. Now he’ll test the willingness of another maniac to strike next.

Next week, we’ll commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the attacks against synagogues and the murders of Jews in Germany and Austria. For the American Jewish community, this was a grotesque part of history. Now, it’s a headline in Pittsburgh. To be clear, the attacks in Nazi Germany were orchestrated by the government. The President certainly isn’t orchestrating today’s attacks. But he’s definitely in the orchestra that’s playing an old and familiar tune; playing it louder than any American President ever has.

That’s what makes this so different and dangerous. And if you don’t send a message by voting in the midterm election on Tuesday, or by supporting a primary opponent to Trump if you’re a Republican, or a Democratic opponent if you’re a Democrat, it’s going to get unimaginably worse. Then it will be on you.

Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelElection Countdown: Hyde-Smith's 'public hanging' joke shakes up Mississippi runoff | New lawsuits in Florida | Trump wants Florida election official fired | Mia Love sues to stop Utah vote count | Republican MacArthur loses NJ House race The most important runoff election is one you probably never heard of The Hill's Morning Report — Trump heads to Paris as attorney general controversy intensifies MORE represented New York in Congress for 16 years. He served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2011 to 2015. He is a novelist whose latest book is “Big Guns.” You can follow him on Twitter @RepSteveIsrael and on Facebook @RepSteveIsrael.