President Donald Trump has twisted prejudices to create a fiction. He has presented Mexico as the great ogre; he has accused its migrants of being criminals; and he has promised a wall. But it is a construction built on myth. The current number of undocumented immigrants (11.3 million) is lower than in preceding periods, and in the last five years, the number of Mexicans returning to their country has been greater than those coming into the United States. Moreover, according to the Pew Research Center, Asia has already replaced Latin America as the main source of migration.
These are the facts. But Trump does not work with facts. In the creation of an external enemy, this Republican has preferred to rely on a more volatile component: fear. As Larry Sabato, political scientist from the University of Virginia explains, "His electoral base is predominantly white. Above all, they are workers who have seen their situation deteriorate. The president gives them scapegoats, normally in the form of immigrants and Mexicans.”*
In this way, Trump has played upon the profound transformation his country has experienced. In the last half-century, 59 million migrants have arrived in the United States. Presently, 14 percent of the population was born outside the country. This is three times the amount compared to 1965; and for the first time in history, non-Hispanic whites have ceased to be the majority in children under the age of 10. This phenomenon appears unstoppable. Already, California, Texas, Nevada, Hawaii and New Mexico are states that have multi-ethnic majorities; and, by the middle of this century, this will inevitably be the case across the entire country.
The level of diversity is much higher in cities than in rural areas: In the former, 58 percent of the population is white compared to 78 percent in the latter. It is in these non-metropolitan areas with an aging environment that white resistance − the great supplier of Trump's votes − has grown. "Many older people were educated in a country with less ethnic diversity where the principal minority was made up of segregated African Americans,” explains William Frey, a demographer from the Brookings Institution and author of the essay “Diversity Explosion.” “These people have seen their world change and they have become poorer. With his call to restore the greatness of America, Trump appeals to them.”*
The rural white population’s support has become a deadly electoral weapon. For example, in Pennsylvania, one of the small states that determined the outcome of the last election, the rural population, while making up only 12 percent of the inhabitants, gave the Republicans a margin of 287,000 votes over Hillary Clinton; much more than the advantage obtained by the Democrats in the cities (243,000 votes). The president is not willing to let go of this lever at any price.
Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, these quotes could not be verified.