Racism and xenophobia are always lurking under the surface in American life and politics. And when times get tough, more and more people will cling to the ugliness that is bigotry, and politicians will try to caress the anxiety that slithers along this dark underbelly of America.
Matthew Yglesias explains why xenophobia is coming to the forefront of American life and politics this summer – it’s more than that we have the first black president.
Politics always seems to get a bit off-kilter when the temperature goes up. But instead of the familiar silly-season stuff of years past — made-up scandals and who-cares gossip — the past two summers have been filled with vitriol. Last year we had town halls gone wild, fueled by the threat of death panels pulling the plug on Grandma. This year, us-vs.-them controversies are proliferating, linked by a surge in xenophobia. This is our summer of fear.