Blame Trump or blame Schumer? That’s not the point: Our politics are contaminated by a history of vicious racism

Last weekend as the federal government was barreling towards a shutdown, Donald Trump sent off a series of emails to his supporters claiming that the Democrats were to blame because they supposedly cared more about protecting “illegal aliens” than about the American people.

President Trump is right: Build the wall. Deport criminals. Stop illegal immigration now. Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.

Of course, none of Donald Trump’s and the Republican Party’s claims about “illegal immigrants” and crime are true. As a group, immigrants in American commit less crime than the general public. Undocumented immigrants also commit less crime than almost any other demographic group in the country. As a whole, immigrants to America — documented and otherwise — are a net cultural, social and economic gain for the country.

Trump and the Republicans’ attempts to connect Democratic support for the “Dreamers” — people brought to America as children, who have known no other country as their home — with murder and gang violence is one more example of how the American right has sought to incite violence against any groups or individuals it perceives as political enemies.

In total, Republican lies about the recent (and short-lived) government shutdown should reminder of the enduring power that white identity politics still possesses — often in surprising ways — in America.

White identity politics is a social and political force that harms sick children, threatens to ruin the lives of people who have contributed to American society for…