'Much of Trump’s Racist and Populist Thinking Comes Straight From John McCain'

© AP Photo / Kevin HagenSen. John McCain, R-Ariz., listens as Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham speaks defending McCain's military record during a town hall meeting at the 3 West Club to launch Graham's “No Nukes for Iran” tour Monday, July 20, 2015, in New York
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., listens as Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham speaks defending McCain's military record during a town hall meeting at the 3 West Club to launch Graham's “No Nukes for Iran” tour Monday, July 20, 2015, in New York - Sputnik International
The Arizona Republican electorate voted in a primary election for its US Senate representative on Tuesday, choosing Senator John McCain. In this run-up to the election, McCain was portrayed by mainstream media as a moderate candidate, despite his record as a far-right hawk.

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Radio Sputnik’s Brian Becker discussed with Margaret Stevens, on the advisory board of Veterans for Peace and history professor at Essex County College, and Ben Becker, co-editor of Liberation News, how the current political environment makes John McCain appear moderate.

Both guests on the Loud & Clear program agreed that the idea that McCain, a “chief war hawk,” who is also an “anti-abortion crusader who opposed Martin Luther King Jr. Day” as a national holiday, could be termed to be a “moderate” is “laughable” and could be accurate only within the concept of relativism.

“He has been hailed in this country as a hero, but he always has been a war criminal,” Stevens remarked, saying that insight into McCain’s origins and early years are necessary to understand what sort of a politician he is.

McCain comes from a military family, and many of his antecedents participated in several of the colonial wars made popular in 20th and 19th century America, Ben Becker stated.


In Vietnam, the Arizona Senator was a naval aviator who volunteered to shell civil populations, Stevens claimed. The results of those attacks are still being experienced by “countless communities across Vietnam” even today, with children continuing to be born with genetic mutation brought about by countless bombing raids involving chemical weapons and conventional payloads.

“It was genocidal, total bullying by every standard. It was cowardly to be raining something from the air,” she said of US war in Vietnam. “They’ve [the US military class] always considered the South East Asia people as less than people. Even to this day John McCain was still referring to Vietnamese people with extremely derogatory racist insults.”

McCain, a close ally of the military industrial complex, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and any other corporation building weapons for the sake of forcing US democracy on unwilling nations, was a “fierce cheerleader” of the US invasions of Iraq in 1991 and 2003, consistent with his Vietnam experience.

“McCain is on the first flight to promote whatever little group that will be the vector for US military aggression in another part of the world,” whether Ukraine or Syria, Becker stated.

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McCain, on domestic issues, has always been in the ranks of the white supremacists, the analysts agreed, explaining how he gained popularity in Arizona, a relatively poor state that has historically been one of the last holdouts of virulent racism in the US, Stevens opined, influenced perhaps by Proposition 187, a 1994 California law that, while approved, has never been enforced, in which illegal aliens are ineligible for public benefits.

“They are scapegoating immigrants for problems faced by white-class workers,” Stevens said. “They [US lawmakers] actually don’t have the program to meet the needs of poor and the working class.”

According to Stevens, Republicans like McCain seek to cut government services and promote corporate deregulation in the form of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), allowing corporate investors to move factories overseas, drive down wages and undercut the sovereign rights of nation-states for the benefit of shareholders.

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Reflecting on the shift of the American political landscape to the right, including the rapid rise of Republican presidential dark-horse candidate Donald Trump, the analysts agreed that McCain is one of those who has contributed to recent developments.

"Much of the political infrastructure of his [Trump’s] racist and populist thinking comes directly out of McCain,” Stevens stated.

McCain was among Republicans fueling anti-Obama hysteria in the lead-up to the latter’s election and first of two terms as President of the United States in 2008.

“What’s the mainstream?” Becker asked. “It’s like a divide between the right, the far right and far-far right. That’s the state of US politics today.”

Currently, splinter groups within the GOP, including the Tea Party and the Club for Growth, “are large enough to damage the Republican Party, but not big enough to defeat the existing establishment.”

“The enigma of US politics is how to get out of this little box, because the trajectory only leads to the right.”

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