President Trump insists that his racist, nationalist, often-incendiary claims about immigrants, Hispanics, Muslims and others have not fueled hate groups to act out.
A new study puts the lie to that, however.
It shows that hate crimes went up across the U.S. in 2016, making it the first time in more than ten years the country has had an annual increase in two consecutive years.
Those included hate crimes that targeted race, religion, sexuality, disability and national origin.
Nationally hate crimes were up about five percent between 2015 and 2016 according to research by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the California State University, San Bernadino, according to a report today by HuffPost.
The study led by Professor Brian Levin is expected to be a predictor of FBI hate crime statistics which will be released in November, showing what happened in the 2016 election year.
HuffPo reports it is expected to “backup alarming anecdotal evidence of emboldened bigotry in America.”
While the trend across the nation was about five percent, actual activity by hate groups and deranged individuals in specific states and some big metro areas was much higher with crimes against Muslims, African Americans, Hispanics, Jews and others.
Hate crimes in Chicago were up 20 percent; New York was up 24 percent; Los Angeles saw a rise of 15 percent and in Philadelphia, hate crimes soared by 50 percent.
The biggest increase of any major city was in Washington, D.C. where there was a 62 percent rise in hate crimes.
For many of these cities, the number of hate crimes set a new high.
The biggest factor was the increase in crimes against Muslims, which according to this study were u 67 percent nationwide.
The data for states was also interesting. Vice President Mike Pence was Governor of Indiana until his election. Indiana saw a jump in hate crimes of 123 percent, more than any other state by a wide margin.
It is not unusual for there to be a rise in hate crimes in a presidential election year, but 2016 was notable for the “significant increases in the period around Election Day itself,” according to Levin, who added “the election period …was unlike anything I can recall in my professional career.”
The numbers prove Trump is either unaware, ignorant or lying when he claims his rhetoric has not fueled hate and hate crimes.
Right after Trump announced his plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. in December 2016, Levin found what he called a precipitous rise in anti-Muslim hate crime.”
“During times of fear,” says Levin, “particularly following highly charged terrorist attacks, leaders can either soothe fears or enflame them. When they do the later, a severe spike in violence can follow as individuals feel emboldened.”
The data for 2017 isn’t looking much better. Levin has done an analysis of police hate crime records in 13 large cities and finds a nearly 20 percent increase compared to 2016.
This follows Charlottesville, where Trump has made it clear he has as much sympathy for neo-Nazi’s, the KKK and other white supremacists as he does for peaceful protesters.
Trump’s poisonous comments continue to fuel the rise of hate crimes, from anti-Muslim to anti-Semitic and well beyond, and there is no end in sight as long as he leads the nation.
This is a frightening time for American’s who have long valued the concept of the melting pot where all different groups, religions, people from other countries, can work side by side and live together in peace.
That isn’t the way it works in Trump’s America, and there is no indication it will continue to get anything but worse.