Racism and xenophobia toward Muslims intensified after 1979 with the Iranian revolution and became institutionalized after 9/11. The wind is blowing toward the racist and xenophobia camp and all politicians know it, so they are moving to the right, so much so that as far as many Republicans are concerned a Rockefeller Republican is a “leftist”! The politically correct Democrats are much closer to the Republican rightwing position of xenophobia than they project to the public, remaining committed to the concept of an open society only in rhetoric while voting to move society toward a closed authoritarian model. What annoyed politicians and the conservative socioeconomic elites about Trump's blatant racism is that he deviated from the long-standing path of political correctness, itself a thin veneer concealing institutional racism and xenophobia.
While the US and its 19 coalition partners have been telling the world that they want to eliminate ISIS and al-Qaeda, they have been hitting targets in Syria and Iraq that have weakened the governments and strengthened the jihadists that the US is supposedly interested in eliminating. From August 2014 until the present, more than 23,000 strikes at a cost of more than $4 billion have been devoted to taking down ISIS when in fact the target for the most part has been civilian and Syrian government installations. When Russia decided to intervene in Syria to fight ISIS in November 2015, the US warned Iraqi government that if it opted to ask Russian support to fight ISIS, then the US would withdraw its support from the Iraqi government. The Iraqis promised Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that they would stay with the US, but warned that Turkey, a NATO ally was facilitating ISIS transport of oil while fighting against Kurdish rebels who were on the same side as Iraq against ISIS. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-iraq-chose-between-american-and-russian-airstrikes-in-isis-fight/)
Even more alarming, Iraqi government claims that it has video evidence of U.S. helicopters providing military assistance to ISIS jihadist rebels. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iraqis-think-the-us-is-in-cahoots-with-isis-and-it-is-hurting-the-war/2015/12/01/d00968ec-9243-11e5-befa-99ceebcbb272_story.html) Among other organizations, the Syrian Network for Human Rights claims that the US airstrikes and those of its allies have been targeting civilians exacerbating the migrant crisis that has spilled over to Europe. (http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikegiglio/the-us-led-coalition-bombing-syria-has-killed-more-civilians#.op1mwVbwNk)
What is the ordinary American citizen to make when comparing the empirical evidence of US rhetoric about the war on terror and the actual record as mentioned above showing that in fact ISIS is growing stronger in no small part because the goal of the US is to topple Assad and not eliminate ISIS. Let us assume that Assad is gone, just as other dictators of Islamic countries left with the help of the US and its allies –Libya and Iraq. What exactly would the US gain from regime change even if Russia is no longer a player in Syria?
The only real beneficiaries at the regional level would be Iran and Israel, while at the global level China would benefit economically as it has in Afghanistan. Under the best case scenario, the US would secure a military base but toward what end, considering that its economy is weakening and projected to weaken even more in comparison to China currently dumping US Treasury bills along with Japan as the Chinese currency is now part of the world’s elite hard currencies thanks to the IMF. In short, geopolitical advantages would be limited and short lived as they were in Iraq and Afghanistan and the militarists in the US would be back demanding the next place to intervene.
The political cost for such reckless policies that are justified in the name of the war on terror will be continued drift toward a more racist and xenophobic orientation at home to the degree that the open society will continue to wither away. Of course, the apologists of the concept will be too ashamed and too clever to call American society what it is and will continue arguing it is a democracy where freedom and the American Dream are still cherished. Political polarization with very few on the progressive side and the majority moving toward a conservative direction will mean that the historical cycle of America moving from a conservative to liberal era - from the Gilded Age to the Age of Progressivism, from the conservative 1920s to the New Deal of the 1930s, from the conservative 1950s to the liberal 1960s – will end as it has since the Reagan era that now looks more progressive than the Obama administration in many respects because there was not as much capital concentration and inequality.
Will the future of America be closer to the open society concept and values of the Enlightenment era in the 18th century or will it resemble some combination of the Fascist and Nazi regimes of the 1930s? Clearly, the US today is not Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, but the political, business and social elites are certainly heading in that direction while claiming they represent values of pluralism, democracy and everything that characterizes an open bourgeois society. As bourgeois society sinks into crisis because of immense capital concentration, the tilt toward an increasingly authoritarian direction is inevitable so that the elites are able to retain their privileged positions.