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From MTV News:

In 1984, Donald Trump wanted to build a castle in Manhattan. Not a metaphorical castle, a literal 60-story building on the Upper East Side, complete with battlements, a water-filled moat, and a working drawbridge with guards. …. The proposal made clear that the medieval accoutrements were not whimsical, but functional, touting the increased security the moat and drawbridge would offer. It also gave the fortress a name. It was to be called, of course, Trump Castle. …

In the ’70s, just as crime began to rise more sharply in New York, corruption scandals roiled the NYPD. Nationwide economic stagnation hit New York particularly hard, driving it into a fiscal crisis that almost led to bankruptcy in 1975. In 1977, a citywide blackout plunged much of the city into almost 24 hours of looting, riots, and arson. That year, Democrat Ed Koch swept into office on a pro–death penalty and law and order platform, pledging to clean up the city and restore it to its former glory. The homicide rate jumped drastically in his second year in office. The mayor of Boston, visiting East Brooklyn in 1978, said, “I have now seen the beginning of the end of civilization.” And Donald Trump finished the negotiations to build Trump Tower, the luxury high-rise that would become his home and headquarters, in midtown Manhattan….

Walter Hill’s 1979 film The Warriors is a postapocalyptic movie. The old order of things has been swept away and a new order has risen. But there is no apocalyptic trigger, no cleansing fire or natural disaster. The fall is ushered in simply by the steady march of social decline, the trends of the ’70s projected into the future. The Warriors‘ New York is a balkanized city, each gang leader ruling his fiefdom like a warlord. Crossing into the wrong territory without a pass or parley is an act of war. The police are reduced to just another gang — and not even the most numerous or powerful one. …

In this way, the movie anticipates the animating anxiety of the coming decade: not just crime, but disorder, and the contested border between the two New Yorks. In one New York, the one that Donald Trump occupied, a Wall Street boom was restoring the fiscal health of the city, the real estate market was recovering, and unemployment was dropping. But in the other New York, homelessness and crime were both rising. …If you listen to Donald Trump, it’s the late ’80s again. “The murder rate,” Trump declared at his campaign rallies, “it’s the worst, the highest it’s been in 45 years. Nobody talks about that — nobody talks about that.” Nobody talks about this mostly because it isn’t true.  …

Trump is evoking this fever dream of a disintegrating city because his policy solutions thrive on fear of crime and fear of terrorism. The hellscape of Escape From New York, which is itself Carpenter’s conscious extension of the urban “jungle” of Death Wish, is inhabited by characters from the nightmares of Trump’s rural and suburban base — drug-addled vagrants, violent thugs, hardened convicts, mindless mobs. And the world that those people would create is one so depraved and anarchic that fear of it would drive people to accept state repression.

It is that fear that justifies the travel ban, the draconian deportation of undocumented immigrants, the promise to spend millions of dollars on a southern border wall, the crackdown on “sanctuary cities.”  It is that fear that justifies squashing attempts to reform civil forfeiture laws and the retreat, at the federal level, from trying to hold local police departments accountable for their abuses.

Full article here.