Elections, U.S.A.


This is what Donald Trump said during a recent presidential campaign event in Ohio: “We’re going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line and you are not going to be able to sell those cars, if I get elected. Now, if I don’t get elected, that’s going to be a blood bath. That’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a blood bath for the country, that’s going to be the least of it. But they’re not going to sell those cars.”

Trump’s speeches are so chaotic and disorganized, so full of threats and insults, without notes or teleprompters, that it is often impossible to figure out his intentions. Does he really believe what he says, or does he say it just for his audience? Are they campaign promises or simply more lies?

From that speech in Ohio, which lasted more than one hour, the news media got this headline: “If I don’t get elected, that’s going to be a blood bath.” Here’s the background: Trump has insisted, falsely, that he won the 2020 presidential elections, and hundreds of his supporters attacked the US Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6 after a Trump speech that went on for one hour. Trump calls the people arrested for that attack “hostages,” not criminals.

But Trump, on his Truth Social platform, accused the news media of pretending “to be shocked at my use of the word BLOODBATH, even though they fully understood that I was simply referring to imports allowed by Crooked Joe Biden, which are killing the automobile industry.”

So, if Trump is really not threatening violence if he loses the presidential elections on Nov. 4, then Mexico and its new president should get ready. Trump is giving notice that if he’s returned to the White House, he could slap new sanctions and tariffs – 100 percent – on vehicles that are manufactured in Mexico and exported to the United States.

“Mexico has taken, over a period of 30 years, 34 percent of the automotive manufacturing business in our country,” he said in the Ohio speech. Here are the facts.

Mexico produces 3.5 million vehicles each year and is the 7th largest producer of motorized vehicles in the world, according to a US Commerce Department report. About 88 percent of those vehicles ar exported, and 76 percent go to the United States, the report added. Among the brands with manufacturing plants in Mexico are Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Stellantis, Toyota, Volkswagen and Tesla.

The production, export and import of vehicles were meticulously negotiated by Mexico, the United States and Canada as part of the T-MEC treaty that took effect in 2020. And although there are several disputes, nowhere in the treaty is there wording allowing a 100 percent tariff on vehicles manufactured in Mexico for the US market.

Those are not the rules of the game for the three countries. But that is what Trump wants to do if he wins. His populist and nationalist dicourse is crystal clear. “If they want to build a plant in Ohio, in Michigan, in South Carolina, they can, using American workers,” he said recently.

For many, it is not clear what Trump meant to say, or suggest, with his comment about a “bloodbath” if he loses the elections in November. But it is clear that if he wins, he will try to bring to the United States jobs that are now in Mexico.

The concequences would be enormous. Without a doubt, this will hike the price of vehicles sold in the United Sttaes and negatively impact the Mexican economy. What’s more, it would put additional pressures on migration across the border. If manufacturing plants in Mexico are closed because of the new tariffs, their unemployed workers might consider migrating to the United States.

The possible reelection of Trump – who still refuses to accept that he lost the elections in 2020 – is a profound test for US democracy. But for Mexico, it would be a gigantic challenge to again have a neighboring country governed by someone who does not respect the rules, and is used to doing and saying whatever comes into his mind.

By Jorge Ramos Ávalos

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Jorge Ramos has been the anchorman for Noticiero Univision since 1986. He writes a weekly column for more than 40 newspapers in the United States and Latin America, and provides daily radio commentary for the Radio Univision network. Ramos also hosts Al Punto, Univision’s weekly public affairs program offering analysis of the week’s top stories, and Fusion’s AMERICA with Jorge Ramos, a news program geared towards young adults. Ramos has won eight Emmy awards and is the author of ten books, most recently, STRANGER - The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era.

A survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center found that Ramos is the second most recognized Latino leader in the country. Latino Leaders magazine chose him as one of “The Ten Most Admired Latinos” and “101 Top Leaders of the Latino Community in the U.S.”