Saturday, August 22, 2015

Anti-Hispanic Racism And The Death Of The Republican Party


Ken Calvert and Will Hurd are just 2 of dozens of Republicans who could lose their seats because of the party's embrace of overt anti-Latino racism

Wednesday we saw how easy it was easy to trace modern GOP racism back to Ronald Reagan. Then yesterday the editorial board of the New York Times decried how Trump is forcing the Republicans into a kind of ugly anti-Hispanic racism they wanted to avoid-- a kind of racism that may thrive in some parts of the country but that will preclude winning the White House and will kill some of their candidates in Senate and House races.
Before Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidates could deflect tough questions on immigration with vague promises to secure the border and oppose all “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

Not anymore. Mr. Trump has offered a plan to “take back our country” from what he calls the rapist-murderer-job stealers being exported from Mexico. He is full of ideas. He would expel 11 million immigrants, and their families, and let only “the good ones” back in. He would restrict legal immigration, and impose a national job-verification system so that everyone, citizens too, would need federal permission to work. He would build a 2,000-mile border wall and force Mexicans to pay for it. He would replace the Constitution’s guarantee of citizenship by birth with citizenship by bloodline and pedigree, leaving it to politicians and bureaucrats to decide what to do with millions of stateless children. He would flood the country with immigration agents and-- it almost goes without saying-- dismantle the economy and shred America’s standing as an immigrant-welcoming nation.

You could say the front-running Mr. Trump has put his opponents in a bind. Or you could say he has given them a gift: the opportunity to be specific in return about what they would do to fix the immigration mess. And to be forthright in rejecting his despicable proposals. Because his plan is so naked-- in its scapegoating of immigrants, its barely subtextual racism, its immense cruelty in seeking to reduce millions of people to poverty and hopelessness-- it gives his opponents the chance for a very clear moral decision. They can stand up for better values, and against the collective punishment of millions of innocent Americans-in-waiting.

But as Mr. Trump swells in the polls, his diminished opponents are following in his wake, like remoras on a shark. Several have shuffled onto the anti-birthright-citizenship bus, including Rick Santorum, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ben Carson and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. Even Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who once fought for smart bipartisan immigration reform, wants to repeal birthright citizenship. As does Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a birthright citizen himself. As for Mr. Trump’s other restrictionist proposals, several are firmly lodged again in the playbook of a Republican Party that briefly tried to reform itself after the Mitt Romney debacle. Some candidates are even willing to try to trump Mr. Trump in xenophobia: Mr. Carson is talking about using armed military drones at the border. That’s right-- bombing Arizona.

Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida understand immigration issues deeply and presumably want the Latino vote and are well aware of the dangers of having their party hijacked by far-right ideas. They should be opposing Mr. Trump at every turn. But in the face of Mr. Trump’s success, their objections are mild, and oddly muted. The danger is that when the campaign is over, no matter what becomes of Mr. Trump’s candidacy, he will have further poisoned the debate with his noxious positions, normalized an extremism whose toxicity is dulled by familiarity and is validated by a feckless party. He has emboldened the fringe lawmakers whose “hell no” on any positive immigration legislation has stymied reform for years.

The solutions are well known. Americans strongly support an earned path to citizenship for immigrants, strengthening families and industries and giving strivers the chance to pay this country back. Even as reform festers at the federal level, forward-thinking cities like New York and states like California have taken assertive steps, offering official documents like driver’s licenses and identity cards, and tuition breaks and other means of inclusion, to offer immigrants opportunities, all for the common good.

Ideas like these are realistic, practical and have the added benefit of being morally defensible. It has long been a hard job to keep the highly combustible immigration debate on the right side of sanity and reality. That progress is now being undone before our eyes in the presidential campaign, courtesy of the faux-populist billionaire who says immigrants are the reason this country is weak and frightened and going to hell.
There are a few Republicans in House seats where their party going to war against Latinos endangers their careers-- and that number is growing. The Republican Party's share of the California congressional delegation has shrunk precipitously as more and more Latinos have registered to vote. Last year, for example, racist slob Gary Miller was forced to retire when his heavily Hispanic district prepared to defeat him at the polls. Those same demographics are catching up with 7 other Republicans in California. All that stands between these 7 galoots and the disgrace of new jobs as K Street lobbyists is the grotesque incompetence of the DCCC:
David Valadao- 72.1%
Devin Nunes- 45.9%
Jeff Denham- 34.9%
Steve Knight- 37.9%
Kevin McCarthy- 35.4%
Ed Royce- 34.6%
Ken Calvert 33.2%
This cycle it looks like even the incompetence of the DCCC won't save Steve Knight in the Santa Clarita Valley, the Antelope Valley and Simi Valley (CA-25), where progressive Lou Vince is a good bet to beat him. And if Michael Eggman steers clear of the DCCC and their failed strategies and tactics, he'll beat Jeff Denham in a stretch of the Central Valley from Turlock, through Modesto to Manteca and Tracy (CA-10).

Three Republicans in South Florida are in overwhelmingly Hispanic districts-- Ileana Ros Lehtinen (72.7%), Mario Diaz-Balart (70.4%) and Carlos Curbelo (69.5%). Luckily for Ros Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart, most of the Hispanics in their districts are Cubans and, in both cases, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz works assiduously to protect their seats. Curbelo, on the other hand, has a lot of non-Cuban Hispanics in his district and is a weak candidate who only won in 2014 because the Democratic incumbent, Joe Garcia, was a corrupt, reactionary New Dem who voted with Republicans far too often, thereby discouraging Democratic midterm turnout. In 2016, Curbelo will face a much stronger Democrat likely to beat him, Annette Taddeo.

And four other Republican incumbents could be easily defeated if the DCCC would stop recruiting conservative DINOs to run against them-- Will Hurd, who represents a huge stretch of South Texas from the suburbs of San Antonio through smuggling mecca Eagle Pass to El Paso (70.8%); Steve Pearce (southern New Mexico), 52.1%; Blake Farenthold (Corpus Christi and Victoria), 50.8%; and John Culbertson in west Houston, 31.5%.

How do you think Hispanic voters-- not to mention non-Republican voters-- like hearing about the two Boston racist brothers who beat up a 58-year-old Hispanic man and then said they were inspired by Trump's racist pronouncements? When asked about what his followers had done, Trump said, "People who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate."
After a Hispanic man was beaten Wednesday by two Boston men, one of whom told the police that he was inspired by Donald J. Trump’s anti-immigrant message, Mr. Trump told reporters that his supporters were “passionate.”

Two brothers from South Boston were arrested and charged with beating the 58-year-old man, who is homeless, with a metal pole, breaking his nose and battering his chest and arms, The Boston Globe reported.

“Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” the police said one of the brothers, Scott Leader, 38, told them. His brother, Steve Leader, 30, was also charged in the beating, the police said. The Globe reported that the brothers have extensive criminal records.
On Chris Hayes' MSNBC show the other night, Republican consultant Linda Chavez pointed out that if the GOP keeps following Trump down the racist rabbit hole, the party will go the way of the Whigs, extinction. Too late for Jan Mickelson, a Republican Hate Talk Radio host on WHO, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel) in Des Moines who happily took it to the next level. The station, which is also home to bigots like Rush Limbaugh and Steve Deace, the neo-fascist who just endorsed Ted Cruz, refuses to fire Mickelson, who was apparently also feeling empowered by Trump and the rest of the GOP field enough to start publicly espousing a reinstitution of slavery, which he politely refers to as "compelled labor." Listen:

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At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If and when the GOP gives up all voter suppressions efforts, I MIGHT begin to believe that the GOP is on its last legs. That isn't likely to happen in what's left of my lifetime - if ever.

At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the GOP and its nativist racism extinct. Can't underestimate the future nominations of George P. Bush III and Rubio and others to come though. They can cut into the Democratic Hispanic constituence enough to derail the election of Dems.


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