Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Great Wall of Mexico

Donald Trump has been getting a lot of play with his idea of building a great wall along the border of Mexico.  I would think if anyone would call him out on this it would be Pat Buchanan who advocated the same idea in 1992 when he ran for the Republican nomination against George H.W. Bush, and gained quite a groundswell of support among right-wing extremists.  In fact, much of Trump's immigration policy and contempt for Mexicans appears to come from Buchanan's Death of the West.  Bucky has long felt that American culture is being undermined by Hispanics, particularly Mexicans, and that the only way to curb this is to clamp down hard on immigration.

However, Trump has taken this Nativism one step further by pushing for the repeal of the 14th amendment that would strip birthright citizenship, or "anchor babies" as children born to immigrants are derisively called.  Making the matter worse, Trump has basically led his fellow GOP candidates into a blind alley.  Jeb ventured down to the Texas border to try to assure Hispanic-Americans that he didn't support the same policies, but only ended up sticking his foot in his mouth.

As Jorge Ramos notes, an estimated 16 million Hispanics will vote in the 2016 general election, making up a significant part of the electorate.  Obviously, Donald Trump didn't want to be reminded of this and had Mr. Ramos escorted out of a press conference for daring to challenge him on his immigration policy.  The Donald cast the same kind of aspersions we have come to expect from him, yet it was Trump saying that Ramos was out of line.

A recent Gallup Poll shows that Trump has a -51 per cent net favorable rating among Hispanics, far below any of the other GOP candidates.  This should serve as a cautionary note but apparently not.  Others may not use the same harsh language, but Ted Cruz surprisingly endorsed Trump's view that the 14th amendment should be repealed.  This is a guy whose father is a Cuban immigrant.

Dr. Ben Carson even suggested the use of drones to monitor the tunnels illegal immigrants use to cross into America, which he claims was blown out of all proportion by the media.  I doubt Trump would have walked back from such a comment as I imagine many of his supporters would be more than happy to see drones take out illegal immigrants.

All this highly charged rhetoric is making it very difficult for any potential GOP presidential nominee to expect anything more than a small fraction of the Hispanic-American vote.  To make matters worse, Jeb pissed off Asian-Americans by defending his use of the term "anchor babies" to refer to Asian maternity tourism, not Mexicans.   

These candidates have narrowed their demographic range appreciably over the last two months thanks in large part to Donald J. Trump.   Rather than counter Trump's absurd claims they have all more or less endorsed his views in their own wishy-washy way.  They had a golden opportunity to take Trump out at the first Presidential debate but only Rand Paul seemed up for the challenge, only to end up shooting himself in the foot.

One can only conclude that these guys are afraid to stand up to Trump, or at least the sizable chunk of the GOP electorate he represents.  It is like a hostile takeover where Trump now controls one-third of the GOP electorate, forcing the Republican Party to buy into his world view.  Not that it takes much effort since none of the positions he has taken are new and have been pretty much repeated in each Republican primary since 1964.   The only thing different is the brashness that Trump has exhibited on the campaign trail, bullying his opponents into submission.

No one may know how to build a wall like Donald Trump, but as this long suppressed documentary shows the Donald has very rarely put his money where his mouth is.  I doubt we will ever see a wall like Trump or any GOP candidate imagines because it simply does not serve our interests.  Trump benefits from the relative free flow of immigrants, day workers and goods across the US-Mexican border just like any American businessman.  Even his signature suits are made in Mexico and shipped back to the US.  He is a bloviating contradiction of himself.  

At some point his campaign will run out of gas and what's left of the once vaunted Republican field of candidates will be left to pick up the pieces and try to salvage what's left of their tattered image.  What the GOP has painfully learned is that it can't escape the Nativism that is the underbelly of its political party.

1 comment:

  1. Wisconsin's jackass governor Walker proposes that a wall be built between the USA and Canada. This was well received up in the Northlands as Canadians all think it's a GREAT idea.