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Attacks Against Kamala Harris: A Reminder that Trump World Thinks it Can Decide Who is An American

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The burgeoning Republican and conservative attacks on Kamala Harris reveal the parties’ competing views of America.

From questioning the legitimacy of Harris as a candidate based on a crackpot interpretation of the 14th amendment – as conservative legal scholar John Eastman attempted to do – to adding sexism and misogyny to their ongoing racism and xenophobia, a host of Republican and conservative attacks remind us that for Trumpian right wingers, real America is made up of straight White Christian males and everyone else is the unqualified “other.”

According to Mario Carrillo, Texas-based campaigns manager for America’s Voice: 

What is shaping up this November is a clash of the two visions of America – one that embraces our diversity versus one of blood and soil nationalism. Republicans and conservatives think they get to decide what it means to be an American and who among the native born qualifies. No matter your citizenship status or place of birth, they think you can never be ‘American’ enough. If you are born in America, is that enough? If you are naturalized as a citizen, is that enough? How far back do you have to go in your family tree to ‘pass’ the litmus test of what it means to ‘be American?’ Do you have to be a certain religion in order to be American? We are a nation of shared ideals and our multiracial majority is a strength, but Republicans take any opportunity they can to demonize anyone they define as an ‘other.’

Kamala Harris being selected to join the Democratic ticket is a signal of the changing reality that is inevitably reshaping the American political landscape. For too long immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities and women have been marginalized and excluded from the highest positions of political power, and Republicans would like to keep it that way. What Trump and his ilk fail to realize is that this wave of change is inevitable.

The country is strongest when we are united around our highest moral callings, and the xenophobic and racist attacks that have characterized the Trump presidency don’t have a place in our future. Despite their best attempts to prove the contrary, Trump and his base don’t have a monopoly on defining who gets to be an American. Consistency of character, commitment to community, and fighting for the most vulnerable are intractable elements of who we are.