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Nativism is “Beating Heart” of Republican and Right Wing Anti-Democratic Project

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Ron Brownstein’s Latest CNN Column Captures How, on Immigration and Beyond, GOP Imposing Extreme Worldview on Rest of America

Washington, DC – In a must-read CNN column, “Red States are Building a Nation within a Nation,” political analyst Ron Brownstein captures how Republican states are advancing “the cultural priorities of the GOP’s predominantly White Christian electoral base” at the expense of basic democratic tenets.

Immigration has been the canary in the coal mine of the broader Republican and right wing strategy to impose its countermajoritarian worldview on the rest of the country. From their reliance on the anti-immigrant judicial pipeline to the GOP’s dangerous and cynical mainstreaming of white nationalist “replacement” and “invasion” conspiracies for political purposes, nativism is an inextricable part of the story. 

Below, find key excerpts from Brownstein’s column, including quotes from America’s Voice legal advisor David Leopold, followed by a reaction from Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director for America’s Voice:

“… [R]ed states, supported by Republican-appointed judges, are engaging in a multi-front offensive to seize control of national policy even while Democrats hold the White House and nominally control both the House and Senate. The red states are moving social policy sharply to the right within their borders on issues from abortion to LGBTQ rights and classroom censorship, while simultaneously working to hobble the ability of either the federal government or their own largest metro areas to set a different course.

To a degree unimaginable even a decade ago, this broad offensive increasingly looks like an effort to define a nation within a nation — one operating with a set of rules and policies that diverge from the rest of America more than in almost any previous era.

… ‘You have a very dangerous situation,’ said David Leopold, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and legal adviser to the immigration advocacy group America’s Voice. ‘This is a direct threat to the nation as a unified entity. This is one step closer to the country dividing into two separate countries.’

…The rulings constraining Biden on immigration may encapsulate most precisely how the alliance of red states and GOP-appointed judges are interacting to constrict federal action.

…Leopold, the former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, notes that these immigration cases have followed a similar trajectory. The red states, led by Texas, find a sympathetic district court judge, usually based in Texas, to target for the first hearing, which ensures that the case rises into the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, perhaps the country’s most conservative, and then from there reaches the Supreme Court, which is now dominated by six GOP-appointed justices. Leopold calls this the ‘anti-immigrant judicial pipeline’ and says it has become a template for blocking federal action far beyond issues of migration.

‘These are attacks on specific policy choices that have traditionally been assigned to the executive … that are preventing Biden from effectively doing his job,’ Leopold said. ‘What they have done is with the Trump years behind them, and with a deeper [roster] on the bench, they have completely used this politicized [Supreme] Court to make federal policy and to thwart the specific policy objectives of the Biden administration. Forget that 81 million people voted for him, this is about using the court as a political tool. And they have perfected the strategy.’”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director for America’s Voice: 

“From the moment Donald Trump descended the escalator in 2015 and railed against immigrants, nativism and the dangerous dehumanization of immigrants have been the beating heart of Trump-ism and its ugly evolutions. The descent continues, extremist views are spreading, and the GOP is rolling back civil rights and liberties Americans often take for granted

Since Trump was elected, the rabid right-wing media and Republican Party have indulged dangerous white nationalist conspiracies as a central part of their aggressive counter majoritarian project. And now, as Ron Brownstein describes, we have the anti-immigrant pipeline and an untrammeled GOP judiciary intent to handcuff the Biden Administration and the rest of America from undoing Trump’s damage and engaging in self-governance. Ominously, the Trump-led descent may have started with immigration, but today it is spreading to every other facet of American life – women’s rights, voting rights, marriage rights, contraception, environmental protection and gun safety, to name a few.

It adds up to the imposition of a radicalized, white Christian nationalism that pro-democracy forces must join together to call out and defeat.”