For the past six months, the mainstream media has been broadcasting Donald Trump’s racially charged rhetoric, ripped from the fringes of the anti-immigrant and white nationalist movements, as if it were normal political discourse. But these words and “policy” prescriptions are having real-life consequences, including numerous instances of attacks and harassment against Latinos, Muslim-Americans, and African-Americans linked to the “combustible” atmosphere fostered by Trump.
Finally, more observers are stepping up to denounce the candidate, his campaign, and his vision for the nation. Notably, this includes a powerful new television ad from fellow Republican presidential candidate John Kasich (viewable via this link). The ad features Col. Tom Moe, of the U.S. Air Force and a Vietnam POW, saying the following words (transcribed):
“I would like anyone who is listening to consider some thoughts that I’ve paraphrased from the words of German Pastor Martin Niemoller. You might not care if Donald Trump says Muslims must register with the government because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump says he’s going to round up all the Hispanic immigrants because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump says it’s OK to rough up black protesters because you’re not one. And you might not care that Donald Trump wants to suppress journalist because you’re not one. But think about this, if he keeps going and he actually becomes President, he might just get around to you and you better hope that’s there someone left to help you…”
Of course, Kasich himself is not immune to the Trump Effect. We have criticized Gov. Kasich for his obfuscation on a clear pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, his opposition to DACA and DAPA, and his ignorant stance against resettling Syrian refugees in Ohio. We still believe these policies are wrong. But when even Governor John Kasich is calling Trump out for his vision of America, it’s time to pay attention and wonder where the rest of the candidates are hiding.
In addition, newspaper editorial boards and leading columnists across the ideological spectrum are continuing to speak out more forcefully to condemn Trump. Among the new key pieces, excerpted below:
Timothy Egan, New York Times: “Donald Trump’s Police State”: “…I’m starting to have some dark fears should Donald Trump become president. Take him at his word — albeit, a worthless thing given his propensity for telling outright lies and not backing down when called on them — Donald Trump’s reign would be a police state. He has now outlined a series of measures that would make the United States an authoritarian nightmare. Trump is no longer entertaining, or diversionary. He’s a billionaire brute, his bluster getting more ominous by the day.
… Let’s start with his most far-reaching crush of cruelty, the Trump promise to create a huge ‘deportation force’ to storm into homes, churches, schools and businesses and round up all 11 million undocumented immigrants. In doing so, he would need an army of agents to go door-to-door, breaking up families, and snagging many citizens caught up the in the mass sweeps. As his jackbooted minions grab legal Americans (the children born in this country, citizens per the 14th amendment) and separate them from their illegal parents, he will place them — where? In foster homes? In detention centers? In concentration camps? He says it will take only two years for him to disrupt nearly every community in the United States, destroying thousands of businesses in the process. ‘I’m going to remove them so fast your head would spin.’ Let’s do the math: Trump promises to arrest, sort, and deport 11 million people — a number more than 25 percent higher than the entire population of New York City. This from the nominal leader of a party that doesn’t think government can do anything well. In practice, (imagine the viral videos) the new operation would prompt a million Hispanic Anne Franks — people hiding in the attics and basements of Donald Trump’s America.
…To go with his Deportation Force, Trump would send another wave of federal authorities out to identify, track and monitor Muslims in America. All of them? He hasn’t said. He’s building his police state on the fly. But in just a few days he went from saying he would ‘strongly consider’ closing houses of worship (mosques), to saying he would have ‘absolutely no choice’ but to shut them down. As for tracking Muslims through some kind a database, he’s been squishy, but also unequivocal, saying, ‘I would certainly implement that.’ For those fleeing war and religious persecution from the butchers of the Islamic State, sorry if you’re Syrian — Trump would deport those already vetted refugees, mostly women and young children.
…Like any good authoritarian — Soviet or banana republic — Trump concocts plots and dark doings to scare the quivering masses. And no one on the public stage is better at the Big Lie this year than Trump. PolitiFact found that 75 percent of his so-called factual statements are ‘mostly or entirely false.’ The other 25 percent were ‘half true’ or ‘mostly true.’ His score in the flat-out “true” column was zero. But that doesn’t stop him. The more lies he tells, the more popular he is with a large part of the Republican base that lives in a world of made-up horror and blunt force solutions. So, hordes of Mexicans continue to rush into the United States, he says, when in fact more people are now returning to Mexico than are coming in. Syrian refugees are ‘pouring into the country’ when barely 2,000 have been admitted. And Trump continues to say ‘I saw’ thousands and thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the collapse of the twin towers on 9/11, when no such thing has ever been documented. The goal is to get you to hate them — Mexicans, Muslims, the object of all your fears. As we enter the holidays, there is one more Trump vow to consider. ‘If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.’ With Trump, the seasonal salutation may be mandatory, and creepy.”
Washington PostEditorial, “Donald Trump’s Politics of Denigration Rage On”: “Just when you think Donald Trump’s campaign could not possibly become more loathsome, the billionaire bully proves you wrong again … As we have said before, it is time for Republican Party leaders to make clear that they do not approve of Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration. If they do not, their party will be seen as complicit in his hatefulness, and deservedly so.”
USA TodayEditorial, “Trump’s Indecent Presidential Campaign”: “All of this fear-mongering comes on top of his preposterous plan to deport the roughly 11 million immigrants in this country illegally, which would be the equivalent of emptying the state of Ohio. Even minimal thought about the mechanics of doing this should convince most people that it wouldn’t just be inhumane to rip millions of people out of communities where they’ve worked and raised families for years; almost two-thirds have lived in the U.S. for 10 years or more. It would cost the federal government billions of dollars, require the creation of an enormous police state and be hugely destabilizing to the economy. Pandering to voters’ basest impulses is, of course, a time-honored tradition in American politics. Usually, someone arises with the courage to take on a demagogue … In 1954, Wisconsin GOP Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s campaign to ferret out supposed communists in America seemed unstoppable until a little known Boston lawyer confronted McCarthy during a televised Senate hearing after McCarthy accused a junior lawyer of communist ties. ‘Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness,’ said attorney Joseph Welch. ‘Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?’ It’s time that today’s Joseph Welch confronts Donald Trump with the same question.”
Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist: The GOP “Slide into the Swamp”:“This descent into xenophobia was led, as usual, by Donald Trump. Amid bushels of word salad, he concurred with registering American Muslims, raised alarms about Arab American treachery (‘thousands and thousands’ on TV cheering the World Trade Center collapse) and promised not only to deny entry to Syrian refugees, but to send back the ones already here. Can you see it? Packing them into his 757, the one with gold-plated seat belts, then dumping them — orphans, widows, the lot — into a war zone to await the next barrel bomb. Other GOP candidates have issued Trumpian echoes. The Muslim registry had no takers. But some have advocated shutting out all the refugees or taking Christians only. They are chasing the polls showing strong anti-refugee sentiment. How deeply shortsighted. It may work in the GOP primaries. But Trump-like anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner, now anti-Muslim, anti-Arab rhetoric — and don’t forget those cunning Chinese stealing our jobs and ruthless Mexicans raping our women — will not play well in a general election. Politically, it will be fatal. John Kasich has forcefully denounced this slide into the swamp. Where are the others?”
Greg Sargent, Washington Post: “Yes, Donald Trump’s Demagoguery Just Got Even Uglier”: “By declining to say whether Islam is a violent religion, and by suggesting that ‘hatred’ is coming out of a “big part” of Islam, Trump has exposed the xenophobic subtext of his rhetoric about Muslims, much the way his previous comments about Mexicans helped illuminate the true intended appeal of his immigration prescriptions…”