Washington, DC – Below is a column by Maribel Hastings and David Torres from America’s Voice en Español translated to English from Spanish. It ran in several Spanish-language media outlets earlier this week:
It’s hard to overemphasize that elections have serious consequences, especially if we allow apathy and disenchantment to keep us from voting while those with an extremist agenda do so with great enthusiasm. It is a political-electoral scheme that has been cyclically self-designed and that fundamentally contradicts the essence of participatory democracy. But for this to happen in the United States, emblem of the universal vote, is at the very least paradoxical and contradictory.
Indeed, it turns out that we are facing a situation similar to that of 2016: former President Donald J. Trump is emerging as the favorite to win the Republican nomination for president in 2024 against a Democratic incumbent, Joe Biden, who faces challenges including from many of his own party who are not so enthusiastic about his candidacy; but they do not seem to understand the danger that Trump 2.0 represents not only for the immigrants he has sworn to persecute and deport, but for everyone’s freedoms and for democracy itself.
In that sense, we must understand from now on that Trump and his favorite advisor, Stephen Miller, come with the knife between their teeth, since on immigration they propose mass detentions and deportations of undocumented immigrants, trying to once again follow the script of Ike Eisenhower and his “Operation Wetback” from the 1950s; the return of Title 42, canceling TPS, the return of Zero Tolerance, denying citizenship to children born in the United States to undocumented parents, and imposing an ideological test on visa applicants, among other things.
It is precisely the immigrants who have first realized this other twist in the recent history of this country since 2016, since they are the ones who have already suffered the separation of families at the border in the Trump era; they are the ones who have received countless racist insults in public places; and they are the ones who have laid the dead before the terrorist attacks of supremacists who follow the “ideology” of Trump and the MAGA movement. They are, in the end, the ones who are once again attacked by Trump’s discourse.
That is why it is urgent and necessary to be reminded of the recent history: in 2016 Hillary Clinton won the Democratic presidential nomination after a bloody primary against the Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders. So bloody was it that many Sanders followers chose not to vote in 2016, thinking that Clinton was going to win without any problems and underestimating the danger of Trump. We clarify that this was not the only reason for Clinton’s defeat, but it did have an impact.
We already know what happened and how traumatic the four years of Trump’s presidency were, especially for immigrants, their children, women, and communities of color. And his White House exit was extremely violent with an attack on the federal Capitol, where his enraged troops wanted to block the certification of Biden’s legitimate victory. That fact alone should have a former president who acts as if he were above the law, and who came close to destroying the West’s most emblematic democratic experiment to date, behind bars for sedition. And now we see that he will not stop his attempt.
So if Trump were the nominee and loses again to Biden, we must be ready for the atrocities that he and his followers will try if they claim once again that the elections were “stolen” from them. At the end of the day they already know the path and the support they have.
If Trump is the nominee and wins, he has already made it more than clear that he is coming to complete what he could not do in his first term, because he trampled so many laws in the process that the bulk of his Machiavellian proposals were stopped in the courts. And now not only immigrants would be in danger, but actually the rest of the American population and their rights.
But many things have changed. Trump had the opportunity to nominate like-minded judges to diverse courts, including the Supreme Court, and that is a card in his favor in his attempts to implement extremist policies. He wants to redesign, of course, a country tailored to his needs, related to his supremacist convictions, which at the same time are cruel, inhuman, radical and extremist, but which have become the catalog of “principles” that his army of loyalists defend. and they continue to the letter, with the aim of destroying every vestige of democracy.
Trump and Miller, architect of the most nefarious proposals on immigration, have had the opportunity to fine-tune these measures to try to guarantee that they prevail next time.
But even if they did not, the fact that they are proposed and implemented already represents a trauma for an immigrant population that even in the post-Trump era has not had true immigration relief, with the exception of some groups that have received TPS. and refugees who have obtained humanitarian parole. But the 11 million have had to continue surviving.
“We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections,” Trump declared in New Hampshire, in an event in “honor” of war veterans, and it is not only the long list of atrocities that he wants to implement, but when proposing it he uses the language of Nazis and fascists such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini calling those who do not think like him “vermin” or saying that migrants “poison the blood” of the United States.
It is said that those who do not know their own history are condemned to repeat it. The point is that countless Trump followers do know that history, but they are still determined to repeat it, even with euphoria, as demonstrated in the former president’s public events, a kind of “political Frankenstein” of our era.
The saying goes well that if you fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. By now everyone should know what Trump’s return means.
To read the Spanish version of this column click here.