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“Papers Please”: Remember What Happened The Last Time A Republican President Had A ‘Round Up Of Illegal’ Immigrants?

Ed Kilgore is right to be…um…”skeptical” that Peggy Noonan has tapped into some great Latino love for Donald Trump. She found one Dominican who is angry at illegal immigrants. Noonan bought his story because that’s what she wants to believe.

But I’ll give you one good reason why most brown people (Latino as well as other nationalities) in this country are terrified of what Donald Trump is saying he would do. It’s because some of them (and a few of us) remember what happened the last time a Republican president decided to round up a bunch of illegal immigrants and ship them home. We remember because it wasn’t that long ago.

Here’s what happened when ICE raided Howard Industries in Laurel, MS in 2008.

ICE´s approach humiliated all Latino workers in the plant with their Racial Profiling. Witnesses said ICE provided all White and Black workers Blue Armbands. All the Latino workers were put in line and forced to prove their legal status. ICE, in their uniforms and wearing side arms, caused ALL Latino workers to shiver in fear as they went through this ritual. The exits were sealed. Some Latino workers were sprayed with Mace.

Here’s how an ACLU press release (link no longer available) described what happened.

“We are deeply concerned by reports that workers at the factory where the raid occurred were segregated by race or ethnicity and interrogated, the factory was locked down for several hours, workers were denied access to counsel, and ICE failed to inform family members and lawyers following the raid where the workers were being jailed,” said Monica Ramirez, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project who has traveled to Mississippi to meet with family members and lawyers about the government’s actions.

So you see, brown people know that if Trump’s plan to “deport ’em all” was ever implemented, they’re all likely to be subjected to “papers please” interrogations – regardless of their legal status. It hasn’t been that long since that is exactly what happened in this country.


By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, August 29, 2015

August 30, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Immigrants, Immigration | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Republicans Still Pandering To Voters’ Worst Instincts”: Appealing To The Most Nativist Elements Of The Republican Base

Not so long ago, leaders of a chastened Republican Party issued a report urging a new way forward for a GOP spurned by voters of color. Following Mitt Romney’s unfortunate language about “self-deportation,” which likely contributed to his defeat, party strategists were especially concerned that the GOP find a way to reach out to Latinos, the fastest-growing voting bloc.

The report of the Growth and Opportunity Project urged the GOP not only to embrace comprehensive immigration reform but also to adopt a very different rhetoric in addressing Latinos, including those without documents. “If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence,” the report said.

Let’s just say the report’s recommendations haven’t been widely embraced by the 2016 Republican presidential field. Led by the odious Donald Trump, several candidates have raced to appeal to the most nativist elements of the Republican base.

That’s a train wreck for the Republican Party — a strategy that will not only make it difficult for the party to regain the White House in 2016, but which will also weaken it for decades to come. Latinos coming of age now are unlikely to forget the hostility shown by a GOP that can no longer be called the party of Abraham Lincoln.

Trump’s immigration policy — if it can be called that — doesn’t back away from his inflammatory rhetoric. He would build a wall, which he insists Mexico could be forced to pay for, and he’d deport the estimated 11 million immigrants who crossed the border illegally. But the proposal that has blasted through the primary field is this: He would end automatic citizenship for babies born to mothers without papers.

Not to be outdone, several of his rivals clambered aboard. Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson all echoed some degree of support. Ted Cruz elbowed in with the claim that it’s “a view I have long held.” Together with the candidates who have previously expressed their opposition to birthright citizenship, which is bestowed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, about half the field of 17 GOP presidential candidates agrees with Trump, according to Politico.

This is a minefield for a Republican Party already struggling to reach beyond its overwhelmingly white base. The 14th Amendment has deep historic resonance because it’s a post-Civil War amendment, intended to rectify the injustice of a constitutional system that did not extend citizenship to black people. It grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” And while it’s unlikely that any president could garner enough support to repeal that, the willingness of so many Republicans to bandy about the proposition can only remind more moderate voters that the party is a small and homogeneous tent.

“It’s a terrible idea,” Peter Wehner, a former official in the administration of George W. Bush, told Politico. “It’s a politically insane idea. It can’t be done. It’s impossible to achieve. So what’s the point? It’s symbolism, and it’s exactly the wrong kind of symbolism. If Republicans want to make this their symbol … they’ll pay a high price for it.”

As much as the Republican establishment has wished that Donald Trump would disappear, it ought to be quite clear to them by now that the problem isn’t The Donald. It’s the Trump phenomenon. And that’s a problem for which the establishment has only itself to blame.

For decades, otherwise clearheaded Republicans have stood by as their rising stars pandered to the worst instincts of the most conservative voters, especially those troubled by the social and cultural transformation wrought by the civil rights movement.

That Southern strategy has been modernized, refurbished and refreshed, but it has never been retired. Since the election of President Barack Obama, it has taken the form of skepticism about his citizenship, assaults on voting rights, and a braying and insulting nativism.

Trump simply came along to harvest the fruits of that destructive strategy. And what a harvest it is.


By: Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2007; The National Memo, August 22, 2015

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates, Immigration Reform | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“OK, This Trump Thing Isn’t Funny Anymore”: Shouting ‘White Power’ At Rallies, Endorsed By The Daily Stormer, The Joke Is Over

It has been more than two months since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, and slowly but surely the entertainment factor as been on the wane and the fear factor has been on the rise.

As his poll numbers steadily keep him in a comfortable first place in the crowded GOP field, and he packs stadiums—receiving raucous applause in Alabama and along the Mexican border—his fiery and divisive rhetoric has taken on a new meaning. His positions have now become the focal point of the GOP field and all candidates must respond to Trump before they can proceed.

What he and his supporters say can no longer be considered a joke. During his rally in Mobile, Alabama, screams of “white power” could be heard from the audience. And last week, two white ex-cons from Boston beat up a homeless Hispanic man, and upon their arrest they told the police, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

In response to the attack, Trump said, “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” He did not initially decry their actions, but later stated on Twitter that he thought the attack was “terrible.”

The joke is over. The horrors of a Trump presidency should not be lost on anyone. His immigration plan calls for the deportation of the estimated 11-12 million undocumented immigrants who have entered via our southern border. This position has definitely stoked the fire of Americans who are not pleased with our immigration policies, but an America that rounds up and forcefully removes a race or class of people is most certainly a dystopian nation that encourages lawlessness and anarchy.

If these policies were enacted, what would prevent American citizens from destroying the documentation of legal Hispanic immigrants, and forcefully deporting them or using the threat of deportation as leverage for rampant abuse? Arizona already has the “show me your papers” provision of SB 1070 that essentially treats Hispanics as illegal until proven innocent.

This reality might seem farfetched, but in fact America has traversed this territory before. My forebears in South Carolina were free persons of color since the late 1700s and lived as second-class citizens, but in the 1860s prior to emancipation, certain municipalities started requesting that FPCs show their papers or be forced into slavery. Many FPCs had never needed papers before, so they regularly went about their lives without documentation.

But overnight this changed. Without papers you were assumed to be a slave, and white America would see to it that you were “returned” to a life of slavery. Additionally, it was illegal to educate blacks in South Carolina, so some FPCs were illiterate, and therefore even if they had documentation it was difficult for them to prove the papers’ legitimacy. Many FPCs ran for their lives, and attempted to flee the state, but countless of them were rounded up and forced into slavery.

Essentially, even though 150 years may have passed, too many Americans are still advocating for oppressive, segregationist, and pre-Civil War policies. But this time these Americans may have decided to direct most of their hatred towards a different shade of people.

When you examine Trump’s unilateral and authoritarian foreign policy positions more red flags are raised. Invading a country to take its oil is something America has already attempted with dire consequences. Does he honestly think that he can force Mexico to pay for the construction of a wall along our border?

Concerning women’s issues and basic respect for another person he is equally troubling, and the rekindling of his vile and sexist war of words with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly shows this. He again called her a bimbo and demeaned her physical appearance. If these were merely the comments of a clown, we could brush them off and ignore them. But when it is a billionaire clown that is the GOP presidential front-runner, we all should be incredibly concerned. If this man had the authority to create and approve laws, what would his policies regarding women’s rights look like?

Even his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” stokes a nationalistic fervor that makes some Americans—predominately conservative white Americans—feel as though they are under attack from ruinous anti-American elements that need to be defeated. Yet if American greatness existed prior to the 1960s, I am sure that countless other Americans would not want to return to that era, which sure wasn’t very welcoming for them.

In another time and another place we would probably view Trump’s rise to prominence along a fascist trajectory similarly to the European movements of the early 20th century and discuss his every move as a cautionary tale, but as of yet we have not. But we should pay attention when the Daily Stormer, a conservative, Neo-Nazi and white nationalist publication, endorses Trump for president, as it did Tuesday.

This is alarming. Yet I wonder if this lack of alarm exists because his language is not foreign to American society. We have always proclaimed ourselves to be a meritocratic society where anyone can work his way to the top with hard work, but parallel to this narrative was the reality that persons of color have always had limited opportunities for advancement. Therefore, it has always been commonplace to demean the poor and/or persons of color because they supposedly had “earned” their lower station in life due to an assumed predisposition toward sloth or some other negative activity.

As long as America ignored its oppressive structures then people had an unlimited license to demean and ridicule people who they felt had “earned” less than they. It now became acceptable to fabricate negative narratives to explain an oppressed group’s lower station in life, and Trump is invoking this cultural trait to a dangerous effect.

Trump is rallying his supporters around a narrative of nationalistic pride, collective frustration, and dehumanizing language regarding persons of color and women, and this cannot be a platform American society can embrace again. Our collective fear concerning his candidacy should be about what era of America’s past he wants to return us to in his quest to “Make America Great Again.”


By: Barrett Holmes Pitner, The Daily Beast, August 27, 2015

August 28, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Persons of Color, White Supremacy | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Bad News, Republicans”: Donald Trump Is Practically Bulletproof

This time, he’s gone too far. That’s what Republicans said after Donald Trump insulted John McCain over his military record, people lined up to criticize Trump and the party’s leaders hoped this ridiculous (if entertaining) political reality show could finally be wound down. But it didn’t turn out that way, and now they’re saying it all over again, after Trump sparred with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly during Thursday’s debate, then continued to throw insults at her all weekend. As The Post’s Philip Rucker and Robert Costa wrote yesterday, “Republican leaders who have watched Donald Trump’s summer surge with alarm now believe that his presidential candidacy has been contained and may begin to collapse because of his repeated attacks on a Fox News Channel star and his refusal to pledge his loyalty to the eventual GOP nominee.”

Perhaps they really believe that in their hearts. Or perhaps they hope that if they tell themselves and the rest of the world it’s true, then it will come to pass.

Trump’s campaign may be a chaotic mess, as Costa and Rucker report today, but for the moment, it doesn’t seem to matter. The only poll released since the debate is this one from NBC News, which was conducted online and uses a sample drawn from people who have taken Survey Monkey polls. While they attempt to make it as representative as possible (with a large sample and weighting for demographics), it would be a good idea to wait for confirmation from other polls before putting too much stock in it. Nevertheless, the poll showed Trump still at the top with 23 percent support among Republicans. Don’t be surprised if the other polls we see in the next few days show his support essentially unchanged. I suspect that the people who are behind him don’t care if he threatens to run as an independent or if he insults women, just like they didn’t care that he jabbed at McCain and said we ought to deport 11 million people. It’s a feature, not a bug.

If this were an ordinary Republican presidential primary campaign — one obvious front-runner, five or six other candidates taking long-shot bids, a predictable arc in which a challenger emerges to that front-runner and is eventually vanquished — the presence of a character like Trump might not make much of a difference. In a year like that, he might still have managed to get support from the same one out of five primary voters who are backing him now, but it wouldn’t have put him at the front of the pack and made him the center of the campaign. After a while, he probably would have gotten bored and dropped out.

But it’s plain that as long as Trump is ahead of the other candidates, he can convince himself he’s going to win. With 17 candidates splitting the vote and the next-highest contender managing to garner only 12 or 13 percent, that could be for quite some time.

If you’re a Republican, you may be telling yourself that this will get sorted out eventually, and your party will get itself a real nominee. And you’d be right. But by the time that happens, the party will have spent months tying itself in knots. The voters Trump represents will be only more convinced that their party is, in the words Trump himself might use, a bunch of total losers. The GOP’s image is already hurting, not only among voters in general but also among its own partisans; according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, 32 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party, and only 68 percent of Republicans view it favorably (86 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of their party).

Keep this in mind, too: While Trump may be setting out to alienate one key demographic group after another, his opponents are doing much the same thing, albeit in slightly less vivid ways. Trump calls Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers, but the other Republicans are offering Hispanic voters exactly what Mitt Romney and John McCain did, i.e., not much. Trump insults women with, shall we say, colorful language. But in that same Thursday debate, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio emphatically declared their support for banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Their friends on Capitol Hill are trying to stop women from getting health care at Planned Parenthood, a position Barack Obama pummeled Romney for in 2012.

True to form, Trump himself is insisting that women will actually will flock to his campaign, just as he said Hispanics would. As he said on yesterday’s “Face the Nation,” “I will be phenomenal to the women.” (I was hoping he’d add, “And then, when the women hit their forties, I’ll trade them in for younger, prettier women, to whom I’ll also be phenomenal.” No such luck, though.)

While all this is going on, Hillary Clinton is waltzing toward the Democratic nomination with a bunch of popular policy proposals (today she’ll unveil a plan to make college more affordable) and a broad electoral coalition. That isn’t to say that Clinton doesn’t have her own image problems, but her eventual Republican opponent will have to slog his way through this crazy primary, offering voters reasons not to vote Republican all along the way.

So the next time Donald Trump says something outrageous or offensive (or, more likely, both) and Republican leaders say that this is finally going to be the end of his campaign, remember that you heard it before.


By: Paul Walman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, August 10, 2015

August 11, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primary Debates, Republicans | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Blind Spots Are Unacceptable”: Presidential Candidates Will Need To Listen

The most recent AP-GfK poll found something interesting.

Even as the public remains closely divided about his presidency, Barack Obama is holding on to his support from the so-called “Obama coalition” of minorities, liberals and young Americans, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows, creating an incentive for the next Democratic presidential nominee to stick with him and his policies.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, by comparison, is viewed somewhat less favorably by the key voting groups whose record-setting turnout in 2008 propelled Obama to the White House and will be crucial to her own success.

Roughly two-thirds of Hispanics view Obama favorably, compared to just over half of Hispanics who say the same about Clinton. Among self-identified liberals, Obama’s favorability stands at 87 percent, to Clinton’s 72 percent. Half of Americans under the age of 30 view Obama favorably, compared to just 38 percent for his former secretary of state.

The findings offer a window into the factors at play as Clinton decides how closely to embrace Obama, his record and his policies in her campaign for president. Although associating herself with Obama could turn off some independent and Republican-leaning voters, electoral math and changing demographics make it critical for Democrats to turn out high numbers of Hispanics, African Americans and young voters.

From the moment Hillary Clinton officially launched her 2016 campaign, it has been clear that she is actively courting “the Obama coalition.” She came out of the gate talking about things like criminal justice reform, immigration reform and voting rights – all issues that are of primary concern to people of color, especially young people. Based on reports like this, that is not an accident.

“This is the strongest start when it comes to diversity in presidential politics that I’ve seen and I’ve been doing this for over 20 years,” says Jamal Simmons, a principal at The Raben Group, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm. “She is hiring Black and Latino department heads and women in important positions. It’s aggressive and to be commended.”

According to Simmons, it’s not only the Democratic thing to do because the party says it values diversity, but it’s also important to have people on her staff who come from the same communities as her prospective voters.

Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, agrees.

“The first thing [such hires] does is show our community that the campaign is concerned about who we are and what our issues are and I think that’s very, very important,” she said. “It also says to our community that there are people in that campaign with whom we have some genuine ability to talk to and who understand what we’re talking about.”

To the extent that Hillary listens to the diverse members of her staff, she is unlikely to make the same mistakes that Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders did yesterday in response to challenges from people involved in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They will tell her things like: saying “all lives matter” is “perceived as erasure rather than inclusion” and that tackling the issue of income inequality is a necessary but insufficient way to address structural racism.

Like it or not, this presidential campaign is going to require candidates to deal with the issues that are important to people of color, and white people inherently have blind spots in those areas. It will become increasingly important for candidates to pay heed to the words of the Dalai Lama.


By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, July 19, 2015

July 20, 2015 Posted by | Election 2016, Minorities, Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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