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“Ugly Rhetoric Of The GOP Primaries”: The Republican Candidates Are Finding New And Innovative Ways To Alienate Minorities

It’s safe to say that the Republican nominee for president, whoever he ends up being, will not be getting too many votes from Muslim Americans. Or possibly any votes at all.

Donald Trump who claimed falsely that thousands of Muslims celebrated the downing of the Twin Towers, and who wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States, is still leading the polls. The one who said that no Muslim should be allowed to be president isn’t doing so well; Ben Carson just fired much of his staff and his campaign is obviously melting down. But Marco Rubio, who appears to be on the rise, sent a clear message to Muslims on Wednesday, which we’ll get to in a moment.

The point, though, isn’t that the Muslim vote will be critical to the 2016 outcome; Muslims make up only around 1 percent of the U.S. population, and many of them are not yet citizens and so aren’t eligible to vote. But the rancid Islamophobia on display in the Republican primary campaign is more than a threat to Republicans’ showing among Muslim voters, it’s a threat to their prospects among all non-white voters. Combine it with the way Republicans have talked about immigration and the way they’ve talked about President Obama, and you could hardly have assembled a better case to minorities that they should reject the GOP.

Back to what happened this week: President Obama visited a mosque in Baltimore on Wednesday, the first such visit of his presidency. He hit familiar notes in his speech, condemning hate crimes against Muslims and noting the long history of Islam in America. He acknowledged a young woman in the audience, Ibtihaj Muhammad, who will be representing the United States in fencing at this summer’s Olympics — in her hijab. “At a time when others are trying to divide us along lines of religion or sect,” he said, “we have to reaffirm that most fundamental of truths: We are all God’s children.”

For Marco Rubio, that statement of unity was just too much to bear. “I’m tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president’s done,” he told an audience in New Hampshire. “Always pitting people against each other. Always! Look at today: He gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.” Indeed, what could be more divisive than a plea for solidarity and understanding?

Donald Trump also weighed in on the president’s visit to a mosque, saying, “Maybe he feels comfortable there.” Because he might be a secret Muslim, get it? Ha ha!

Think for a moment about how a member of any minority group — African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, Muslim, Jew, Pacific Islander — would view everything that has gone on in this primary campaign, and how inclined it might make them feel to vote for whichever candidate the Republicans nominate.

We often assume that the effect of something like Trump’s comments on Muslims or the GOP debate on who hates “amnesty” the most will only affect the opinions of the particular group being targeted at that moment. But everyone else hears those things too. For people who have the experience of being a minority in America, it doesn’t go unnoticed when one party communicates that it’s actively hostile to people who aren’t white and Christian. Even if you’re, say, Asian-American and you haven’t heard a GOP candidate attack people like you specifically, you’ll probably suspect that that’s only because they haven’t gotten around to it yet. In case you were wondering, Asian-Americans gave Barack Obama 73 percent of their votes in 2012, and they’re the fastest-growing minority group in the country.

The other critical fast-growing group is, of course, Hispanics. While we don’t yet know who the GOP nominee will be, we know that he’ll be someone who spent an awful lot of time condemning undocumented immigrants and trying to get to his opponents’ right on “amnesty.” And as multiple demographic analyses (see here or here) have shown, if Republicans don’t dramatically improve their performance among Hispanics, it will be all but mathematically impossible for them to win.

That’s not even to mention African-Americans, the most loyal segment of the Democratic coalition. They were certainly energized by the presence of the first African-American president on the ticket, and do you think they’ll be motivated to vote against the Republicans who attack Barack Obama with such venom?

There is the chance, however, that the GOP could have the first Hispanic major-party nominee in 2016. But it’s impossible to say how much of an impact Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz would have on the Hispanic vote.

Many knowledgeable Hispanic politicos (at least the Democratic ones) argue that it wouldn’t change Hispanic voters’ feelings much, for three reasons: First, Rubio and Cruz are both Cuban-American, and the ties of solidarity between Cubans and people whose heritage is Mexican or Salvadoran or anything else aren’t as strong as some might think (this is even more true for Cruz, who unlike Rubio doesn’t speak fluent Spanish). Second, Hispanic voters are keenly aware of the policy differences between them and the GOP, differences that have been heightened during the campaign. And third, Rubio or Cruz wouldn’t be able to escape the message of hostility their party has sent to Hispanic voters for years, but especially this year.

They’ll have trouble escaping it not only because of the clear record of the primaries — which among other things included Cruz making clear his opposition to birthright citizenship, a bedrock American principle — but because they’ll find themselves assaulted relentlessly by other Hispanics who oppose them. Recently, Jorge Ramos, the most influential Hispanic journalist in America, wrote a scorching column criticizing Rubio and Cruz (among others), in which he said, “There is no greater disloyalty than the children of immigrants forgetting their own roots. That’s a betrayal.” Expect to see a lot more of that in the general election.

You can also expect to see the Republican nominee take a drastically different tone on issues like immigration once the general election rolls around, because he’ll have a different audience and a different set of voters to persuade. He’ll play down the positions he has taken, and talk in more welcoming, inclusive terms. He’ll pull people of all races up on stage with him. The appeals he makes to white resentment will become more subtle and implicit.

In short, whoever that nominee is, he’ll try to make everyone forget the ugly rhetoric of the Republican primaries. But by then it will probably be too late.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Week, February 5, 2016

February 7, 2016 Posted by | GOP Primaries, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Trump Bullies The Press — And The Press Yawns”: Same Press Corp That Writes Endlessly About Hillary Clinton’s Relationship

“I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly.” Trump attorney Michael Cohen threatening a reporter.

It’s sad that Donald Trump is normalizing so many unsavory traits with his presidential push this season. He’s normalizing bigotry and xenophobia in the campaign arena, for instance. He’s also mainstreaming the manhandling of the press.

Just ask Trip Gabriel.

The New York Times reporter was tossed out of a Trump event in Iowa last week. He was thrown out by a Trump staff member and a local police officer who suggested he was following the orders of Trump’s Iowa campaign chief. (Days earlier, Grabriel had written a piece that raised questions about Trump’s ground game in Iowa.)

On the surface, that’s a shocking event: the Republican frontrunner’s campaign singling out a Times reporter and having him physically ousted. But since last summer, this type of bullying behavior has become quite common, and the media’s response has become nearly mute. Indeed, Gabriel’s ejection was noted in the media but didn’t seem to set off any loud alarm.

Covering Trump today means being confined to metal barrier press pens at events. It means rarely being allowed to ask the candidate questions and being the target of vicious insults from the candidate and his fans. (One CBS reporter covering a rally was recently asked by a Trump supporter if he was taking pictures on behalf of ISIS.)

Trump and his campaign push the press around at will and they pay no real price. If anything, Trump gets showered with more press attention despite calling out reporters as “scum”; despite denouncing them as liars and cheats at his campaign rallies.

On and on the bullying goes and the pushback remains minimal. This is a profound embarrassment for the national press corps. It’s a profound embarrassment for editors and producers in positions of influence who have voluntarily acquiesced their power in order to bow down to Trump and his campaign road show.

The gleeful bullying of the press meshes with the bullying that often goes on at Trump rallies, where violence percolates. Like those thug rallies, we’ve certainly never seen this kind of behavior from a major party’s political frontrunner.

But like the Trump rallies, where’s the indignation over the constant press intimidation? Where are the outraged editorials? Where are the endless, handwringing TV panel debates about what Trump’s hatred of the press really means; what it tells us about his possible character flaws, and his would-be presidency.

It’s possible the press doesn’t want to make itself the story, that it wants to maintain its role as observers and not newsmaker and that’s why it has refrained from turning Trump’s bullying into a big story. That theory takes a hit though when you consider the same press corps has written endlessly about Hillary Clinton’s relationship with the press and has stressed over and over what a central role reporters play in her White House push.

It’s true that last November, representatives from several news networks banded together and held a call to discuss “how embeds and reporters from outlets are being treated” by the Trump campaign.

But as Huffington Post‘s Michael Calderone recently reported, the Trump campaign seems uninterested in the press complaints: “In recent weeks, journalists have again been ordered not to leave the press pen by campaign staffers and volunteers and even Secret Service agents, according to reporters who were granted anonymity to speak candidly. Journalists also said they were not allowed to approach the candidate to ask questions after events.”

Journalists: We think you’re treating us badly.

Trump campaign: We don’t care what you think.

Consider:

*At a recent Trump rally, a Huffington Post reporter noted, “that a Secret Service agent stepped up to help when a Trump campaign staffer tried to interfere with his reporting.”

*Trump bashed Fox News host Megyn Kelly as “bitter” and “overrated,” called NBC’s Chuck Todd “pathetic,” and announced most journalists are “absolute scum.”

*Asked about allegations from a 1993 book that Trump had sexually assaulted his then-wife Ivana Trump (she later recanted the claim), Donald Trump’s attorney threatened a Daily Beast reporter: “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

*At a South Carolina rally, Trump mocked and mimicked a New York Times reporter who suffers from a chronic condition called arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his arms.

*His campaign barred a BuzzFeed reporter from attending an event in Newton, Iowa, denied Des Moines Register and Huffington Post reporters press credentials to campaign events, and barred reporters from Fusion from covering a Trump event in Doral, Florida.

*Univision anchor Jorge Ramos was physically removed from a Trump press conference.

*A security guard at an Iowa rally threatened to eject any reporter who interviewed Trump supporters: “You talk to people and you leave.”

*At a South Carolina event, Trump derided NBC’s Katy Tur as “Little Katy, third-rate journalist.” Trump fans then rained boos down on Tur, according to the Daily Beast.

One more, from the Washington Post:

After CNN reporter Noah Gray left “the pen” to document a group of protesters who unveiled a sign reading “Migrant lives matter,” Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski turned to campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and said: “Hey: Tell Noah, get back in the pen or he’s f***** blacklisted,” according to a recording of the incident.

This type of behavior is completely unprecedented. If a leading Democrat were guilty of any of the above transgressions, there would be a roiling Beltway media revolt that would denounce the Democratic campaign continuously. Uninterrupted.

But the Trump campaign has committed all of the above offenses. So why is it mostly crickets from the same press corps?

 

By: Eric Boehlert, Senior Fellow, Media Matters for America, January 20, 2016

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Washington Press Corp | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Adding Insult With Significant Physical Injury”: The 2016 Campaign Joke That’s No Longer Funny — Just Violent

Let’s be honest: We’ve all been kind of enjoying watching Donald Trump, even if the prospect of him becoming the next president makes many of us shudder in horror.

But as he continues to lead in national polls, Trump’s campaign is giving us all another reason to pause: As of late, physical violence has been following the candidate on the campaign trail, and leaving those who dare challenge his offensive remarks and policy positions shaken up at best, banged up and bruised at worst. The common thread among those attacked by Trump’s goons (both hired and not): They’re all Latino men.

On Thursday, while Donald Trump was signing a GOP loyalty oath, promising to back the winning Republican presidential nominee and not run as an independent should he lose the party’s nomination, one of his security guards ripped a sign away from protesters outside Trump Tower in New York City and then hit a protester in the face after the man attempted to retrieve the sign.

The large blue banner read, “Make America Racist Again,” a play on Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

In news video footage, the protester who was hit, Efraín Galicia, is seen chasing after the security guard. As Galicia attempts to take back the sign, the guard turns and hits him in the face.

“These men are acting just like their boss, Donald Trump, pushing Jorge Ramos from Univision out,” Galicia said of the guards. “This man thinks he can do whatever he wants in this country, and we’re going to stop him.”

“The Trump campaign said that the security team member on Thursday was ‘jumped from behind’ and that the campaign would ‘likely be pressing charges,’” The New York Times reports.

This week’s strong-arming follows an August incident in which journalist Jorge Ramos was physically removed from a Trump campaign event by a security guard — who appears to be the same man who struck the protester outside Trump Tower.

When Ramos attempted to ask Trump a question about immigration, without being acknowledged to speak by The Donald, Trump told him to sit down and “Go back to Univision.” Later, Trump said he was not a bully, and Ramos “was totally out of line.”

In the most physically violent example of what Trump and his campaign have wrought, two of the candidate’s supporters in Boston allegedly beat and urinated on a homeless Latino man, after which one of the attackers reportedly told police, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

The survivor of the assault, a 58-year-old man who had been sleeping on the street, had his nose broken and chest and arms beaten by the suspects, two brothers who were leaving a Boston Red Sox game.

Adding insult to significant physical injury, Trump’s immediate comment on the attack was callous and cruel. The Boston Globe reports:

Trump, told of the alleged assault, said “it would be a shame … 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.”

Later, he tempered his original statement, claiming on Twitter that he “would never condone violence.”

Boston incident is terrible. We need energy and passion, but we must treat each other with respect. I would never condone violence.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2015

He “would never condone violence,” Trumps says, but he would, and has, proposed deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, stripping citizenship rights from the American children of undocumented immigrants, and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out immigrants, refugees, and political asylum seekers fleeing poverty and violence in their countries. He has also said he would bomb nations in the Middle East and take their oil by military force. But, again, he “would never condone violence.”

While Trump himself has not put his hands on anyone, his rhetoric against undocumented immigrants, his choice of words, which dehumanizes Latino immigrants as “illegals,” and his responses to the violent altercations occurring in his name make him responsible.

What began as comical media fodder that has kept us smiling in disgust during the start of the long 2016 presidential campaign season has devolved into violent hate with bodily consequences. And with five months to go until the GOP primaries begin, Americans should be worried about how politics, sometimes described as the civilized exertion of power, is turning into a blood sport.

 

By: Matt Surrusco, The National Memo, September 4, 2015

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Latinos, Physical Violence | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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