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“Glad You Finally Noticed”: Latinos Are The One Group That Was Onto Donald Trump From The Start

A few weeks ago, during an appearance on CNN, a journalist who works for a conservative website said what many other political observers have been thinking: “Donald Trump is just not funny anymore.”

That is the popular meme that has been circulating throughout the media and the chattering class of pundits, analysts, and anyone else with an opinion and a burning desire to share it. I’ve heard it multiple times in the last several weeks, this idea that the Republican frontrunner is no longer as amusing and entertaining as he was a few months ago but has morphed into something divisive, demagogic, and dangerous.

I don’t know what planet these folks live on. But you can be sure that, wherever it is, there are no Latinos on it.

There are however scores of Latinos in the United States who—because of Trump’s boorish knack for insulting Mexico and Mexican immigrants, literally from the moment that he leapt off the starting blocks and announced his candidacy on June 16 — would say that Trump was never much fun to begin with.

We sure didn’t take much joy from his nativist swipes at Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail and crass insinuations that Bush is a moderate on immigration because his wife, Columba, was born in Mexico before coming to the United States legally and becoming a U.S. citizen. And while we would agree that the real estate mogul can be described as divisive, demagogic, and dangerous, many of us are wondering what took the rest of America so long to figure this out.

For much of the nation’s largest minority—the estimated 54 million people who make up the U.S. Latino population, less than 20 percent of whom have a favorable opinion of Trump, according to polls—the billionaire blowhard didn’t just become the GOP’s problem child overnight. The truth is that he has been that way since the moment he claimed, without a sliver of evidence to back it up, that Mexico was “sending” the United States its worst people—including rapists, murderers, and other criminals.

The media seem to have missed this part of the story. They know that Latinos don’t like Trump, but they don’t really understand just how deep this animosity goes or how long it is likely to last. They must think that Latinos will just eventually get over Trump’s tirades, which only illustrates how little they know about Latinos. When we hold grudges, we think in terms of centuries. So, in all likelihood, Latinos are going to be hating on Trump for a long time.

Let’s start at the beginning. For the first five months of his presidential bid, the real estate mogul was a novelty. This quality made him attractive to Republican primary voters and irresistible to a broadcast media that was starved for ratings and ad revenue. With the subtlety of an air strike, Trump said what was on his mind, without a filter, consultants, or handlers. He didn’t use focus groups or rely on polling before making major pronouncements or suggesting radical shifts in policy. He ripped into both political parties with equal enthusiasm, and called out opponents by name. If there is some unwritten code of professional courtesy that keeps politicians from telling us how they really feel about one another, The Donald didn’t get a copy. In just about every way you could imagine, he was refreshing and even—and dare we say it—fun.

In fact, as if to emphasize that point, the Huffington Post initially featured stories about Trump not in its “Politics” but in that portion of the site dedicated to “Entertainment.” It’s also worth noting that, with few exceptions, and with some early attempts to poke at Trump by repeating and amplifying some of his controversial remarks, the Fourth Estate has, for the most part, been on friendly terms with the presidential hopeful.

I remember the exact moment when this epiphany hit me. It was November 12, and while on the road for a speech I was watching CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” Trump was the guest, and the topic was immigration. The dialogue between host and guest was cordial, and Burnett—who was formerly a financial news reporter—kept referring to Trump by his first name. It was Donald this, and Donald that.

I have a tough time imaging Burnett or, for that matter, anyone else in the media casually referring to other 2016 presidential candidates as “Jeb” or “Hillary.”

Of course, Jeb and Hillary have proper honorific titles that Trump lacks, I know that. But how about going with: “Mr. Trump?” There’s a weird chumminess to it. For the New York media, much of their familiarity with Trump comes from the fact the real estate tycoon is, shall we say, “from the neighborhood.” His spectacular Manhattan penthouse atop Trump Tower is just a short limousine ride from some of the skyscrapers that house the major television networks.

Besides, it certainly didn’t hurt that—even for a Republican—Trump is considered by many to be a moderate on social issues. He also has a long history of contributing to and voting for Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton.

Whatever the reason, Trump spent the first five months of his presidential campaign gliding along on a magic carpet of friendly media coverage. He took care of the media, by being available at a moment’s notice when they called and by consistantly delivering high ratings. And the media took care of The Donald by giving him tens of millions dollars in earned media and handling him with kid gloves.

But then came the sixth month—December—when, after being atop dozens of polls for weeks on end, The Donald suddenly became less fun and more scary.

The tipping point came on the fateful day of Dec. 7. That’s when Trump shocked the country by calling for a temporary freeze on visas for Muslims seeking to enter the United States.

Just a few days earlier, a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, carried out by supporters of the Islamic State, had killed 14 people and wounded 22 others. Worried that elements of the U.S. Muslim community might be in cahoots with terrorists, Trump urged a moratorium on Muslims traveling to the United States until “our leaders figure out what the hell is going on.”

That’s a good question: What the hell is going on? Many Americans really want to know the answer to that question. And they agree with Trump that the Obama administration doesn’t have a clue about the enemy or how to fight it. And, in the absence of any serious and meaningful policy from the White House, Trump has filled the vacuum. In fact, according to the polls, a majority of people agree with the candidate’s proposed moratorium on Muslims getting visas. What sounds controversial to some strikes others as common sense.

But the media and the chattering class aren’t buying any of it. The proposal rubbed them the wrong way. They pounced on Trump immediately. Some insisted that he is a bigot. Others accused him of stoking fears and resorting to demagoguery in order to pick on people who don’t have a voice.

To which, Latinos can only wince and respond: “Gee, you don’t say?”

 

By: Ruben Navarrette, Jr., The Daily Beast, January 4, 2016

January 5, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Latinos, Mainstream Media | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Blood, Sweat And Trump”: The Fluids Of Women In Particular Rattle Trump

Everybody pees.

That’s actually the name of a public service campaign by the National Kidney Foundation, and I thought it a needless statement of the obvious until Donald Trump brought me to my senses. Apparently some people think that the laws of urology don’t apply to them. Apparently Trump is in this category.

On Monday he said this of Hillary Clinton’s mid-debate bathroom break: “I know where she went. It’s disgusting. I don’t want to talk about it. No, it’s too disgusting.”

He didn’t specify why. But it’s difficult to find anything indecorous about Clinton’s behavior unless you see it as entirely volitional and utterly controllable — something you do to indulge yourself, something that can be put off for hours or forever, an emblem of your weakness. I guess in Trump’s world, only “low energy” people need to go.

That would make sense, given how fantastical his cosmos is. It’s a place where thousands of Muslims in New Jersey publicly cheer the fall of the World Trade Center; where a stretch of the Potomac River alongside a Virginia golf club of his magically becomes a Civil War site; where his own net worth changes by an order of billions from one moment to the next, in accordance with his need to puff up his chest.

Why wouldn’t it also be a place where people relieve themselves only if they’re losers and they’re intent on a messiness that they can avoid? Maybe Trump really doesn’t pee. Maybe he outsources that to a Mexican immigrant in his employ.

You have to hand it to him: He divines character flaws where no one else could or would. Through his warped lens, there’s shame in John McCain’s imprisonment in Vietnam, horror in Clinton’s use of a toilet, dysfunction in each bead of Marco Rubio’s sweat.

Those last two items underscore his bizarre obsession with, and objection to, body fluids. In early November, Daniel Lippman of Politico noted that Trump had “remarked on Rubio’s perspiration at least eight times in the last seven weeks.” On two of those occasions, Trump suggested that sweating would put Rubio at a disadvantage in negotiations with Vladimir Putin, who would find him too soggy.

The fluids of women in particular rattle Trump. When a lawyer who was questioning him during a 2011 deposition asked for a break so that she could leave the room and pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter, he was unhinged.

“You’re disgusting,” he berated her, according to a story in The Times earlier this year by Michael Barbaro and Steve Eder. Then he stormed out of the deposition.

More famously, he reflected on Megyn Kelly’s interrogation of him at the first Republican presidential debate by saying that “you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

Clinton’s bathroom break — or, more precisely, Trump’s revulsion toward it — lies at the intersection of his misogyny and his fastidiousness. He’s a germophobe who once labeled himself “a clean hands freak,” called handshakes a “terrible custom” and said that the obligation to engage in them was one of the great curses of celebrity like his.

Even so, a kidney doctor I know was baffled by his latest outburst.

“Urine is sterile,” Maya Rao, an assistant professor of nephrology at Columbia University, pointed out. “It’s not ‘disgusting.’ Wow. I literally feel like I’m dealing with an elementary-school child and we’re talking about cooties.”

Trump is routinely — and rightly — tagged as a playground bully, but that phrase doesn’t do full justice to his arrested development, his potty mouth and the puerile nature of his vulgar bleats.

He taunts people for being unpopular, for being unattractive, for physical disabilities. The altitude of his debate vocabulary is only millimeters above “I know you are but what am I,” words that he’ll surely utter before this is all over.

On Monday he not only cringed at Clinton’s bathroom visit, he mocked her loss in the 2008 presidential election by substituting a phallic verb for the word defeated.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is your Republican front-runner. It’s probably too late to teach him manners, but maybe not to teach him biology: When you imbibe fluids, you excrete fluids, sometimes through sweat, often through urine.

And while “the typical person goes to the bathroom every three or four hours,” said Matthew Rutman, a urologist at Columbia, that frequency increases for someone who’s older, who’s enduring stress, who’s ingesting caffeine. In other words, for most presidential candidates.

Everybody pees. But it’s the rare man-child who finds that worthy of ridicule. And it’s up to voters: Is that the kind of exceptionalism you want in the White House?

 

By: Frank Bruni, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, December 23, 2015

December 23, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates, Hillary Clinton, War On Women | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“He Has Adopted A Retro Racism Strategy”: Donald Trump Is Running The Most Explicitly Racist Campaign Since 1968

Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy is unique and remarkable in many ways. Never before has someone with no experience in government, not even a shred of understanding of public policy, and little in the way of an organized campaign done so well. Trump has been leading the Republican race for nearly five months, and shows no sign of faltering.

And here’s one other way it’s remarkable: After decades of rhetorical evolution from Republicans on matters of race, Donald Trump is now running the most plainly, explicitly, straightforwardly racist campaign since at least George Wallace’s third-party run in 1968, and maybe even Strom Thurmond’s in 1948.

All the way back in 1981, Republican strategist Lee Atwater explained how his party’s candidates had changed the way they talked about race and government to white voters over time. “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger,'” Atwater said. “By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.”

Atwater’s point — that you could get whites to vote on the basis of racial resentments without using explicitly racist language — formed the basis of the GOP’s “Southern Strategy,” first adopted by Richard Nixon. Though you can hear blatant race-baiting just by turning on your favorite conservative radio host (particularly during the Obama presidency), what comes from the man at the top of the ticket has for some time been more subtle. Ronald Reagan may have complained in 1976 about the “strapping young buck” buying steak with his food stamps, and four years later thundered about “welfare queens,” but a Republican candidate today wouldn’t talk in those terms. In 1988, Atwater masterminded the campaign of George Bush, which made “Willie Horton” a household name, convincing voters that Michael Dukakis was going to send murderous, hypersexualized black men to rape their women and kill their men (though not in so many words, of course). But today no GOP nominee would use that story the way the Bush campaign did, because they know they’d be immediately called out for the clear racism of their appeals.

But here comes Donald Trump, who started his campaign by ranting about how Mexican immigrants are rapists and drug dealers — in his announcement speech, no less. It was clear right then that Trump would say what others would only imply. And in the last week or so he has claimed that in Jersey City, “thousands and thousands of people were cheering” as the World Trade Center fell on 9/11. After a Black Lives Matter protester was punched and kicked at a Trump rally, Trump said “Maybe he should have been roughed up.” And he retweeted a graphic with fake statistics about black people supposedly murdering whites, which turns out to have been created by a neo-Nazi.

After innumerable media outlets confirmed that there were no mass celebrations in Jersey City on 9/11, Trump could have said, “I guess you’re right — I was probably remembering scenes I saw of people cheering in the West Bank.” But he didn’t; instead, he insists that he’s right and the facts are wrong. But the real point isn’t that Trump isn’t telling the truth; that has happened many times before and will again. What’s important is the thing Trump is trying to communicate with this story.

It isn’t an argument about the alleged threat posed by Syrian refugees, or something about ISIS (which didn’t exist in 2001). Trump is talking about Americans. He’s telling his supporters: Your Muslim friends and neighbors? They’re not the assimilated, patriotic Americans they want you to believe. They’re not regular people with jobs and families and lives like yours. They’re a threat, people to be surveilled and harassed and hated and feared.

Let’s be clear about one thing: The rest of the Republican Party’s more subtle language on race doesn’t excuse their actions. Making it as hard as possible for black people to vote and stirring up racial resentment on the part of whites are still at the core of GOP strategy. But whether out of the goodness of their hearts or simple political calculation, they’ve agreed that certain kinds of naked bigotry are simply unacceptable in the 21st century.

Donald Trump is not willing to go along with that consensus. So he has adopted a retro racism, telling primary voters in no uncertain terms that if you’re looking for the candidate who will indulge and validate your ugliest impulses, Trump is your man. And nearly as shamefully, his opponents tiptoe around the issue, unwilling to criticize him too severely. Even Chris Christie, whose own constituents are the ones being slandered by Trump’s 9/11 celebration lie, could only muster that “I do not remember that. And so, it’s not something that was part of my recollection. I think if it had happened, I would remember it. But, you know, there could be things I forget, too.” The supposedly tough guy from Jersey turns out to be a moral coward of the first order.

The reason isn’t hard to discern: Christie and the other candidates don’t want to alienate Trump’s supporters, who are greater in number than those behind any other Republican candidate. And that could be the most disheartening thing of all: not that there’s a candidate willing to make these repugnant appeals, but that so many Republican voters hear them and cheer.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Week, November 25, 2015

November 28, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Racism, White Voters | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Let Us Help With You With That Non-Problem”: GOP Comes Up With A Non-Problem And We All Have To Drop Everything To Address It

It looks like Mitt Romney’s self-deportation immigration reform plan is working out better than anyone expected.

More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from both countries. The same data sources also show the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s, mostly due to a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S.

From 2009 to 2014, 1 million Mexicans and their families (including U.S.-born children) left the U.S. for Mexico, according to data from the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID). U.S. census data for the same period show an estimated 870,000 Mexican nationals left Mexico to come to the U.S., a smaller number than the flow of families from the U.S. to Mexico.

A few years ago there was a non-problem that really got Donald Trump energized. This was the question of whether the president of the United States had actually been born in the United States where his mother and father went to college or if he had been born for some inexplicable reason in Kenya, where neither of them lived. Of course, it didn’t matter either way since his mother was a U.S. citizen, but it was a non-problem that we all had to discuss nonetheless.

Around the same time a new political force came into existence that called itself the Tea Party. “Tea” was an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already.” You want to know what the most remarkable thing was about this movement? As CBS News reported at the time, “as a share of the nation’s economy, Uncle Sam’s take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way.”

In other words, these anti-government activists chose the moment of lowest real federal taxation in more than a half century to launch a ferocious anti-tax campaign. Again, a non-problem that suddenly became something we all had to discuss and reckon with.

We’ve had a lot of these non-problems if you think about it. There was the non-problem with Fast & Furious, which was an ill-advised program begun by the Bush administration. There was the non-problem of professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Shirley Sherrod and Solyndra and ACORN and in-person voter fraud and the IRS and the so-called Benghazi cover-up and the Ebola panic and now Syrian refugees.

We seem to be living in a political world that is driven less by problems than non-problems that the Republicans have dreamed up or trumped up.

Our biggest immediate problems are probably climate change and a crumbling infrastructure, which the Republicans seem incapable of doing anything about. Or, if you think our biggest problem is the rise of a new virulent terrorist organization in the Middle East that is now looking to strike the West, the Republicans are focused on the non-problem of 10,000 highly vetted refugees rather than the millions of lightly vetted tourists who come here each year. In other words, they want us to focus our attention and resources on something that won’t help and that will do nothing to address the actual threat.

But that’s the pattern here. That’s basically all we get with these people. They come up with a non-problem and we all have to drop everything to address it.

It’s not just Hillary’s damn emails that I’m sick of hearing about.

 

By: Martin Longman, Web Editor, Ten Miles Square, The Washington Monthly, November 20, 2015

November 22, 2015 Posted by | GOP, Immigration Reform, Mitt Romney | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Roots Of Political Correctness”: Those Complaining Are Suggesting They Want Freedom To Say Obnoxious Hateful Things

It seems that one of the issues that unites almost all the Republican candidates who are running for president is disgust with the idea of political correctness. It has especially become the rallying cry for Trump and Carson.

When I think of the term, I am immediately reminded of how Lee Atwater described the Southern Strategy in 1981 (excuse the language – it is his, not mine).

You start out in 1954 by saying, “N****r, n****r, n****r.” By 1968 you can’t say “n****r” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N****r, n****r.”

That, my friends, is the root of political correctness. Conservatives recognized that an openly racist platform backfired.

Republicans are more than welcome to go back to the language they used in 1954. Not many of us have been fooled by their “dog whistles” since then anyway. But when they do, they can also expect to be called out as the racist bigots that kind of thing demonstrates. You see…free speech doesn’t simply apply to those who want to be free to say obnoxious things. The rest of us are also free to exercise our own rights to call them out.

We’ve all been witness lately to the fact that Donald Trump is free to suggest that Mexican immigrants are criminals and racists. He’s even free to run for president on a platform of “deport ’em all.” And Ben Carson is free to suggest that the United States should discard things like the Geneva Conventions and torture prisoners of war.

When people complain about political correctness, they are suggesting that they want the freedom to say obnoxious hateful things. But they have always been free to do so. Just don’t expect the rest of us to be quiet when they do. In other words, expect it to backfire.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, August 30, 2015

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Ben Carson, Bigotry, Donald Trump, Racism | , , , , | 1 Comment

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