Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's Not Just Trump -- The Entire GOP Field Is Comprised Of Xenophobic Bigots

Has Donald Trump finally gone too far in calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States?”  When the likes of Dick Cheney -- the torture-loving, fear-mongering war criminal himself -- thinks this is an inappropriate response to domestic terrorism, it should give one pause.  But, really, Trump has done nothing more than take well-honed Republican talking points to their logical ends.  His exploitation of the public's fear in the wake of the violence in Paris and San Bernardino (but not Colorado Springs) to fire up Republican voters with hateful, xenophobic rhetoric is right out of the standard Republican playbook.

Trump's latest comments are perfectly consistent with his campaign strategy that seeks to appeal to the worst aspects of the American psyche and are of a piece with his other abhorrent proposals -- building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, abolishing birthright citizenship for children born to undocumented immigrants, mass deportations, closing mosques, and implementing a Muslim database. 

One would think that any reasonable, responsible, ethical Republican would have called him out long ago.  Perhaps there are no longer any reasonable, responsible, ethical Republicans.  Even now, Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan condemned Trump's latest remarks while acknowledging they would still vote for Trump if he were the Republican nominee. 

The other leading Republican candidates for president understand -- as Trump does -- the importance of stoking fear, panic and hatred to garner the support of the typical Republican voter.  The only difference is that they -- unlike Trump -- seem to understand that at some point they will have to pivot and appeal to the more sane sectors of the populace in order to remain competitive in a national election.  And so, while they agree with Trump's underlying premise that adherents to Islam are presumptively dangerous, they won't go as far as he is willing to go. 

Still, they go pretty far. 

Both Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush have pushed plans that would allow entry to Syrian refugees who are Christian but not Muslim. Ben Carson does not believe a Muslim should be allowed to become president and would also prevent Muslim refugees from entering the country, comparing Syrian refugees to rabid dogs.  Marco Rubio would shut down not only mosques, as Trump has vowed to do, but would close "any facility that’s being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States."  Even the purportedly moderate (by comparison) John Kasich has proposed the creation of a new federal agency that would promote Judeo-Christian beliefs.

As these other Republican candidates denounce Trump's latest outrage, don't be fooled.  There is little daylight between them.  Trump's bombast is merely providing cover for their equally morally bankrupt campaigns


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