It isn't just the presidential candidates; almost every Republican governor has declared that he or she will refuse to accept any Syrian refugees (even though they don't actually have that legal authority), and Republicans in Congress are rushing to pass a bill to stop refugees from coming (which will likely get the support of plenty of cowardly Democrats).
And despite the hope of some in the GOP establishment that voters would now turn toward more "serious" candidates, the polls that have been released since the Paris attacks show Donald Trump gaining strength and sitting firmly atop the field. Yahoo News published a truly extraordinaryinterview with Trump on Thursday, in which he all but said that because there was a terrorist attack in France, we have to not only shred the Constitution, but betray every value we claim to hold dear:
To say that it is hard to figure out what Donald Trump is talking about is to state the obvious. But sometimes I have to try because he is in fact running for president and he’s addressing important issues, or at least sort of talking about them.
The latest example is the issue of whether the United States should continue taking in Syrian refugees. A bill now in Congress would kill the program under which the United States has agreed to accept a paltry 10,000 refugees from the millions displaced by the violence in the Middle East. Only 2 percent are single men of fighting age; all have been screened already by the United Nations; and all will be screened again, repeatedly, by American security agencies.
That’s not good enough for politicians like Speaker Paul Ryan who are cynically exploiting fear, ignorance and panic to score cheap political points to push this bill through. Some are calling it a “pause,” which is misleading. It would create an indefinite halt to allowing refugees into our country based solely on their national origin. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, as he should.
So what does Donald Trump think? Nothing sensible.
Not only would he prevent these 10,000 people, largely old people and women with children, from entering the country, but he would also require Muslims to register in a national database. “They have to be,” he said, adding for eloquent emphasis: “They have to be.”
He hasn’t got the foggiest idea how this would happen, except that it would be in “different places.” Like railroad yards at night in the rain, with guard dogs keeping them under control? Then what? Would they all wear little yellow crescent moons on their jackets so everyone would know they were a) Muslim and b) registered?
The ascendance of European far-right partiesover the past decade has laid out a tempting path for Trump. The parallels between Trump’s brand of American right populism and European working-class conservatism are striking.
First, both movements demonize immigrants in language that even traditional politicians who share their views ordinarily reject.
“Without any action, this migratory influx will be like the barbarian invasion of the fourth century, and the consequences will be the same,” Marine Le Pen, president of the National Front in France, declared at a September rally in a suburb of Paris.
“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” Trump declared on June 15. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Trump and much of the anti-immigrant European right support domestic social programs that provide universal benefits — benefits like Medicare and Social Security, available equally to all citizens, regardless of income or economic status. This separates right populism from fiscal conservatism, which calls for paring back or privatizing services, or means testing eligibility for them.
Okay. Let's break this down.
The comments in question came after a Trump campaign event in Iowa on Thursday. (Video of the entire exchange is here.) An NBC reporter asks him "should there be a database that tracks the Muslims in this country?"
Trump responds: "There should be a lot of systems beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems, and today you can do it. Right now we have to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall."
The reporter follows up by asking whether that is something a Trump White House would be interested in.
"I would certainly implement that," Trump says. "I would stop people from coming in illegally."
He is then asked by the reporter: "How do you get them registered?"
"It would be good management," Trump responds. "Good management procedures."
Seems pretty straightforward, right?
Murshed Zaheed, who as worked for Sen. Reid as well as Rep. Slaughter.:
It sadly comes as no surprise to see the radical “leaders” of the Republican party ignoring that dark history, and stoking fear-mongering and bigotry. The Republicans’ leading Presidential candidates are openly channeling the Third Reich by suggesting special IDs for Muslims in America, andcomparing refugees to “rabid dogs.”
But how do you react to the political cowardice of someone like Congresswoman Slaughter losing their perspective on history?
A good place to start is to listen to Vice President Joe Biden, who took the time to answer a reporter’s question about the Syrian refugees, observing, “[O]ne way to make sure that the terrorists win, is for us to begin to change our values.” The Vice President added later in the day that our country is in danger of losing it’s “soul” over the fear-mongering against refugees.
It’s always affirming to see Senator Reid tenaciously fighting the good fight, but I never expected Congresswoman Slaughter to lose her soul.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, the new Washington Post/ABC News pollportrays a nation fearful of more terrorist attacks, ready for more war (including sending in ground troops), opposed to admitting more refugees, and quick to dispense with any niceties about civil liberties:
— By 54-43, Americans oppose taking in refugees from the conflicts in Syria and other Mideast countries even after screening them for security.
— By 52-47, Americans are not confident that the U.S. can identify and keep out possible terrorists who may be among these refugees. (One bright spot: 78 percent of Americans don’t think religion should be considered in determining whether to accept refugees.)
— By 81-18, Americans think it is likely that there will be a terrorist attack in the U.S. in the near future that will cause large numbers of lives to be lost.
— By 55-45, Americans are not confident in the ability of the U.S. government to prevent further terror attacks against Americans here.
— By 72-25, Americans say that it is more important for the government to investigate terror threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy, rather than refraining from intruding on personal privacy.
The mayor of a small southwestern Virginia city apologized on Friday for suggesting that Syrian refugees should be treated like the Japanese Americans who were sent to interment camps during World War II.
“It’s just not in my heart to be racist or bigoted,” Roanoke Mayor David Bowers (D) said, according to Roanoke TV station WDBJ. “I apologize to all of those offended by my remarks. No one else is to blame, but me.”
Bowers offered the apology as the City Council held an afternoon meeting to address the uproar over his comments earlier this week.
On Wednesday, Bowers wrote a letter requesting that all government and non-government organizations in the city of 99,000 suspend any assistance to Syrian refugees “until these serious hostilities and atrocities end.”