One policy paper
. That was all it took for Donald Trump to neutralize the entire GOP field and practically guarantee a Republican loss at the polls in 2016. And despite the media's glee in covering his freak-show spectacle of a candidacy, the darker consequences of his self-serving campaign against Latinos began to emerge this week. Even if Republicans lose the general election, it could come at great human cost.
Last Sunday, Donald Trump floated his first policy proposal on immigration. Among other things, he would build a giant wall on the southern U.S. border, deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants (in addition to some U.S. citizens born to undocumented parents, he later added) and end birthright citizenship (that little constitutional clause saying anyone born on U.S. soil automatically becomes a citizen).
Immediately, right-wing bloviators extolled the virtues of the proposal, with Ann Coulter calling it "The greatest political document since the Magna Carta."
That's some serious business from the right wing—forget about abortions, targeting brown people is far more important.
By Monday, Coulter and Rush Limbaugh began peppering their praise of Trump's proposal with the nativist term "anchor babies" when discussing his suggestion that we simply remove birthright citizenship from the 14th Amendment—the very clause that has made the U.S. one of the most singularly innovative countries on the planet. Limbaugh proclaimed gleefully:
"He would end the practice of granting US citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. Bye-bye anchor babies."
It was all downhill from there. Trump had whipped the anti-immigrant GOP base into a frenzy and other Republicans wanted a piece of the action. Scott Walker told NBC's Kasie Hunt that he too supported
ending birthright citizenship (though he tried to retract it
later in the week). "Me too
," cried Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, and Bobby Jindal, like lemmings.
Trump began employing the wing-nut phrase "anchor babies" on Tuesday and by Wednesday, Jeb! Bush was using it too, spewing out some gibberish about how we needed "better enforcement" to prevent pregnant women from coming here and having kids who are then U.S. citizens.
For more on the downward spiral, head below the fold.
Really, The Donald may as well have rounded up all his rivals, thrown 'em into a sack, and walked off a cliff. And the establishment knows it. They are freaked out. The Wall Street Journal sounded the warning bells earlier this week and by week's end, GOP insiders were apoplectic.
“He’s solidly put an anchor around the neck of our party, and we’ll sink because of it,” an Iowa Republican said of Trump.
The sense of helplessness was pervasive.
Though flummoxed by Trump’s staying power and aghast at the coarse tone he has brought to the race, party elites said they have no plan to take him down. Donors feel powerless. Republican officials have little leverage. Candidates are skittish. Super PAC operatives say attack ads against him could backfire.
Even the Koch's Latino outreach guy, Libre Initiative executive director Daniel Garza, seemed panicked
The persistent focus on birthright citizenship is infuriating to those like Garza, who’s worked to promote conservative causes among the broader Latino community.
“You are talking about withholding equal opportunity from people because of what their parents did,” Garza said. “That is yeah … you know.”
He then sighed.
“Sometimes there are no words to express,” Garza added. “When you hear something like that, it’s gone beyond the pale.
For progressives and Democrats, this has been a glorious unraveling beyond our wildest predictions. Here at Daily Kos, we do a lot of reveling in the ridiculousness of Republicans and The Donald has delivered an embarrassment of riches. But I fear something much more menacing than the implosion of a political party is at hand—something that is prompting Latinos, whether they are immigrants or not, to fear for their safety.
We got our first taste of where the atmospherics were headed several weeks ago when this fine American woman in Southern California told a fellow IHOP customer to "go back to Spain" for speaking Spanish to her family in the restaurant.
Then this week, two fine American men beat and urinated on a 58-year-old homeless man of Mexican descent in Boston. They invoked Donald Trump as their inspiration. It's repulsive to anyone with even a glint of human empathy but The Donald, when informed about it, called his supporters "passionate."
Trump is not only successfully dashing the 2016 hopes of the GOP, he's also putting a target on Latinos. And unfortunately, he's catering to the basest instincts of the least measured segment of our citizenry. Trump is unleashing a destructive fervor that's taking on a life of its own and even the Republican establishment—with all its billions and billions of dollars—can't put a muzzle on it.
We should all fear the consequences of that.