As Democrats (and sane humans), we naturally react with disgust, outrage, and horror over Donald Trump's glib assertion we will have to do many "unthinkable" things, to include digitally labeling and movement monitoring of every Muslim in this nation. Of course we recoil, we here are (mostly) rational people. Our reflex should be to swiftly and aggressively reject vile things inspired by the darkest moments in human history. But, to beat them back, it can only work if we do so in a manner that “conservatives” can understand and accept, because my friends, you damned sure ain’t gonna shame them. No, we already know the Right has no shame, no low to which they will not sink.
How we communicate the lunacy of ideas like this, once we take deep breaths, is all about the money, all about the federal government -- that greatest of boogeymen whose name none on the Right can even utter without sneering. You see, lost in the semantics of “database” or “watch list,” or whatever, is what it’d mean from a bureaucratic standpoint to implement nationwide registration and tracking of all Muslims, which number as many as 7 million. Lost in the outrage over the un-Constitutionality of such a program is talk of the budget needed to do this, the thousands of new federal employees needed, new three letter federal departments with new federal cabinet secretaries, and millions of pages of printed manuals, new regulations, websites.
Conservatives will always claim they want to shrink the size of the federal government, even shrink it small enough to drown it in the bathtub. (Sure that’s always at least what they say, even as facts show they always expand it to record sizes, but they are not capable of recognizing that truth, like many other simple truths they are unable to accept.) Consequently, they will always default to rejecting programs they know from the start will cost not only billions of dollars, but layers of new government with all that means. They also froth about “states' rights," or more accurately, what they see as violation by the feds of those rights.
Given these propensities, there are effective tactics we can employ instead of using arguments that could only work for people like us, you know, such as appeals to decency. Rather, ask them how big they are willing to explode the federal bureaucracy. Are they ready then to create an entirely new federal bureaucracy lording over states’ rights to track the movements of all Muslims (little kids, military widows, and old folks too, not just men between 15-50). Is the number $4.7B (FDA’s budget), $7.5B (TSA’s budget), or $9.75B (FAA’s budget)? Use those words, “federal bureaucracy,” not simply “government,” because the Right goes apoplectic thinking about federal bureaucracy forced upon states.
Whatever the response is, just reply, “Good, so we are finally clear the Right in on record of seeking the largest expansion of the federal bureaucracy in our lifetimes,” and walk away.
...Oh, and if they think they have a clever reply or offer some pabulum about “spending whatever it takes to keep Uh’murkins safe,” remind them this also means we'll need a national registry for gun purchases, on federal servers, because if they want to keep guns from Muslims, that will require a national system of background and ID checks to prove a buyer is NOT a Muslim. That ought to be fun.
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