Thursday, December 10, 2015

As GOP Presidential Candidates Distance Themselves From Trump, NYTimes Highlights How They've Peddled "Their Own Nativist Policies" For Years

The New York Times editorial board highlighted the fact that the Republicans "rushing to distance themselves from [Donald Trump's] latest inflammatory proposal -- a faith-based wall around the country -- have been peddling their own nativist policies for months or years."

On December 7 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump issued a press release calling for "a total and complete shutdown of all Muslims entering the United States." Trump's proposal was widely condemned as "dangerous" and "fascistic" by the media and by politicians in the United States and internationally. While Trump was criticized by several media figures, the media has largely failed to strongly condemn inflammatory rhetoric from other Republican presidential candidates. Ted Cruz has called for barring Muslim refugees from Syria, Marco Rubio advocated shutting down "anyplace radicals are being inspired," including mosques, and Chris Christie suggested not accepting any Muslim refugees, even "orphans under five."

The Times editorial board argued December 10 that Trump's rhetoric was "not spawned ... in isolation" and that "the racism behind the agenda of the right wing on immigrants and foreigners has long been plain as day. Mr. Trump makes it even plainer." The board warned against "treating [Trump] as a solitary phenomenon, a singular celebrity narcissist who has somehow, all alone, brought his party and its politics to the brink of fascism" and pointed out that none of "Trump's rivals have said they would reject his candidacy if he won the nomination":  

Go ahead, deplore Donald Trump. Despise his message. Reject his appeals to exclusion and hatred. But do not make the mistake of treating him as a solitary phenomenon, a singular celebrity narcissist who has somehow, all alone, brought his party and its politics to the brink of fascism.

He is the leading Republican candidate for president. He has been for months. The things he says are outrageous, by design, but they were not spawned, nor have they flourished, in isolation.

The Republican rivals rushing to distance themselves from his latest inflammatory proposal -- a faith-based wall around the country -- have been peddling their own nativist policies for months or years. They have been harshening their campaign speeches and immigration proposals in response to the Trump effect. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush want to allow only Christian refugees from Syria to enter the country, and Mr. Cruz has introduced legislation to allow states to opt out of refugee resettlement.

[...]

This is the force that Mr. Trump feeds on and that propels him. It is bigger than he is, and toxic. Not a vote has been cast in the 2016 presidential race. But serious damage is already being done to the country, to its reputation overseas, by a man who is seen as speaking for America and twisting its message of tolerance and welcome, and by the candidates who trail him and are competing for his voters.

Mr. Trump has not deported anyone, nor locked up or otherwise brutalized any Muslims, immigrants or others. The danger next year, of course, is giving him the power to do so. And the danger right now is allowing him to legitimize the hatred that he so skillfully exploits, and to revive the old American tendency, in frightening times, toward vicious treatment of the weak and outsiders.

[...]

The racism behind the agenda of the right wing on immigrants and foreigners has long been plain as day. Mr. Trump makes it even plainer. After his remarks on Muslims, how many of Mr. Trump's rivals have said they would reject his candidacy if he won the nomination? As of Wednesday, none.

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