Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trump Not As Fringe as You Think

Michael Arceneaux argues Donald Trump may not represent just the GOP fringe on Talking Points Memo.

Trump may rightly be accused of bigotry, but he’s no worse than, say, homophobia’s grand slam champ Rick Santorum, who has compared gay sex to bestiality. And genuine or not, the GOP has never had a problem playing on its core base’s prejudices to win political office. So while RNC Chairman Reince Priebus may have reportedly asked Trump to “tone down” his controversial remarks about immigration—you know, referring to Mexicans as “rapists”—this is the same party that demonizes immigrants regularly. Look at Arizona’s fervent (and eventually unsuccessful) attempts at racial profiling. Look at Iowa GOP congressman Steve King, who has compared immigrants to dogs.

Or look at the wave of “birtherism” that the likes of Trump and many, many Republicans across the country aimed at President Obama for years. There was no widespread condemnation by GOP leaders. Asking Trump to “tone down” his language won’t alter the reality that the GOP is not a friend to immigrants. Or blacks. Or women. Or gays. Or trans men and women. Or the poor.
Tellingly, the only hard line the GOP has taken is in response to Trump’s comments about Senator John McCain. RNC chief strategist and communications director, Sean Spicer, said, "Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period. There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”

McCain may have taken issue with the swift-boating of then Democratic presidential contender, John Kerry, in 2004, but the national party sure didn’t.

I was initially annoyed with the attention lavished on Trump’s run for the presidency, but now I realize it’s a valuable opportunity to illustrate how Trump is a monster Republicans helped create. He is nothing more than a louder, shameless example of what the GOP has become. Let’s not pretend he’s a Republican outlier; he’s their id.

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