Sunday, July 5, 2015

Meet the New Michele Bachmann – Donald Trump

If he weren’t financing his own campaign, you’d think Donald Trump were being funded by a combination of late-night comedians and Democratic SuperPacs. How could I define the Democrats joy if only Trump were the Republican nominee? I will state the obvious: don’t hold your breath; I think I have a better shot! But what is particularly interesting is a Republican proclivity to produce outrageous candidates with big mouths and illogical and offensive platforms early in the presidential race… and then show significant surges in the polls
The July 3rd Washington Post provides this analysis: “[Trump] was in second place nationally among Republicans in surveys from CNN (with 12 percent) and Fox News (11 percent). Quinnipiac found him tied for second place among likely Iowa caucusgoers (with 10 percent). Suffolk and WMUR each put him at second in New Hampshire, also in the double digits. The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling said he is second in Michigan and third in Kentucky.
“Polling wise, Trump is this cycle’s Michele Bachmann. That’s how Washington Post polling manager Peyton M. Craighill responded when we asked what’s going on. At this time in 2011, the then-Minnesota congresswoman was pulling 17 percent, even higher than Trump. By November 2011, she was down to 4 percent. Or he might be like others who had their moment in the sun last time. Rick Perry was at 30 percent in The Post’s September 2011 poll of Republicans and had fallen to 6 percent by December. Herman Cain was at 23 percent in our November 2011 poll and out of the race a month later. Newt Gingrich peaked at 30 percent that December and saw his support cut in half a few weeks later. ‘History tells us this up and down pattern is not unusual,’ Peyton emails.”
That there are Americans out there willing to tell pollsters that they actually embrace such extreme and offensive positions suggests that America has a very long way to go to dismantle the underlying prejudices that flamed the civil rights movement of the 1960s. But for a Republican Party seeking to become a larger, more inclusive party, Trump’s words have created a huge issue with a very “swing vote powerful” Latino community. We know that Mexicans have condemned Trump’s sweeping stereotypical rants. But for whatever reason, he seems to relish repeating his statements that Mexican immigrants are “rapists/drug dealers.” Here in the United States, without some serious damage control, the reaction (or non-reaction) of fellow GOP candidates is going to hurt Republican prospects in 2016.
“Trump's comments, delivered in his announcement speech last month, have haunted the GOP for much of the last two weeks and dominated Spanish-language media. It's bad timing for a Republican Party that has invested significantly in Hispanic outreach in recent years, given the surging influence of the minority vote… Yet several Republican candidates have avoided the issue altogether, while those who have weighed in have declined to criticize Trump as strongly as many Hispanic leaders would like.   
“‘The time has come for the candidates to distance themselves from Trump and call his comments what they are: ludicrous, baseless and insulting,’ said Alfonso Aguilar, a Republican who leads the American Principles Project's Latino Partnership. ‘Sadly, it hurts the party with Hispanic voters. It's a level of idiocy I haven't seen in a long time.’
“The political and practical Trump-related fallout has intensified in recent days… The leading Hispanic television network, Univision, has backed out of televising the Miss USA pageant, a joint venture between Trump and NBC, which also cut ties with Trump. On [July 1st], the Macy's department store chain, which carried a Donald Trump menswear line, said it was ending its relationship with him. Other retailers are facing pressure to follow suit.
“The reaction from Republican presidential candidates, however, has often been far less aggressive… In a recent interview on Fox News, conservative firebrand Ted Cruz insisted that Trump should not apologize… ‘I like Donald Trump,’ said Cruz, a Texas senator who is Hispanic. ‘I think he's terrific. I think he's brash. I think he speaks the truth. And I think that NBC is engaging in political correctness that is silly and that is wrong.’…Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said simply that Trump is ‘wrong.’… ‘Maybe we'll have a chance to have an honest discussion about it on stage,’ Bush said last weekend while campaigning in Nevada.”, July 3rd. Marco Rubio joined Bush in condemning the statements, but even as Chris Christie disagreed with Trump’s “inappropriate” statement, the New Jersey Governor (where Trump has significant assets) called the businessman “a really wonderful guy.”
Most of the other GOP candidates have side-stepped the issue. “Among others, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former technology executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson have been silent…. ‘We're listening very, very closely, not just what candidates say but what they don't say — the sins of commission and the sins of omission,’ said Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, who called Trump's comments ‘xenophobic rhetoric.’”
Meanwhile, award-winning Latina actress, America Ferrera, has this little “thank you” note to the Donald in her blog that perhaps the rest of the GOP might want to note: “You see, what you just did with your straight talk was send more Latino voters to the polls than several registration rallies combined! Thank you for that. Here we are pounding the pavement to get American Latinos to the polls, while your tactic proves most effective. Remarks like yours will serve brilliantly to energize Latino voters and increase turnout on election day against you and any other candidate who runs on a platform of hateful rhetoric.” Sure he’s not a Democratic plant? Shouldn’t the entire Democratic Party send a “thank you” note too?
It is nothing short of amazing that the majority of GOP presidential candidates have not condemned the racist statements of a candidate who has absolutely no chance of winning the GOP nod. They have no issue trashing fellow candidate, Rand Paul, whose arguments are over legitimate policy issues, so you have to ask yourself why Trump can act like a racist fool with little or no negative reaction from most of his GOP running mates. Sure Mitt Romney’s condemned the remarks, but he’s not running.
Could it possibly be that too many of that mass of silent or supportive GOP candidates are morbidly afraid of that gaggle of Republican voters – 11-12% according to the polls – who actually buy Trump’s ramblings and could prevent a candidate from getting enough support to garner the nomination? That would be sad statement for a nation that really does need that two-party system to maintain its democracy.
I’m Peter Dekom, and for a country that has become a “majority of minorities,” who exactly believes that embracing a racist past is the smart path to garner future votes?

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