September 9, 2016

ALL HE DID WAS WIPE THE LIPSTICK OFF THE PIG:

How Donald Trump destroyed the anti-amnesty movement (Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, September 9, 2016, The Week)

[T]ne thing seems clear: Donald Trump has killed the anti-amnesty movement. A recent CNN poll shows that six in 10 Americans oppose building a wall along the entire border with Mexico, 66 percent say the government should not attempt to deport all people living in the country illegally, and an astonishing 88 percent say illegal immigrants who have been in the country for some time, speak English, and are willing to pay back taxes should be able to remain in the country and eventually apply for citizenship -- exactly the provision that destroyed previous attempts at so-called "comprehensive immigration reform" under the Bush and Obama administrations.

What's going on?

In short, Trump has made opposition to amnesty tantamount to a kind of racism or bigotry. While his supporters had hoped that putting immigration front and center, and wrapping opposition to amnesty up with nationalism, that Trump would force American politics towards an immigration policy that might be open in some ways (all those doctors and engineers can stay!) but would not tolerate low-skilled or illegal immigration.

Instead, Trump's anti-amnesty movement backfired.

What attracted nativists to Trump in the first place wasn't his specific policy proposals, which have been all over the map. It was his apocalyptic rhetoric. A sampling: Mexicans are rapists and thugs (although "some, I assume, are good people"). Mexico is deliberately sending its worst people to the United States. We need to get immigration under control or "we don't have a country anymore." And, of course, there was the naked pandering to racists, like the flirtation with David Duke, which certainly gave a nice finishing touch to the whole tableau.

But it's this exact rhetoric that turned Trump into the caricature of the racist nativist, which now sticks to the entire anti-amnesty movement.

Posted by at September 9, 2016 7:45 AM

  

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