Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has said many, many, many offensive things over the course of his inexplicably successful (so far) campaign. However, yesterday in a CNN interview he said at least two things that should permanently disqualify him from running for political office.
First, while taking an unnecessary shot at fellow Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, Donald compared Dr. Carson to a child molester. If that wasn’t bad enough he said in the same interview that Marco Rubio was a supporter of what he called “amnesty” because he is Hispanic. It is hard to write the words that give justice to how ignorant and bigoted that statement is.
By saying that Marco only supports “amnesty” because he is Hispanic, he is making an attempt to “otherize” him. He is subtly reminding people that Marco isn’t like them. He is also insinuating (loudly) that Marco cannot possibly be fair and impartial as president because he is one of “those” people and will only be supportive of his “own” people. It is perhaps the height of modern political bigotry and a throwback to every racist politician of our past that has made that exact same argument to justify why a person of color should never be elected, regardless of party. This is textbook, boilerplate political racism.
For those of us who have noticed, this is nothing new. Donald Trump has built his entire presidential campaign on what The Federalist called “white identity politics“. His call to resurrect the controversial policy “Operation Wetback” was lauded by white supremacists, a group that his campaign has disturbingly attracted quite a few of. Even prior to his current presidential run, the Donald had made more than his fair share of racially questionable (at best) comments about African-Americans. When placed in that context, the comments about Marco Rubio are just another in a long line of bigoted and racially insensitive statements made by Mr. Trump.
What is more concerning is the relative silence of many in the conservative world to this rare display of blatant racism from a leading presidential candidate. With the exception of political guru Rick Wilson and others, few people in the conservative world (particularly in the media) has stood up and called this what it is. Allowing Mr. Trump to get away with what even the most clueless observer can see as racism sends a clear signal to other aspiring minority conservatives as to what they can expect. They will be attacked with racially tinged comments on the left and the right with very little public defense from their side. I’m sure there are tons of minority conservatives jumping at the chance to live that life.
A clear, public signal must be sent that, while Donald Trump certainly has the right to say whatever he wants, the public has the right to call him out when he steps over the line. There is a somewhat understandable hesitancy on the part of some conservatives to call out true racism when it is seen. Too often, the charge of racism is used as a political weapon to bludgeon one’s opponents. Honest misunderstandings and lost-in-translation cultural incidences are given nefarious motives by those who want to gain power. I get it. This is not one of those times. A major presidential candidate from the party of Lincoln is spewing hateful, racist rhetoric and he should be called out on it. Loudly. Consistently. Unequivocally. The backlash needs to be so deafening that even he and his worshipers can hear it.