Shocker! Wealthy Conservative Says Racist Things
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
– Donald Trump
To be clear, he didn’t say *all* Mexican immigrants are rapists. They’re drug dealers and criminals, too. Oh, and “some”, he assumes, “are good people”. Not exactly the kind of statement a candidate makes if he’s trying to win over Mexican-American voters, is it?
Defending these comments from Donald Trump doesn’t make it easier for the rest of us to separate them from bigoted racists. While some may not consider his comments to be racist, a lot of people do. That’s not necessarily a problem if prominent conservatives Republicans are distancing themselves from Trump and his comments. If, on the other hand, they’re going out of their way to defend Trump and his comments, like Ted Cruz has, it doesn’t make it easier to separate conservatism from racism.
Starting no later than the 1964 Republican national convention and Nixon’s “Southern strategy”, Republicans as a party and conservatives as a movement have been associated with racism in American politics. Defending the likes of Donald Trump is, in my view, no way to change that. This assumes, of course, that people want to both acknowledge and change it.
Again, this isn’t a problem if prominent conservative Republicans don’t mind being associated with bigoted and racist views. But if they’d prefer not to be associated with them, then it’s a problem. Note that I haven’t called Trump a racist nor a bigot; rather, that his remarks were racist and bigoted. I don’t have any way of knowing what’s in the man’s heart.
Racism and Immigration
There’s a good body of evidence amassed over many years now that immigrants, with or without papers, commit violent crimes at a lower rate than native-born citizens. That seems like something Mr. Trump should both know, and take into account if he wants to be president.
The first African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic American and Native American US senators all were Republicans. A party with that history isn’t forever doomed to winning somewhere between 5% and 30% of the votes cast by those voters. But defending Trump’s comments doesn’t make it any easier for the only major conservative party in the country to win those votes.
What makes this all the more mind-boggling is that Trump is not going to be the Republican party’s presidential candidate in 2016 any more than Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann were in 2012. Why defend him?