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Down What Rabbit-Hole is Trump Heading?

Trump started out as a joke, a fishing expedition, a toe in the water, a run-it-up-the-flagpole staging. Not much happened until he turned up the heat by characterizing the Mexicans crossing the border as drug runners, criminals and rapists. This lightning bolt of incivility didn’t do much to woo Latinos but it boosted his popularity among people I, for one, would not want to be popular with. But it registered where it matters most in politics, the polls.

Since that outburst, which was followed by his “program” to solve the immigration “problem” by deporting 11 million people and building a wall along the entire US-Mexico border, he’s never lost his lead among likely primary Republican voters.

We’ve had to live with hearing him repeat this obviously idiotic and unworkable policy position for months with little more than a few tweaks in the details. Then the terrorist attacks in Paris hit and everything changed and in ways that are disturbing. The imagined Mexican problems disappeared as targets for his quiver of hate to be replaced by Islam with a bit of good ol’ fashioned anti-Black sentiment to fill in any gaps in his schedule.[1]

He started by declaring that no Muslims should be admitted into the country, no matter what their origins are and no matter what kinds of horrors they’re fleeing.

He said that, as President, he would have to close many mosques because, he maintains, they’re not used as places of worship but as secret enclaves for political action.

He has said (repeatedly) that thousands of American Muslims cheered the events of 9/11. Alas, no matter how often he repeats the lie it remains a lie.

Then he kicked it up a notch — because his base was beginning to think that maybe he’d mellowed a bit. Christie out-Trumped him by stating that he wouldn’t even let an orphan under 5 years old in if their parents had been Muslims. And Ben Carson began gaining in the polls.[2]

He then introduced the argument that the way to deal with his fantasized Muslim scourge was to have every Muslim in the country, citizens included, be forced to have their vital information on a national data base that could be monitored. But Carson kept gaining and even Cruz started creeping up so he hinted in a Tweet that perhaps Muslim would also need to wear identifying badges.

After a session in which he outlined his plan for a national data base for Muslims a reporter from NBC asked him if he saw “a difference between requiring Muslims to register and how Jews were treated in Nazi Germany.” He answered, “You tell me.”

Even though he later tried walking this national data base notion back, it’s clear what his fans are hearing. It’s not hard to hear. There’s not a lot of subtlety to The Donald. The more nuanced use of “dog whistles” in past political campaigns has been replaced by outright, unvarnished racist and religious hatred. It’s deeply worrisome how his supporters are reacting to his message.

In a recent speech Birmingham, AL (of all places) a black man showed up wearing a T-shirt that had “Black Lives Matter” emblazoned on it and interrupted Trump by chanting those three words. Trump bellowed, “get him the hell outta here.” The man refused to leave — after all, it was an open political rally. The crowd knew how to get this unwelcome interloper out. Several men shoved him and punched him. One tackled him. A woman kicked him after he’d been dragged to the ground and he was repeatedly punched before security escorted him from the rally.

These are the folks who are gathering around Trump. This is where his xenophobic, racist and anti-Muslim blathering are taking us. It is not a happy place. No good can come from this.


[1] He recently posted a set of totally fabricated statistics making it look like virtually every Black person killed in the country was murdered by another Black. In fact, the vast majority of killings are within-race for the simplest of reasons: proximity and opportunity.

[2] While there’s some overlap, Carson’s and Trump’s bases are different. Trump draws the racists and those frightened by “otherness.” Carson’s supporters are overwhelmingly evangelical Christians. Most evangelicals, even if they back Trump’s racist views, are suspicious of his religious commitments.

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