Times editorial on the toxic effects of Trumpism

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jserraglio
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Times editorial on the toxic effects of Trumpism

Post by jserraglio » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:44 am

DJT is a gasbag, they say, but what will happen after the blimp explodes?
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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/opini ... .html?_r=0

Donald Trump is heading to November like a certain zeppelin heading to New Jersey, in a darkening sky that crackles with electricity. He is fighting crosswinds and trying new tacks — hiring the head of Breitbart News to run his campaign, trying on a new emotion (regret) in a speech on Thursday night, promising to talk more this week about immigration, his prime subject. There’s still no telling what will happen when the gasbag reaches the mooring.

It could be that the polls are right, and Mr. Trump will go down in flames. But while that will solve an immediate problem, a larger one will remain. The message of hatred and paranoia that is inciting millions of voters will outlast the messenger. The toxic effects of Trumpism will have to be addressed.

The most obvious damage has already been done — to the debate over immigration, a subject that is America’s pride but that can also show the country at its worst. Mr. Trump’s solution is to build an unbuildable border wall and force 11 million people out of the country, while letting millions of “good ones” back in. Or maybe not — now he says he wants to bar immigrants from most of the world, except for a few who pass religious and ideological tests. “Extreme vetting,” he calls it, bringing the Alien and Sedition Acts and McCarthyism into the reality-TV age.

Yes, Mr. Trump speaks frontier gibberish. Outright nativism remains a fringe American phenomenon. But there is no shortage of mainstream politicians who have endorsed his message by endorsing the Republican nominee. Anyone hoping to build a serious solution to immigration after this election will have to confront the unworkable ideas and vicious emotions that Mr. Trump, with many enablers, has dragged into the open.

It seems like a century ago, but it was only 2001 when a Republican president, George W. Bush, began talking about a once-in-a-generation overhaul of the outdated American immigration laws. He sought a bipartisan consensus to boost the economy and make millions right with the law. Then came 9/11. Though sensible immigration reform gained the broad support of the American public, legislation in Congress repeatedly failed, ambushed by hard-core Republican partisans.

This year brought the fever dream of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where speaker after speaker presented a vision of foreigners stealing across the border to rob, rape and kill. Cued by Mr. Trump, they scapegoated immigrants and refugees in general and Latinos and Muslims in particular. The crowd cheered for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, brutalizer of Arizona Latinos, and Rudolph Giuliani, who hollered about terrorists and criminals as if running for mayor of Gotham City.

It’s no wonder that the nativists are feeling inspired, the bigots emboldened. The white supremacist David Duke is running for the Senate. Stephen Bannon, Breitbart’s chief purveyor of conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant venom, is the natural ally of a candidate who hints that President Obama is a secret Muslim and who insists that Muslims in New Jersey danced by the thousands as the towers fell on 9/11.

Optimists, eyes on the polls, hope that Mr. Trump, in losing, will discredit these views and that Republicans next year will sue for peace. Under this scenario Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan or whoever is running Congress will move fast to push forward a rational immigration reform bill.

Remember, though, the post-mortem that found Republicans chastened after the more genteel nativism of the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign. The last vestiges of that contrition vanished as Mr. Trump, warning about Mexican rapists, vaulted atop the polls.

Trump supporters have now been promised a nation where non-natives, and their children, are locked outside the borders forever. They have been promised, inside a new wall, new factories where everyone will build things, speak only English and be rich. What will happen when they learn that none of this is real?

The challenge to responsible leaders of any political party will be to separate the economic discontent from the bigotry and paranoia that are the key to the Trump phenomenon. The question to future Republican leaders is whether they will even try to do so.

John F
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Re: Times editorial on the toxic effects of Trumpism

Post by John F » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:43 am

This is shallow. Trump hasn't created the toxic conditions in some parts of the American electorate, he has merely exploited them, and in some ways stripped them of the appearance of respectability. There has never been any reason to suppose that his defeat will defeat them. We've been there before, during the Vietnam War and of course the Civil War - some Americans still nurse resentment dating back 150 years. More recently, the Republicans created adversarial bad feelings years ago with the Tea Party and the unrelenting opposition to the president no matter what. No doubt that will continue after his successor is elected, not because of her or because of Trump but because of McConnell, Ryan, and the rest of them. Defeating Trump is the easy part and inadequate; we have to turn the just-say-no ideologues out of the Senate and the House. Which the editorial doesn't mention. Like I said, shallow.
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jserraglio
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Re: Times editorial on the toxic effects of Trumpism

Post by jserraglio » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:09 am

Shallow? Nativism, Know-Nothingism, McCarthyism, fascism, imperialism. The editorial implies that we've seen all of these before in American history and never states that they will vanish along with Trump. What is new is their embodiment in a presidential candidate. Soon he will revert to being Citizen Trump, but his insurgency will probably live on. Yes, throwing the rascals out of Congress, unlikely to happen in the House, will help, but unless the GOP (and the Dems for that matter) repudiates their radical wing and renders it illegitimate, the problem will remain and resurface in another form.

John F
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Re: Times editorial on the toxic effects of Trumpism

Post by John F » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:31 am

Trump's nomination was a freak. The Tea Party and Republican extremism in Congress has poisoned American politics for normal Republican candidates for years, and an unprecedented 17 major presidential candidates in the primaries divided the sane vote so that the insane candidate could snatch the nomination. (Trump got 14 million votes, his opponents split over 17 million votes.) Now Trump is headed for a landslide defeat he has made inevitable with the same campaigning style that won him the nomination and which the Times editorial writer deplores. No doubt the toxic Republican politics of the 2010s will last long after Trump has gone since they never depended on him, he depended on them. That's why the Times editorial is shallow, as I said.
John Francis

jserraglio
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Re: Times editorial on the toxic effects of Trumpism

Post by jserraglio » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:38 am

Not to belabor the point, I thought that's pretty much what this perceptive editorial was saying. Trumpism is a larger phenom than Trump himself, he embodies it and feeds on it and it will still be there after he goes poof.

karlhenning
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Re: Times editorial on the toxic effects of Trumpism

Post by karlhenning » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:32 am

jserraglio wrote:Not to belabor the point, I thought that's pretty much what this perceptive editorial was saying. Trumpism is a larger phenom than Trump himself, he embodies it and feeds on it and it will still be there after he goes poof.
Yes, unfortunately.

So the longer-term challenge is, not to disregard the pain into which El Tupé has so shrewdly and opportunistically tapped.

Best,
~k.
Karl Henning, PhD
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