Monday, December 07, 2015

The Prophet of Hatred, The Profit of Fear

So the deal about a political party pandering to its most base set of voters: It is that without any sensible means of control by party leadership thinking long-term, the pandering can go to its most vile and disgusting by those candidates in most dire need to win out.

We're getting that now with the Republican Party coping with the con artist expert Trump shilling the fear of Muslims-As-Terrorists (to equal the fear he's marketed over Mexicans-As-Rapists). This is how far he went today:

In a written statement late Monday afternoon, the Trump campaign said the Republican frontrunner wanted a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.” As backing, Trump cited a controversial six-month-old survey from the right-wing Center for Security Policy finding that one-quarter of U.S. Muslim respondents believed that violence against Americans was justified as part of global jihad and that a slim majority “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.”

As best I can tell, the outrage on Twitter has been going on for the last four hours and is nowhere near abating. To continue:

Trump has built his campaign juggernaut on the premise that he is willing to flout all standards of political correctness, drawing the support of Americans fearful of immigrants and favoring a muscular response to Islamic terrorism. In the aftermath of the Islamic State attack that killed 130 people in Paris, he’s claimed—without evidence of truth—that “thousands” of Muslims were cheering the 9/11 attacks on rooftops in New Jersey, and he’s seemed to suggest that he would support a registry of all Muslims in the U.S. And just days after the attack by two apparently-radicalized terrorists in San Bernardino, Trump has tried to outflank his Republican rivals, most of whom have called for rejecting refugees fleeing Syria because of security concerns.
Yet Trump’s constitutionally-questionable call to place an explicit religious test on immigration goes far beyond his previous statements.
For one, this was not an off-the-cuff remark, a response to a vague question, or even an idle retweet. Trump detailed his new position in a written statement sent to hundreds if not thousands of reporters covering the campaign. And it apparently extends beyond immigrants to Muslim-American citizens living overseas. It includes “everyone,” Hope Hicks, a campaign spokeswoman, told The Hill.

A later update on that "everyone" includes native-born Muslim-Americans who just happen to be overseas right now, either traveling for vacation or family leave or otherwise working a globetrotting job. He's essentially advocating the forced separation of families and exile of "undesirables" from their own homes.

This is basically all Trump has to offer as a Presidential candidate: hate and fear. He's sh-t for domestic economic policies (same as all the other Republicans: tax cuts for the rich), and he's a disaster-in-waiting for foreign policy (his idea of "bullying" other nations to his whims is pure delusion).

So how is he getting about 25 to 30 percent of the Republican voter interest? Volume. His screeching volume of noise involving paranoid nightmares and Fear Of The Other presses all the right buttons for a GOP voting base that's low-information (if not ill-informed across the board) and incapable of empathy for anyone beyond their own circle of like-minded friends.

Just remember: Trump is just selling this sh-t. The Republican voting base is buying it up and eating it like caviar. This is what they want.

This is terrifying and not at all funny or entertaining. If the polls are truly reflecting the mood and views of the Republican voting base - even in the individual states hosting their primaries - there is every likelihood Trump will secure most of the delegates above the other Republican candidates. Maybe not enough to win the nomination outright - unless Trump wins the winner-take-all states like Florida - but enough to dominate the 2016 convention and dictate the party's general election platform.

Nate Silver may be offering caution, but we're heading into January and Trump is leading most polls. The nearest sane candidate - Rubio - is at best in third place some polls, and even HE is pandering to the Fear Of The Other voting bloc.

We as a nation are running the risk that a demagogue spouting lies and threats - not just Trump, but pretty much any Republican candidate shilling the Islamophobia and anti-immigrant drum-beating - is going to become the Presidential candidate for a major political party with the very real possibility of winning the general election in November 2016.

This ought to be stapled to the forehead of every registered Democratic voter and every No-Party-Affiliate voter in all 50 states (plus DC). GET THE GODDAMN VOTE OUT THIS 2016. I don't care if your favorite - Bernie or Hillary - wins the Democratic nomination or not. Failure to show up to vote means Trump - or Cruz, or Rubio, or God help us Jeb - wins. And then we all lose.

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