Josh Marshall’s analysis of the Trump madness during this election season has been magnificent, IMO. He hits it out of the park again today with a piece called “Trump’s Blood Libel & Press Failure,” in which he rightly defines Trump’s demonization of undocumented immigrants as hate speech and calls out the Beltway media for normalizing it.
I watched Trump’s speech yesterday and found it incredibly chilling. Like every demagogue before him, Trump set the stage by ginning up hate and fear. He used as props families who have lost loved ones to crimes committed by one class of people — undocumented immigrants — as if that category of human beings were inherently dangerous.
He implied that hordes of rapists and murderers are pouring over our southern border (something he’s said explicitly in the past, as we all know), even though in fact the crime rate for immigrants is lower than that of native-born Americans and border crossings have decreased. And like any tin-pot fascist, Trump identified himself as the only hope for the country’s survival. Marshall:
These families have suffered horribly but no more than the families of victims of American murderers and Americans who committed DUI fatalities. If we went out and found victims who’d suffered grievously at the hands of Jews or blacks and paraded them around the country before angry crowds the wrongness and danger of doing so would be obvious…
There is a legitimate public policy question about how aggressive we should be in deporting those who our laws say should not be in the country in the first place. But the fact that some of them commit crimes is not relevant to the discussion… It is simply blood libel and incitement…
Marshall is right. It’s deeply shameful that such a person could take control of one of our two major political parties, and the yammering about whether his immigration policies are “softening” or “hardening” is disgracefully trivial in the face of creeping fascism and galloping bigotry.
I hope and believe that Trump is going to lose in November, and lose badly enough that it will trigger a reckoning within the Republican Party. It’s long overdue. Even if Trump loses by normal margins, that would still mean the Republican Party has managed to win the popular vote in only one national election since 1988. They need to evolve or die, and we need at least two functioning parties.
But the Republican Party isn’t the only institution that needs a reckoning. There are wonderful reporters out there who do great work, but our institutional political press is so sclerotic and blinkered that they’ve helped an honest-to-Christ white nationalist demagogue in the mold of George Wallace get this close to the presidency without calling him by his proper name.
The GOP voters who elevated this buffoon bear most of the blame, of course. And the conservative movement in general deserves censure for engaging in more “polite” race-baiting for decades. But a gigantic portion of the Beltway media deserves a share of the blame for not calling Trump out for what he is. There should be a reckoning for that too.