Donald Trump is the manifestation of our most ginned up nightmares. His relentless march to the fore of the post-Tea Party GOP should’ve been entirely predictable to anyone paying attention during the age of Obama. White Americans that have been losing economic (although the certainly not social) power through the inexorable destruction of the middle class have formed an increasingly paranoid contingent of voters fueled by anxiety and racism.
Trump’s blinding ginger halo of celebrity, combined with his slimy assertions of his penis size, and grade school attacks on women, has lowered the level of political discourse to that of a rundown Applebee’s bar in Nowhere, Idaho. Nakedly racist commitments to build a wall on the border and ban all Muslims serve to bolster the grievances of a population betrayed by the capitalist system it voted for. A shrinking population that is also entering its demographic sunset. The Bud Light crowd cheers Trump for giving a loud voice to their deepest fears and desires. As factories, mills, and coal mines shutter, legions of men and women have become displaced vagabonds in their own land.
Things just don’t make sense anymore. There’s a black president, Mexicans beset them on all sides, and the Islamists are determined to see them dead. Any way you slice it, good ol’ America has lost her way. But Trump is gonna put her back on course. He’s a billionaire, after all. Just the type of man needed in the White House.
The ongoing immigration saga precipitated by the bloated influx of thousands of children from Central America has provided a platform for Texas Governor Rick Perry to superficially flex what some consider his newfound national security bona fides. At a press conference on Monday, Perry announced that he was authorizing the dispatch of approximately 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in order to stem the tide of desperate refugees.
Perry’s move serves three functions: chiefly, he draws a sharp distinction with President Obama, and by extension congressional Democrats, by appearing to take decisive action on immigration while Congress attacks the details of Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency funding request. Second, the dispatch of troops can be seen as a bold reaction to conservative media claims of rampant criminality and disease brought on by undocumented immigrants (claims that have more of a basis in xenophobic sensationalism than fact). Finally, this latest gambit can be used to burnish his reputation as the proponent of a muscular policy that an ultra-conservative base can rally around. Yesterday, the NY Times noted the following:
By seeking more military resources at the border, Mr. Perry may also be trying to repair his standing among some conservatives who had expressed doubts about his willingness to be tough on immigration. During a Republican presidential debate in 2012, the Texas governor defended in-state tuition for immigrants in the country illegally and said of those who disagreed: “I don’t think you have a heart.”
Perry’s tripartite scheme is clearly intended to catapult him to the forefront of the 2016 presidential contest. However, what’s most striking about the coverage of Governor Perry’s recent announcement is that there’s been virtually no examination of the impact on Hispanic voters of what some may consider a racist policy.
Instead there have been wry jabs at his new “hipster glasses”, mentions of his time spent being “tutored” by republican intellectuals, and even quick looks at his new exercise regimen— all in an attempt to gauge his preparation for the bitter slog that promises to be the 2016 election. Muscular though it may be, the Governor’s shortsighted policy move is guaranteed to poison the presidential well.