FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump Time: They Laughed at Reagan, Too

Whatever happens with Donald Trump’s candidacy- whether he rides his durable poll numbers to the Republican nomination, runs as an independent, or withdraws from the race completely- the ideas he’s introduced to the mainstream political dialogue will have a long shelf life.

In the wake of the Paris attacks in November, a lot of politically opportunistic and personally repulsive individuals began using rhetoric against refugees from war torn Syria to make national security hay. Past-due-date-mayonnaise-sculpture Ted Cruz called for only welcoming those refugees who were Christian. Somehow-a-neurosurgeon Ben Carson said he would close the border to those fleeing the civil war for security reasons.

In December, the San Bernardino attacks led to more paranoia. Then a poll came out showing Cruz winning Iowa handily over Trump.

In response, Trump took the xenophobic statements of his peers that are appealing to the weak and frightened right wing base to their logical extreme and called for banning all Muslims from entering the country, period.

Quick aside here- I realize this doesn’t encompass all of Trump’s bile belching bombast on Muslims up to this point, the idea of cataloging all of that was too revolting and it’s unnecessary to the broader point.

The comments, first delivered on December 7, were at first met with wide condemnation from his party. New Jersey governor Chris Christie called banning Muslims from entering the country “unhinged,” while low-energy person Jeb! Bush said Trump was “unhinged.”

Former HP executive Carly Fiorina, who is still running for President, apparently, said Trump’s statements were an “overreaction” to the recent San Bernardino shooting.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham called Trump’s statements “dangerous. Carson said that a religious test would violate the First Amendment, although he did call for monitoring all visitors to the country from majority Muslim countries.

2016 candidates and Senators Rand Paul and Cruz, however, chose a different route. Realizing that the base of the party they wish to head up in 2016 is terrified and scared of the unknown, both men introduced bills in the Senate to restrict migration.

Cruz’s bill called for moratoriums on the entry to the country by individuals from Syria. Paul’s bill went a little farther, calling for a cease in immigration from countries with majority Muslim populations, full stop.

But what’s more frightening about Trump’s rhetoric than the short term legislation proposed by Trump and Cruz that won’t leave committee are the long term effects on political discourse.

It may not happen for another four years, but one of these lunatics could eventually win the presidency. If that happens, you can expect a massive paradigm shift in the American political culture, driving an already extremely right wing country further to the right, even into outright fascism.

If that seems impossible, keep this in mind. In 1976, a right wing maniac challenged a sitting president for the GOP presidential nomination. His views were seen as too extreme to win a general election, his appeals to racism too blatant, his views on militarism too frankly insane. Four years later, he won election and defined a political generation.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are today’s political heirs of Ronald Reagan, and they’re seen as the left in today’s politics. If that’s the result of a shift that began forty years ago, where’s this one going to end up?

More articles by:

Eoin Higgins has a master’s degree in history from Fordham University. He lives in New York.

January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria
Dave Lindorff
A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case
Nick Pemberton
There Are More Important Things Than The Truth
Brian Cloughley
How Trump’s Insults and Lies are Harming America
David Rosen
Sexual Predators in the Era of Trump
Tamara Pearson
Everything the Western Mainstream Media Outlets Get Wrong When Covering Poor Countries
Richard E. Rubenstein
Trump vs. the Anti-Trumps: It’s the System That Needs Changing Not Just the Personnel
Christopher Ketcham
A Walk in the Woods, Away from the Screens
Basav Sen
Democrats Failed Their First Big Test on Climate
Lauren Smith
Nicaragua – The Irony of the NICA Act Being Signed into Law by Trump
Joseph Natoli
Will Trumpism Outlive Trump?
Olivia Alperstein
The EPA Rule Change That Could Kill Thousands
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
The New Congress Needs to Create a Green Planet at Peace
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Cuba: Trump Turns the Vise
Ramzy Baroud
When Bolsonaro and Netanyahu Are ‘Brothers’: Why Brazil Should Shun the Israeli Model
Mitchell Zimmerman
Government by Extortion
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail