Republican Degeneration Debate

Ironically, the major candidates vying for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination (and to be seen as the most anti-immigrant) will, for the second time this election cycle, do so at a library named after the late former President Ronald. Reagan, who introduced the most recent real amnesty in 1986. The big absence, on a physical level alone, will be Donald Trump, the anti-immigrant leader who dominates the fight to this day.

And his presence is not even necessary, since his rhetoric, which since his appearance on the election stage has repeated not only lies but also open racism, has given rise to all the political clones like those who are debating now, struggling to attract an electorate fascinated anti-immigrant rhetoric of the ex-president.

Indeed, this is not the first time. In 2015, about 16 Republicans vying for the nomination, led by Trump, also debated at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California, as they warmed up to try to turn the Republican Party into a home of extremists. and promoters of racist conspiracy theories.

September 15, 2015, the day before the debate, we wrote the following: “What would a GOP icon (Reagan) say about his party’s dismal performance this election cycle and especially the offensive and even racist tone of various primary candidates?”

Little did we know that this was just a taste of what was to come; that the play will culminate with the election of Trump in 2016; and the Republican Party, as it was called and considered – primarily one of family and religious values ​​- would return at breakneck speed. Now the extremist wing dominates the discourse, and their leaders have become hostages of sorts, albeit voluntarily, as fear of criticism or confrontation with Trump has led them to normalize the most virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric and embrace the divisive and even violent discourse that has inspired more than one anti-immigrant massacre. minorities in the United States.

In fact, today’s party has become a kind of cult which, instead of imposing its agenda of political action for the good of the nation, has decided to worship a figure who cares only about its own interests – personal, political and economic.

And who can defeat such a person if he still pulls the strings of “conscience” of his followers, which his opponents, neither past nor present, have not achieved? In fact, poll after poll shows that a majority of Republicans prefer Donald Trump, and Latino Republicans are no exception. Univision survey just showed it. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they would vote for the ex-president. That, of course, changes when the survey expands to Latinos as a whole: About 58% favor President Joe Biden and only 31% favor Trump.

On the other hand, in these moments, the image of a border with thousands of migrants trying to enter the United States seeking asylum is exploited by this sector, which does not want a real solution, but simply wants to take political advantage in order to maintain the support of the extremist faction itself.

They demand walls, fences, wire, buoys, militarization of the border, an invasion of Mexico, all the while knowing that none of this works. In fact, the same Univision poll found that among Latinos, whether Republican or Democratic, these topics are very sensitive and touch something deep inside them when they respond. For example, 90% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans support securing borders and a path to citizenship for Dreamers, while the absurd idea of ​​stripping citizenship from children of non-citizen parents is rejected by 63% of Democrats and 55% of Republicans.

That is, there are key problems bordering on humanitarian ones. Otherwise, ask yourself why thousands of migrants continue to arrive despite physical barriers; or why the government created an asylum designation application that never seems to work properly; or why they opened Safe Mobility offices in some countries and even expanded and renamed TPS for Venezuelans. Because the need and desire for a better life is greater than any wall.

And due to years of poor US policies in the region, economically and politically, including labor exploitation with starvation wages; financing civil wars; the appointment and removal of presidents at will has created a wave of pressure on Latin America that is now returning to damage the responsible agency. And we cannot ignore other factors driving migration: political crises in migrants’ countries of origin, climate change and the effects of the pandemic.

But this is a topic for another column, as well as for another, even deeper reflection of this nation, which forgets too soon and always blames others, including its victims, for what is happening now at its borders.

Right now we are talking about the degradation of the Republican Party, where Reagan himself would not be applauded today for legalizing 3 million illegal immigrants, even though his reasons for doing so were not entirely humanitarian. But the historical irony persists, giving a polite slap in the face not only to those arguing for the Republican nomination, but also to those who support the political “belief” in superiority, with all its consequences for the country that fought for civil rights.

We want to end with another excerpt from the 2015 column because it remains relevant today: “What would Reagan say about the “jewels” that come out of the mouths of many Republican primary candidates when they talk about immigrants? At least I know what the conservative president said, who, along with the Republican Senate and Democratic House, declared amnesty for illegal immigrants and showed pragmatism and positivism in speaking on this topic.

In approving the measure, Reagan declared, “Our purpose is only to establish a fair, orderly, and secure system of immigration into this country, and not to discriminate in any way against particular reasonable nations or peoples.” And he added: “The legalization provisions in this bill will go a long way toward improving the lives of a class of people who are currently forced to lurk in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon, many of these men and women will be able to walk into the sunlight and eventually, if they choose, they will be able to become Americans.”

Or Reagan, who, after leaving the presidency in 1989, explained his vision of a shining city, “where people of all kinds lived in harmony and peace… And if there were to be city walls, then there were doors in the walls, and the doors were open to all.” . with the desire and heart to get here.”

Concepts that currently have no place in Trump’s version of the Republican Party.

*Maribel Hastings and David Torres/VOA Spanish

To read the Spanish version of this column, click here.

Author: Maribel Hastings and David Torres*
Source: La Opinion


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