Monday, August 24, 2015

Republican candidates form a circular firing squad -- and Donald Trump just yelled: "Fire!"

Washington Post journalist Paul Waldman thinks that it's possible that the 2016 presidential election got decided this week when Donald Trump said he would get rid of birthright citizenship, and some of the others jumped on board.

Waldman correctly points out the fundamental challenge Republicans face on immigration:  "they need to talk tough to appeal to their base in the primaries, but doing so risks alienating the Hispanic voters they’ll need in the general election."   He continues:
"You can’t end birthright citizenship without repealing [the 14th amendment]. . .  The bar is so high for amending the Constitution that it’s impossible to imagine any amendment this controversial getting ratified, which is as it should be.

"But the political impact is going to be very real, whether or not the idea goes anywhere in practical terms. The simple fact is that if Republicans don’t improve their performance among Hispanic voters, they cannot win the White House. Period. 

"This discussion about birthright citizenship sends an incredibly clear message to Hispanic voters, a message of naked hostility to them. . . .  [Y]ou can’t say you’re pro-immigrant and advocate ending birthright citizenship. You just can’t. . . .

 "[N]ext fall, there are going to be ads like this running all over the country, and especially on Spanish-language media: 

My name is Lisa Hernandez. I was born in California, grew up there. I was valedictorian of my high school class, graduated from Yale, and now I’m in medical school; I’m going to be a pediatrician. But now Scott Walker and the Republicans say that because my mom is undocumented, that I’m not a real American and I shouldn’t be a citizen. I’m living the American Dream, but they want to take it away from me and people like me. Well I’ve got a message for you, Governor Walker. I’m every bit as American as your children. This country isn’t about who your parents were, it’s about everybody having a chance to work hard, achieve, and contribute to our future. It seems like some people forgot that. 

"When a hundred ads like that one are blanketing the airwaves, the Republicans can say, "Wait, I support legal immigration!" all they want, but it won’t matter.  Hispanic voters will have heard once again — and louder than ever before — that the GOP doesn’t like them and doesn’t want them. . . . 

"Republicans need to improve their performance among Hispanics to prevail. . . .  [U]nder even the most absurdly optimistic scenaro . . . the Republican candidate would need 42 percent of the Hispanic vote to win. . . . Romney got 27 percent of Hispanic votes in 2012 . . .  

"So to sum up: even in the best possible situation when it comes to turnout and the vote choices of the rest of the electorate, the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 is going to have to pull off an absolutely heroic performance among Hispanic voters if he’s going to win." 
Need I add my voice to point out that, going from 27% to 42%, even in the best possible scenario for Republicans, seems like an impossible dream -- even if they were actively, madly courting Latino voters.

And the fact is that they are doing the exact opposite.   The circular firing squad is forming and The Donald just cleared his throat, reared back, and gave the order to fire. 

Please, people, don't get in their way.


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