Monday, September 7, 2015
A RACE TO THE BOTTOM ON IMMIGRATION
As Donald Trump continues to lead in the polls for the Republican Presidential nomination, while also garnering most of the media attention (all without ever running a single political ad) other candidates have resolved to trying to outflank him on the issue of immigration by going even further to the right. While it seems impossible to believe that anyone could go beyond Trump's plan to build a "beautiful" wall with Mexico that they would somehow pay for, and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, danged if two candidates haven't come up with something even less plausible and more stupid than his ideas.
First, there's New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who said that he would hire the president of Federal Express to devise a way to track immigrants that come to America so we can know when they overstay their visas. While he later said he wasn't actually comparing immigrants to packages, the analogy is inescapable. Dehumanizing immigrants is the name of the game for most of the Republican party today. Not to mention the fact that such a system is unconstitutional and immoral. It's also unworkable. Does he really expect every person visiting the US to get some kind of microchip implanted in themselves? I can't possibly imagine that he thinks such a plan is possible, but considering the most recent NY Times polls put him at 12th. place out of 16 candidates in Iowa and 6th. in New Hampshire, this kind of desperate grab for some of Trump's anti-immigrant thunder is to be expected.
An even possibly dumber plan came from Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker recently: during an interview on Meet the Press, he honestly suggested that he was open to the idea of building a wall along the American border with Canada. Seeing as how the US border with Canada is over 4,000 miles long, more than twice as long as the one with Mexico, this seems more than a little crazy. Although a Walker spokesman inevitably tried to walk back his comments after they were roundly mocked (another candidate, Rand Paul, called the idea "pretty dumb"), they were spoken during a national interview and therefore can't be easily denied.
While it's easy to laugh at such ridiculous propositions, the sad fact of the matter is that these are two men running for the chance to be the most powerful person in the world. And that, sadly, instead of taking the high road against the crazed candidacy of Donald Trump, they have chosen to play up to the xenophobic and racist elements of their party in their attempt to gain the presidency by spewing crazy ideas that they must know are never going to happen.
While I think Trump's campaign will sputter out before he wins the nomination, part of me thinks that the Republican party deserves a standard bearer with no political experience, a massive ego and a propensity to tell lies without apology. In fact, he just may be the perfect embodiment of the party.