Monday, November 16, 2015

The Great Nativist Competition

Republicans are battling each other to absurd degrees to be crowned the most intensely racist nativist and thereby win their party's nomination for President.
1903 - "The Unrestricted Dumping Ground" opposed immigration from southern and eastern Europe, calling them criminals and terrorists. Familiar?
Nativism has a long history in American politics. The target of the xenophobia changes with the times. Protestants hated Irish Catholic immigrants. Irish hated Italian and Jewish immigrants. Just about everybody hated Chinese immigrants.

Ben Carson, the only African-American in the race, has hired a notorious white supremacist to chair his Mississippi campaign. Carson has stated that Islam is inherently incompatible with the US Constitution. This is a clear echo of the 19th century Know Nothing Party accusation that Catholic immigrants would follow the Pope's orders to destroy America.

Circa 1900 - "Pauper" immigrant labor will inevitably steal food from the table of the American working man.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are two second generation Americans with Spanish surnames who are locked in a battle over who will keep more Spanish surnamed immigrants out of the country. Both use the argument that poor Mexicans are stealing the jobs of hard working Americans.

1919 - "Put them out and keep them out." Keep terrorist Europeans out of the US.
Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz both recently suggested a religious test for refugees - Christians in, Muslims out. Religious exclusions are a recurring theme in American history. The Know Nothings were anti-Catholic. The Red Scare in the 1920's excluded and even expelled Eastern European Jews suspected of socialist beliefs.

Operation Wetback was one tenth the size of the Trump deportation plan.

Donald Trump is, of course, at the top of the dung heap. Most recently he has suggest closing mosques to curtail terrorism, like that wouldn't just radicalize more people. He wants to engage in the greatest mass deportation of humanity since Nazi Germany, but do it "humanely." Even the right wing Federalist has called Trump's plan hardcore pornography for nativists.

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