Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Donald Trump: Godsend for Latinos

     The two words I most associate with the Republican platform are "immoral" and "unpatriotic." 
     An example of immorality is their stance on gay marriage—the denial of basic civil rights to people for no other reason than religious prejudice. They drape it in a smokescreen of an antique sort of religion, as an attempt to obscure its immorality. But fewer and fewer people are fooled.
     And the best example of their lack of patriotism is their stand on immigration. 
     Immigrants, particularly Hispanic immigrants, add to the strength, vitality and economy of the United States. Countries that severely curtail immigration, like Japan, are utterly fucked, demographically, with whole towns emptying out and a dwindling workforce that can't support its burgeoning population of retirees. 
     The United States has accepted, and been changed by, wave after wave of immigration: from Ireland, from Italy, from Eastern Europe. The Hispanic immigration has already happened, has already changed this country, for the better, unless you consider finding a bottle of salsa on a restaurant table an earthquake, or a whisper of Spanish a personal affront. Overblown concern for legality is a fig leaf, the same as religion and gay marriage, an attempt to hide something objectionable. Anyone who cared about America would recognize that we need to both fix our immigration system so that workers can come to this country safely and legally, and put a path to citizenship for those who came to this country and contributed to it despite our broken immigration policy.
     The Republicans, who let their bigotry trump—pun intended—their concern for the United States, would endanger our future strength in order to indulge their current fears.  They use Hispanics as so many bogeymen to whip up their base, and it's always been a mystery to my why the actual Latinos don't push back harder, and exert their political power. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. 
     Maybe that moment is finally arriving. 
     Like most responsible Americans, I view the advent of Donald Trump as a symptom of Republican pathology and dysfunction. But there was an engaging column in Monday's New York Times today by Ernesto Londono explaining why Trump, counterintuitively, might be just the motivation needed to wake the sleeping political might of our country's Hispanic population. 
     It's a question I've long pondered, and I've never seen the potential laid out in such a lucent way before. So while regular readers of my blog know this is not my habit — in fact, I have never done it before — I'm going to break tradition, and present the first few paragraph's of Londono's excellent article, with a link to the rest. I think what he has to say is that important, and hope you take the time to read it.
     I am rooting for Donald Trump.     Not because I want to see him attempt to build an impenetrable wall along the border with Mexico nor because I’ve been following his grotesque campaign with the kind of guilty gusto that got me hooked on the reality show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” I’m rooting for Donald Trump because he could unlock the potential of America’s Latino electorate. Hispanics, among the fastest-growing of all segments of eligible voters, played a crucial role in President Obama’s two elections. Yet, over the past couple of decades, pollsters and political operatives have regarded the Latino vote as a sleeping giant waiting for the right jolt....
To continue reading, click here.


  1. Suddenly I feel better about Trump and his despicable followers. Thanks, Neil.
    Barbara Palmer

  2. I look at the crisis in Europe over desperate refugees from the Middle East. These people are coming over in massive waves, across the sea, fleeing an actual shooting war and making enormous moral demands on the prosperous nations of Europe. Assimilating them will be a tremendous challenge, made infinitely more difficult by the genuine threat of disaffected refugees resorting to terrorism. Another complicating factor is the multiplicity of nations and their differing attitudes, from Germany's welcoming (at least for now) to Hungary's "keep moving."

    Then I look at the situation in America, where a culture and ethnic base sympathetic to the migrants already exist, and the only motivations to come here are the desire to live under the rule of law and with decent economic opportunity. And this is supposed to be such a crisis that Donald Trump and the rest of the Republicans are trying to whip up nativist hysteria as their strategy to get to the White House.

    And I think to myself: Are we a bunch of babies or what?

  3. The other article states that the cost of citizenship is about $680 as if that's too high for the working poor but how many not so well to do Hispanic families spend thousands and go in debt going overboard for a quinceanera? Talk about misplaced priorities.

  4. A friend of mine got laid off from a 100k+ job and needed under the table money for his family to survive. He went to a pizza place he worked for 3 years ago to get his old job back to delivering pizzas. All driver positions were filled by illegal Mexicans. He tried several other restaurants same thing. They used to do the hard kitchen work but they're taking the easier jobs too. Won't happen to Steinberg's sons or even Mitch Mconnels kids. But to the working class we get screwed left and right by cheap labor flooding this country with liberal cooperation and sanctuary. Fucken treason. They hate us I just wished folks in the middle class would realize what they do and by God HATE the liberals back. That would be a good first step.


  5. Liberal cooperation? It's some conservative companies that want the cheap labor, Jim!

    1. "they're taking the easier jobs too" And who is GIVING them those easier jobs, Jim? Exactly, Anon, it must be all those stereo-typically liberal small business owners. Uh, no. This example has nothing to do with anybody hating the middle class, it's got to do with businessfolk wanting their pizzas delivered cheaper. When one thinks of who tries to do more for the middle class, the conservatives certainly don't leap to mind, at any rate.

    2. Yes. One of the points behind "path to citizenship" is that immigrants won't be forced to work under the table and undercut wages of American citizens.

    3. Jim's post has an unintentional irony to it. He and his friend are angry about illegal immigrants, but apparently had no compunction about his friend's intention to not pay taxes on his earnings. Sometimes people feel driven to do whatever it takes to feed their families.

    4. Missed the "under-the-table" money on first read. I guess only native-born Americans are allowed to cheat the government, i.e. the rest of us. Not to speak of themselves, given that those wages won't count towards Social Security benefits, which "illegals" lose out on as well.


    5. As a wise fictional possum who ran for President in my youth put it, "We have seen the enemy and he is us."

      Tom Evans

  6. Trump will drop out eventually when people start realizing that there's no substance to him. The same applies to quit a few of the candidates, from both parties. To have a meaningful discussion on immigration laws and policies, the candidates need to start with the facts:
    - As of 2013, there are 41.3 million immigrants in the U.S., or 13% of the U.S. population.
    - There are 11.6 million immigrants from Mexico, and another 6 million from Central and South America. So roughly 40% of the immigrant population are Latino.
    - As of 2012, there were 11.4 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.: 52% from Mexico, 26% from other Latin American countries and the remainder from Asia, Europe, Canada, Africa and the rest of the world.
    Any changes to immigration laws would have to make sure that all the legal immigrant groups be treated fairly and the illegal immigrants be treated with compassion. I'd be surprised if any of the candidates, from either party, are really capable of leading the change.

    1. Interesting stats. I would guess a good share of the non-Hispanic illegals in Chicago are Polish. Good workers.

  7. The fear of what could happen if Latinos don't participate should be enough to get them motivated. I'm afraid too many think the Trump campaign is just a joke or a publicity stunt.


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