Sheila Markin is a former Assistant US Attorney. She helps people to understand in plain English what is going on in US politics today. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!
Trump started a culture war crisis at the border on purpose. He planned it since the beginning of his presidency, as much as he plans anything. The evidence for that has been unearthed in a number of emails revealing the strategy to beef up internment camps giving contracts to companies owned by Trump donors that stand to make millions erecting these prisons and tent cities. Some are intended for children, all of them intended to warehouse immigrants and asylum seekers. This culture war is Stephen Miller’s wet dream. He is the guy in Trump’s core group of advisors that would be immediately assigned to Slitherin House by the sorting hat in Harry Potter. General Kelly and Jeff Sessions are in on this scheme too. Kirstjen Nielsen is to blame for implementing the hellish chaos. This will not end well.
Public outcry against the Zero Tolerance policy has gripped the country. Any American with a soul is horrified by what has been revealed and angry that reporters and lawmakers have been barred from entering these sites. It’s as if the government is operating secret Black Op sites for terrorists. But these are little children, little girls and boys and babies and crying mothers who do not know where their children are. Stephen Miller said that a large majority of Americans would support this policy- 90% of Americans, he said. What planet does he live on? Apparently, not planet earth.
Americans are rising up in opposition. Evangelical clergymen, rabbis, mental health professionals, pediatricians, suburban moms who had been Republican voters, Attorney Generals, governors, Democratic lawmakers and companies like United, American and Frontier Airlines warning the government not to use THEIR airlines to transport little children who have been rendered unaccompanied minors by the inhumane removal from their parents’ custody.
When people are put in jail in this country they get a receipt for every item taken from them- their wallets, their keys, even the chewing gum in their pockets. How can it be that children can be taken away from their mothers and fathers without any kind of receipt, no system to re-connect or re-unite them? Americans are enraged and shocked by this dick move by Donald Trump and his cabal.
Trump wants the culture war because he thinks it will rev up his base. He believes that to keep the majority in the House and Senate, his base has to get ginned up so they will turn out to vote in November. This is the one issue that gets them going like no other. Trump has understood the terror of Americans who fear the “browning” of this country. And he is playing it for all he can get. Fear Mongering. With the help of Fox News- Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh and other vicious fear mongerers. They are scaring Americans about aliens coming to get them even though illegal immigrants have a lower rate of criminal conduct than native Americans. But Fox doesn’t report that. Fox is a fact-free universe just like Donald Trump’s brain.
Trump has been gaining a sense of ever greater grandiosity after dismissing all the mature adults who were supposed to act as guardrails for this infantile tyrant-wannabee. The grown-ups are all gone now. Even General Kelly who once saw himself as the man who would save the country from Trump, even he has given up. He has said he isn’t trying to stand in Trump’s way anymore. So be it if Trump’s reign ends in impeachment. Kelly washes his hands of it.
What we are getting now is unfettered, undiluted Trump. That includes a tariff war with China, Europe, Canada and Mexico, insults for our closest allies, and big wet kisses for autocrats and oligarchs.
Trumpism is not a winning hand. Laura Ingraham claimed that the children who were being taken from their parents at the border and put in prisons were getting to go to a place that was like a “summer camp”. This was like summer camp, she said! I want to see how her kids would like going to this summer camp. Her statement caused enough of an uproar for sponsors to run like hell away from her program. Nice.
Trumpism is not a winning hand because most Americans, while they want laws to be enforced at the border, do not want to see images of children being tortured in the land of the brave and home of the free. They do not want children traumatized and crying for their mommies and daddies. They do not want mothers sobbing in prisons because they tried to come to this country for a better life for their children and their children were kidnapped instead after being told they were just going to get a shower to get cleaned up.
This is not going to be hidden from view like a Dark Site in Kabul. Whistleblowers are coming out of the woodwork and providing information, photos and videos to reporters and, yes! to Michael Avenatti. You heard me, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniel’s attorney! He is jumping into action, like Clark Kent running into the nearest telephone booth and turning into Superman, thrilling the progressives in this country who despise Trump and his lying minions.
So much so that Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by the owner of that restaurant. Sanders was asked to leave because she works for the Trump administration. And Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to listen to the smuggled out Pro Publica tape of children crying for their mommies and daddies by a group of protesters who entered the Mexican restaurant where she had the gall to be eating after implementing the Zero Tolerance policy. This group protested her and shamed her while she was eating dinner. She got an earful and it lasted a long time. Then the same protesters accosted her on her way to work the next day and shamed her again. She deserves it.
Even if the Trump administration stops separating families and stops arresting asylum seekers, there are still about 2300 children who have been shipped out to god knows where and will be traumatized for life because of what happened to them. It is unclear if they will ever be reunited with their parents again.
What is all of this doing to the Republican Party? E.J. Dionne writes for the Washington Post. He notes in a recent op-ed that both CNN and Quinnipiac polls show that 2/3 of all Americans oppose Trump’s border policy. In the same op-ed he notes that the Republican Party is shrinking. The proportion of Americans who call themselves Republican was 32.7% of the electorate before 2016. Now it is 28.6 % as of late May to mid-June 2018. It is important to remember that when commentators say 85% or 75% of Republicans support the president on this or that policy, that is 85% or 75% of 28.6% of the electorate. Factor that in.
The Republican Party is shrinking. Like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz after Dorothy threw a bucket of water on her. It is melting. George Will, a died-in-the-wool Republican commentator, recently wrote an op-ed urging everyone to vote all Democrat in the mid-term elections. Steve Schmidt, a Republican advisor and commentator recently renounced his former party. He, too, is urging everyone to leave the Republican party and vote all Democrat up and down the ballot. Joe Scarborough (Morning Joe) has quit the Republican party in disgust. And there are others who have renounced the GOP.
The Republican Party is Trump’s Party now and it is boiling down to the tarry detritus of the dregs of humanity.