On the day that Trump went to El Paso with the goal of helping to heal an 85% Hispanic city in the aftermath of a massacre where the killer’s manifesto reflected the very same words Trump used to engage his base at rallies, ICE was in Mississippi rounding up 680 illegal immigrants who worked for a pittance at food processing plants in that state. The round up was done on the day school began. Little children left for school with parents and a home, only to leave school and return to a house with no parents. Think about that for a minute. Can you imagine what that sudden shocking loss would do to your own children? Schools were left scrambling to try to provide for these suddenly parent-less children, trying to find them places to stay. They were sheltered in a gym. Crying. And terrified.
Every child who has been traumatized by this ICE raid in which their parents were abruptly taken away, will never ever be the same again. Ever. These children will never be able to trust again in a deeply profound way. This is child abuse. Plain and simple. We need to call it what it is. Unlike the emotional trauma of a hurricane or an earthquake, this sudden emotional upheaval of the loss of a parent or two parents and in some cases other extended family members taken into custody; this trauma was totally unnecessary and preventable. ICE did not have to do it this way. These kinds of raids were not carried out during the Obama administration because they are devastating for the families and children.
Why was this done?
Immigration bullies, so-called “hardliners” have the power in the Trump administration. Under Stephen Miller, who will go down in history as a man without a soul, a moral compass, or a heart, this administration has normalized caging children and babies at the border and treating people who are applying for asylum as animals. They are keeping people in freezing pens with standing room only, forcing them to drink toilet water, and making their lives utterly miserable to get them to self-deport and to deter more people from coming to our country seeking refuge. This is cruel and unusual punishment and there should be a United Nations challenge to this brutality because it violates international law. If Trump had the capacity for empathy, he would not condone these actions by his administration. He would find a more compassionate way to handle the need to maintain a strong border. Miller’s own family of origin came to this country seeking asylum, escaping the Nazis. Yet Stephen Miller is responsible for these emotional assaults on children and asylum seekers. And Donald Trump, this is on you too! Trump is stoking his base to get re-elected using immigration brutality.
Americans are watching this and are keenly aware of what is going on when it comes to immigration and this administration’s brutality. And they don’t like it. Ordinary Americans are turning against the president, but they are doing it silently. They are slipping away.
A new Greenberg Research poll from August 6th tested two presidential candidates- Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, against Trump in a survey of 1700 registered voters. 700 were Republican. Justin Amash was added as a Libertarian alternative in the poll. The poll was completed between July 18-28, which was BEFORE the three massacres and before the ICE raid. It will be telling to see if the numbers move against Trump even more after these massacres and the Ice raid. In short, Biden and Warren win resoundingly against Trump.
Here is why:
The pollster writes,“I’ve rarely seen such intensity of opinion and clarity of trends so early in an election. But there is little nuance in the powerful trends and the contours of the emerging election.”
“Most commentators suspect that President Trump is succeeding in making immigration an issue, and yes, he is, but to his profound detriment. The president has stoked his base with fatal consequence. …[H]e has enlarged the enthusiasm gap in favor of Democrats and pushed Democrats to be even more consolidated behind a candidate to defeat him.”
Trump’s base malingers at 42 % (those who approve of his performance). You will see many of them commenting online as they struggle to defend the president, a man they think cares about them. Spoiler alert: Trump does not in fact care about them. He cares only about himself. But he is a really skillful con artist who gets people to believe he cares.
The report goes on: “There are many more anti-Trump voters and they are more consolidated in their electoral support.” What the report found stunning was that the numbers of people viewing undocumented immigrants negatively has dropped from 50% in 2016 to 42% now. The trend, in other words, is to be more accepting of immigrants instead of less.
Another key finding is that although Trump has the approval of 85 -87% of Republicans, the enthusiasm that he used to command is not there. Only 67% of Republicans strongly approve of him. When it comes to Democrats, however, he is despised. 85% strongly disapprove of Trump. The intensity is on the side of the Democrats. There is an 18 point enthusiasm gap for Trump. “This gap is twice the enthusiasm gap on the president that gave the Democrats such a victory in 2018.”
Based on this polling data, either Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden would win handily in an election against Trump because of the energy on the side of the Democrats and the fact that many more Independents also favor Biden and Warren over Trump even now. With Independent voters Biden has a resounding 10 point lead over Trump and Warren has a 5 point lead over Trump and that lead might grow larger as she crosses the country making her case to Americans. Biden is liked as a mainstream moderate and wins Independents as well as 7% of Republicans. Biden picks up a “stunning 21% of the declining breed of GOP moderates, but Warren gets 15%.”
Another finding of the poll is that white working class women voters outside the metropolitan areas are slipping away from Trump. Trump’s base strategy is helping him to consolidate the white working class men, but some of the blue collar women are pulling back their support. That finding is consistent with Ron Rosenstein’s recent article in the Atlantic.
In short, Trump has made the Republican Party HIS party, consolidating the domination by Evangelicals, Tea Party people, and conservative Catholics who like his anti-government, anti-choice and nationalistic policies. But that has resulted in the loss of large numbers of secular conservatives and moderates. That group is in steep decline. Moderates used to be 1/3 of the party. They were college educated women, and more socially liberal people. That group comprises only 16% of the GOP now- a 7 point drop. In other words, the GOP is shrinking. Many people who were Republicans are now former Republicans. Trump is losing market share.
The people of this country have retreated to their tribes, fighting each other on social media. On Facebook (I see them on my page for this blog), expressing their anger and upsetness, their fears and their worries. This is true for both sides of the political divide. Everyone is calling everyone on the other side names. When I read comments from Trump supporters on this page, as they react to their leader being criticized and defend him, what comes through to me is a great deal of worry and fear. They have been reading and listening to news feeds like Breitbart, Fox, Daily Stormer and Tea Party missives that are terrifying them (on purpose) about the coming invasion, the brown wave of Hispanics, filling them with fear for their own lives and the lives of their children. That is what the GOP has to do to win because they understand that they are losing Independents and moderate Republicans. They know how to read polls.
I believe everyone wants our country to succeed. People have different ideas about how to get there. And many people are afraid, and worried. That can turn to anger and get expressed online. But what I hope people understand is that there is far less to be afraid of than they think. The future of our country can be multicultural and safer because of that. We are truly stronger together. And we are better when we are together.