Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president and immediately insulted and degraded Mexican Americans, Mexican immigrants, Latinos and all Americans of good will and decency. But this is not about Donald Trump. It is about Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and all of the other Teapublican candidates who uttered not one word of protest, revulsion of criticism. Not one word. Nada.
To be clear, The Trump Man was not guilty of simple public indecency or petty political incorrectness. He did not infer, he categorically stated that Mexican immigrants are “bringing in drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” These were words that would make a lot of racists and xenophobes cringe. But not the Teapublican presidential candidates – from them we heard the sounds of silence.
Keep in mind that every single one of them is a child of immigrants – it’s only a question of when. But Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are the sons of immigrants. Jeb Bush is married to a Mexican which means that his children are……….wait for it………….Mexican Americans. Chris Christie is the grandchild of immigrants. And, in any event, all the Teapublican candidates are the descendants of immigrants to this country.
Nevertheless, not one of them was sufficiently aroused or offended by Trump’s remarks to utter one word of criticism. Clearly none of them think about the fact that 250,000 Latinos turn 18 in this country every year and will continue to do so for decades. They obviously don’t realize that the United States has the second largest Spanish speaking population in the world so it is probably not a good idea to call Mexicans “rapists” who “bring in crime” when a presidential election is less than 18 months away.
But it seems that these candidates are afraid of offending the angry white fringe of this country that passes for the “base” of the party. But that base is shrinking, getting older and dying faster than falling leaves in their generational autumn. The future success of either of the major political parties depends to a very real extent on how they fare with Latino voters. While the Democrats have not covered themselves with glory with their immigration policies, at least they don’t call Latinos criminals and rapists. The Teapublicans seem to be comfortable letting the Democrats simply be the lesser of two evils.
We can say that the Teapublicans are not biased when it comes to being biased. After the Charleston Massacre the Teapublican presidential contenders dithered for days as to whether this tragedy was a “hate crime” or “terrorism”. Some had the gall to suggest that Dylan Roof was attacking religion when the historical evidence does not begin to suggest that conclusion. It screams “terrorism” because white on black terrorism is a sad but very real aspect of the black experience in America.
It is only when the bigotry and callous nature of their falsehoods became too heavy to carry that we started to hear tepid acknowledgement of the horror that took place in Mother Emanuel AME Church. And the hesitation and delay will be remembered by black voters just like their sounds of silence will be remembered by Latino voters.
There are critically important policy issues that need to be discussed and debated. But it is difficult to understand how people are supposed to be interested in the Teapublican policy positions after they have dismissed the humanity of black voters and silently acquiesced Latino voters being insulted by a maniac posing an orange haired maniac posing as a presidential candidate.
Black voters matter. Latino voters matter. Indeed this country matters. Perhaps Teapublicans will figure this out by late November 2016.