Backing for the wall spells the end of Republican decency
To say that the GOP has been hijacked by Donald Trump would be too generous. The party’s establishment is now fully complicit in his bigotry
Donald Trump’s massive, “very serious” wall, which continues to change in projected height depending on who Trump is talking to and how he is feeling about Mexico on any given day, has made it into the official Republican party platform.
“The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic,” the document reads. The platform was ratified on the floor of the Republican national convention in Cleveland.
Yes, the Republican party, ostensibly a “very serious” organization, has given its formal blessing to the xenophobic pipe dream that has been the centerpiece of Trump’s campaign from the start.
I say “pipe dream” because the staggering amount of resources and labor it would require to build such a wall plants the project firmly in the realm of the implausible, if not the impossible. The Republican party probably knows this, and apparently the Republican party doesn’t care.
Of course, for Trump, it’s never been about whether or not he can actually fulfill the promises he makes. He only cares about being heard when he makes them. The more outlandish, the better.
A proposed travel ban on Muslims galvanized his base, but when it was continually pointed out that it was in direct violation of the Constitution, Trump quietly reneged, saying it was “just a suggestion”.
And he has failed to provide clear solutions for the many logistical obstacles to building the wall. But to Trump, this is immaterial. He has never once let facts get in the way of his narrative, and he’s not about to start any time soon.
Arguing the humanity of those who would be affected by this wall and the anti-immigrant language that accompanies it in the official party platform (it calls Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration in 2012 and 2014 “unlawful amnesties” that must be rescinded) to Trump and his ardent supporters is a waste of breath. We in the Latino community know exactly where they stand.
But now, with the ratification of this platform, we know that the Republican party stands with them.
The platform is meant to reflect the soul of the party. In Cleveland, it became clear that this is now officially the party of Trump. If there ever was a Republican party that stood against xenophobia and racism, then that party has fallen, and it’s not just the newly empowered fringe that’s to blame.
For years, many Republicans has tried to convince skeptics that the stereotypes weren’t true. The GOP wasn’t the party of bigotry. It wasn’t the party of racism or sexism or homophobia. These were lies from the left, meant to divide people and scare them away from conservative values.
But when a demagogue who was open in his contempt for immigrants and flagrant in his disdain for women came along with promises of a huge, impossible wall, the GOP caved.
It should be ashamed of itself. What once claimed to be the party of Lincoln has surrendered its soul to a blowhard from reality TV, to a man they don’t even trust with access to a Twitter account, much less to nuclear launch codes.
To say that the party has been hijacked would be too gentle an assessment. Establishment Republicans are complicit in sewing the seeds of bigotry that would later bloom into Trumpism. They have helped to cultivate a culture of paranoia, a coalition of followers who are impervious to facts and act out of fear and anger.
These are the kind of people you can sell a 2,000-mile wall to.
As is the case with Trump himself, there is precious little substance here. The party platform does not go into specifics. It does not submit a timeline for construction or a budget for the mammoth costs it will incur.
It exists instead as a cultural affirmation, as an assertion of identity: we are the party that builds walls.