Thursday, June 16, 2016
Trump's bigoted, collectivizing thought about Muslims, Hispanics, African-Americans, immigrants, etc. didn't hurt him at all in the Republican primaries but, as expected, it's dooming him in the general election. Arguably, as of June 15, he's quite close to becoming a zombie candidate. Still, he's not quite dead yet, so it's worth asking: What would complete the job? How could Trump be lured into finally, completely destroying his own candidacy?
The thing to keep in mind is that collectivizing modes of thought (and see this article by Saletan for lots of Trumpian examples) don't stop where Trump currently has them stopping, e.g., at a ban on all Muslim immigration and even visitation to the US. Since the San Bernardino and Orlando Muslim villains were natural-born US citizens, Trump's real target if he wants to 'keep America safe' has to be Muslim-Americans (or perhaps 'Americans from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States or its allies'). If the existence of radical Muslim-Americans (or radical Americans from areas of the world where there is a proven history of...) makes all Muslim-Americans (or all Americans from areas of the world where there is a proven history of...) suspect as Trump believes then what, apart possibly from Political Correctness, is stopping him from supporting internment of all Muslim-Americans (or all Americans from areas of the world where there is a proven history of...) in camps if necessary or at least 'until we know what the hell is going on'? FDR interned Japanese-Americans in camps for the duration of WW2 (building on decades of discrimination against Asians etc. in immigration during the early 20C). This is the logical end-point of Trump's favored, collectivized, safety-first-minded thinking too.
Somebody, maybe someone posing as a highly sympathetic, radical right-winger, should be able to bid Trump up in toughness, and get Trump to follow through his own lines of thought. Or maybe that won't be required: Trump's ('punish the women') stumble over abortion earlier in the year suggests that if people keep pressing him on the logical consequences of his positions then Trump's pride and self-certitude will eventually draw him on to the shocking conclusions in the cases of Muslims et al.. At a minimum, interviewers should immediately start asking Trump about internment camps. If he wouldn't go there then why not? What does Trump think about FDR's actions? Does he think that Korematsu v. US was rightly decided?