The Washington Post reported Friday that to win the midterms, President Trump has dispensed with subtlety and gone all in on a strategy of stoking racial division.
“President Trump, joined by many Republican candidates, is dramatically escalating his efforts to take advantage of racial divisions and cultural fears in the final days of the midterm campaign, part of an overt attempt to rally white supporters to the polls and preserve the GOP’s congressional majorities,” wrote Philip Rucker and Felicia Sonmez in “Trump ratchets up racially divisive messages in a bad to rally support in the midterms.”
As proof, the Post says that ads and remarks by Trump and others about immigration, the caravan of immigrants from Central America now approaching our southern border constitute prima facie racism. It continued to characterize, without proof, the caravan as “mostly families traveling on foot through Mexico,” even though other accounts say it consists of three-fourths or more single, working-age men.
Talk of repelling the “dangerous ‘invasion’” has “become the centerpiece of his midterm push,” the Post wrote.
The remarks, Rucker and Sonmez write, “capped weeks of incendiary rhetoric from Trump, and they come just five days after a gunman reportedly steeped in anti-Jewish conspiracy theories about the migrant caravan slaughtered 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in what is believed to be the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.”
This constituted the latest attempt by the Post to link the shooter, an avowed Democrat and enemy of Trump, to the president and blame his actions in Pittsburgh on Trump.
The Post criticized the president for “repeatedly” casting “the migrants as ‘bad thugs’ and criminals while asserting without evidence that the caravan contains ‘unknown Middle Easterners’ – apparently meant to suggest there are terrorists mixed in with the families fleeing violence in Honduras and other Central American nations and seeking asylum in the United States.”
The Department of Homeland Security says Middle Easterners are traveling with the caravan and that some may pose security risks. A man on the caravan told reporters this week criminals are “everywhere” within the group.
The Post story takes on Trump over the ad he released and tweeted out this week that focuses on Luis Bracamontes, a twice-deported Mexican immigrant who is on death row in California for killing two law enforcement officers in the Sacramento area in 2014. “The recording portrays him as the face of the current migrant caravan, when in fact he has been in prison for four years.”
The ad clearly delineates between Bracamontes and the caravan, but it does point out the security risks of allowing thousands of people into the country without authorization with its closing line, “Who else will the Democrats let in?”
What does this mean as the election approaches? “Five days from Election Day, the video underscored the dilemma facing Democrats as they work to calibrate their response to the president’s increasingly incendiary language on race and immigration,” Rucker and Somnez wrote.
Trump also is setting a tone across the country, the Post wrote. “As Trump has intensified his rhetoric, a growing number of Republican candidates across the country have followed suit,” they wrote. “Some feature graphic anti-immigrant messages and images in their campaign ads, while others have been accused of inciting anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim sentiment.”
It cited an ad for Marsha Blackburn, the Republican candidate for Senate from Tennessee. The ad “features footage of the caravan and warns that it includes ‘gang members, known criminals, people from the Middle East, possibly even terrorists.’ The ad also slams Blackburn’s Democratic opponent, Phil Bredesen, for stating that the caravan is ‘not a threat to our security.’”