Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is currently sitting third in the GOP primary polls and is trying to break out of the Donald Trump vacuum that has sucked all the air out of the race. Try as they might, Republican contenders have said and done almost anything they can short of actually physically assaulting an immigrant coming across the Mexican border to divert the media’s attention to their campaign.
On Wednesday, Ben Carson was in Arizona to speak with a virulently anti-immigrant law enforcement official, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. While Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has commanded much of the media’s attention due to his hardline conservative approach to policing and conspiracy stories about President Obama’s birth certificate, Sheriff Paul Babeu is just as radical – especially when it comes to immigration.
During his conversation with reporters which was caught on film, Ben Carson seems to have stated that he was open to the idea of using armed drones to secure the border.
Via Right Wing Watch:
The television station KPHO captured part of the exchange, in which reporter Dennis Welch, apparently responding to an earlier comment from Carson, says that “drone strikes on American soil seems a little over the top, even to entertain that idea.”
“You can entertain all kinds of things,” Carson responds. “Here’s the take-home point: The take-home point is that we have excellent military leaders and we need to employ their expertise because this is a war we are fighting. That’s the bottom line.” (Source)
Carson isn’t the only Republican candidate in the race who has suggested that they were open to the idea of using drones for domestic law enforcement purposes. Even libertarian-lite Kentucky senator Rand Paul once said that he didn’t care if a drone or law enforcement officer killed a suspect in a theoretical case of a $50 liquor store robbery. This is a 180 degree turn from his former opposition to the use of drones, even overseas, saying as recently as January that he would shoot a drone out of the sky and that “drones should only be used according to the Constitution.”
Demonizing immigrants is what Donald Trump launched his campaign on and he has found a large base of support because of his remarks. In 2012, Republican candidates did the same thing and Mitt Romney’s pivot to the far right in the primaries on immigration and other issues helped him secure the GOP nomination, but it set him up for a devastating loss in the presidential election. This time around, primary contenders are trying to find ways to outdo Trump, and it seems that using drones on the border is the angle that Ben Carson wants to use.
Unfortunately for Ben Carson or any other Republican who secures the nomination, making such statements only further diminishes their chances of winning the Latino vote which is now absolutely crucial in a presidential election. At some point, Republicans have to move away from the politics of hate and start proposing ideas that work for all Americans, but the current field shows that they have no intention of doing so any time soon.
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