While Donald Trump continues to embarrass the Republican Party with his comments about Mexico and immigrants, the son of an immigrant, Ted Cruz, is standing up for him. Right now, the Republican Party is in the midst of a civil war pitting the evangelical Christian and Tea Party fringes represented by candidates like Donald Trump, Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz against establishment candidates like Jeb Bush.
Needless to say, the sparks are flying, and Ted Cruz defended Donald Trump’s incredibly bigoted remarks about immigrants Sunday during his appearance on “Meet The Press” with host Chuck Todd.
“I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration,” Cruz said. “The Washington cartel doesn’t want to address that. The Washington cartel doesn’t believe we need to secure the borders. The Washington cartel supports amnesty and I think amnesty’s wrong.
“And I salute Donald Trump for focusing on it. He has a colorful way of speaking. It’s not the way I speak. But I’m not gonna engage in the media’s game of throwing rocks and attacking other Republicans. I’m just not gonna do it.” (Source)
Some Republicans like Jeb Bush and Rick Perry have taken a softer tone on immigration, and have even condemned the xenophobic remarks that Donald Trump has made since he announced that he was going to be a 2016 Republican presidential candidate. In his campaign kickoff speech last month, Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants specifically as drug runners, criminals and rapists. Since then he has not only refused to apologize for his remarks, but he’s doubled down on them, much to the consternation of other Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush who strongly condemned Trump’s abhorrent remarks.
Donald Trump isn’t content to simply alienate the people of Mexico and his business partners, such as NBC which dropped him after his statements. He’s going after other Republicans like Jeb Bush as well, who think he’s making the rest of the 2016 field look bad.
“Today, Jeb Bush once again proves that he is out of touch with the American people. Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq, where it took him five days and multiple answers to get it right, he doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come “out of love.”” Trump said in a lengthy response. “As everybody knows, I never said that all Mexicans crossing the border are rapists. Jeb is mischaracterizing my statements only to inflame.” (Source)
Now Republican candidates find themselves in a trap of their own making. Without swinging hard to the right like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and others have done, they can’t win in the primaries because the voters who tend to turn out for primaries want to hear about how gay people, liberals and immigrants are destroying America. If they do take a hard tack to the right and win the primaries, then they’ll have a very difficult time trying to swing back to the middle, as Mitt Romney found out in 2012.
The bitter rivalry that pits establishment Republicans against the fringe of the party is on full display here, and it is doing serious damage to the GOP with younger voters and minority voters, especially Latinos who are a fast-growing demographic in the United States. While Donald Trump’s xenophobic remarks about immigrants or slogans about how “we need to take our country back” may play well to the aging and angry white voters that GOP candidates count on in the primaries, they’re complete poison to other voters who tend to be more moderate and accepting of a changing America which is becoming more and more diverse.
With candidates like Ted Cruz or Donald Trump representing the most vocal wing of the GOP, it’s no wonder fewer and fewer people refuse to identify themselves as Republicans.
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