Monday, May 16, 2022

Opinion | Kevin McCarthy’s border stunt reveals a dark truth about the GOP

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Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday. It’s a clear try and distract from newly launched tapes recorded simply after the Jan. 6 rebel, during which McCarthy is heard telling different Republicans that he would advise then-President Donald Trump to resign.

However McCarthy’s journey is greater than only a low-cost stunt. It’s an admission of a darkish fact in regards to the Republican Celebration.

If McCarthy needed to heart his stunt on probably the most politically potent problem, he wouldn’t decide immigration. In a current Gallup ballot, 17 p.c of voters chose inflation as crucial downside dealing with the nation, adopted by the carefully associated catchall of “the financial system” at 11 p.c. Immigration is down at 5 p.c. And whereas inflation and gasoline costs didn’t take off till Joe Biden took workplace, the immigration numbers are murkier for Republicans. Border crossing numbers have been inflated by covid-era measures akin to Title 42 (which has greatly increased repeat encounters), and the rise in fentanyl trafficking began underneath Trump.

Most Republicans acknowledge inflation is their finest argument. “I predict we’re going to get most likely not less than 40 [House] seats, as a result of this president has been so unpopular relating to inflation, gasoline costs,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) informed “Fox Information Sunday.”

James Hohmann: A tale of two Republicans: One brave, one not

On Friday, Home Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) predicted a “enormous wave in November … as a result of [Democrats] don’t wish to discuss in regards to the inflation and the excessive price of all the pieces that they’ve created.” And on final week’s “Fox Information Sunday,” McCarthy himself listed “wasteful, irresponsible spending that has led to greater costs and inflation” as the highest cause for President Biden’s poor ballot numbers.

But, McCarthy and his fellow Republicans aren’t holding political stunts outdoors gasoline stations or supermarkets. They usually’re barely even gesturing at concepts for reducing costs. But they’re hammering border politics. Why? As a result of whereas immigration may not sway the citizens as an entire, it fires up the GOP base that McCarthy desires to maintain on his aspect.

In his “Fox Information Sunday” interview, McCaul — the previous chair of the Home Homeland Safety Committee — inspired that anger. “Putin invaded Ukraine,” he informed host Sandra Smith. “We’ve an invasion in my house state proper on the border, every single day.” He then made reference to the (inflated) 2.5 million migrant encounters which have taken place since Biden’s inauguration.

Discover that McCaul didn’t restrict this comparability to traffickers or criminals attempting to cross the border. No, each single particular person attempting to cross — together with the tens of thousands seeking asylum and the hundreds of thousands of families and unaccompanied children who’re simply looking for a greater life — is in McCaul’s framing no completely different from troopers invading a sovereign nation.

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That “invasion” language — a favourite of Trump and white supremacists — has led to bloodshed earlier than. In 2019, a gunman killed 23 folks at a Walmart in El Paso after posting an anti-Latino manifesto during which he mentioned the assault was a response to “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” And lest anybody doubt the partisan part of this hatred, the shooter additionally expressed fears that altering demographics would “make us a Democrat stronghold.”

Accountable leaders would take a look at such an end result and rethink their rhetoric. After the capturing, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) admitted “errors had been made” in sending out a fundraising name only a day earlier than to “defend” the Texas border. However Abbott’s bout of duty was short-lived: By final 12 months, he was once more warning that Individuals on the border “are being invaded.” This 12 months, he’s shipped buses of migrants to Washington and ordered “enhanced” inspections of all business vans crossing the border. The latter discovered no medication or migrants, nevertheless it did cost the state $4.2 billion in GDP. But, regardless of this abject failure, Abbott was again on Fox Information on Sunday denouncing Biden’s dealing with of the “nationwide catastrophe” on the border, with not a phrase in regards to the vans.

Abbott, McCaul and McCarthy, whether or not they admit it or not, acknowledge that the best strategy to defend their standing within the Republican Celebration is to embrace the hate and stoke the identical bigoted fury that led a person to open hearth in a retailer. Maybe at some point, the GOP’s fever will break. Till it does, this nation’s future stays very darkish.

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