Thursday, March 10, 2016

What Would You Call It?

Debating the obvious.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were asked directly if Donald Trump is a racist at Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Miami.

“Secretary Clinton, you have known Donald Trump a long time. You have seen what kind of campaign he’s running,” the Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty said 20 minutes into the debate. “Secretary Clinton, is Donald Trump a racist?”

Clinton first said she prefers to keep the Democratic primary about Democrats, then reiterated her criticisms of Trump’s xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric — and added a splash of spanish.

“I was the first one to call him out. I called him out when he was calling Mexicans rapists, when he was engaging in rhetoric that I found deeply offensive. I said basta,” she said, drawing applause from the room. “And I am pleased that others are also joining in making clear that his rhetoric, his demagoguery, his trafficking in prejudice and paranoia has no place in our political system. Especially from somebody running for president who couldn’t decide whether or not to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke.”

Pressed by Tumulty, she again demurred from the journalist’s label but said the Democratic nominee “can make the case against him, if he is the nominee, by pointing out what he has said, what he claims to believe in, the values he’s promoting. I think that’s a better way for the American people to draw their conclusions.”

Tumulty put the question differently to Sanders, asking if it was fair to say Trump is racist. Sanders also declined to provide a direct yes-or-no. After saying that Americans will never elect someone who insults Mexicans, Muslims, women, and African-Americans, Sanders pointed out Trump’s prominent role in a racist smear of Barack Obama.

I can appreciate why both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders didn’t flat-out say, “Well, duh;” let the facts speak for themselves.  But when he gets approving nods from neo-Nazis, the support from the former Grand Wizard of the KKK, and his campaign was launched by smearing an entire country — Mexico — and bolstered by calling for a ban of immigrants of an entire religion — Islam — it’s a pretty sure bet that Donald Trump is not going to be the grand marshal in the National Brotherhood Week parade.