The Finale of The Republican National Convention
Tonight is the fourth and final (!) night of the Republican National Convention and if the trends continue, we’ve got a lot to look forward to. Last night, Indiana Governor Mike Pence made his vice presidential debut after being overshadowed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who—in a speech that sounded like the launch of a 2020 presidential campaign—refused to endorse Donald Trump.
Tonight, Trump will take the stage for the finale to make the case that he can “Make America One Again” with “leadership that will focus on what unites us, not what divides us.” But since launching his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers to saying “there has to be some sort of punishment” for women who get an abortion, Trump’s hateful rhetoric has only been aimed at dividing Americans. While his comments about immigrants, refugees, Muslims, women, and LGBT people have gotten a lot of attention, the implications of that rhetoric have not. But his divisive comments are paired with dangerous plans that would not only be harmful to each community, but also to the nation as a whole. Here are just a few examples:
- Trump vowed to deport all unauthorized immigrants. Trump’s extreme mass deportation plan is perhaps the clearest example of his efforts to divide the country. And the plan is as impractical as it is immoral: based on previous analysis from the Center for American Progress, a mass deportation strategy would cost an average of $10,070 per person, for a total of $114 billion to remove 11.3 million people—and that doesn’t even take into account the huge economic contribution of these immigrants that would be lost.
- Trump called for “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Since the San Bernardino terror attack seven months ago, Trump has been calling for an end to Muslim immigration into the U.S. on top of his mass deportation plan. But alienating entire communities through Islamophobia, including the Muslim community here in the U.S., helps ISIS achieve its stated goal of using violent attacks to instill fear and cause disruption. And in addition to being in our national security interest, it is a core American value to give a home to those fleeing violence and tyranny.
- Trump said “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have an abortion. While Trump has made many offensive comments about women, his rhetoric on abortion could have a serious impact on women’s access to health care. Criminalizing abortion, as Trump suggests, not only violates women’s reproductive rights, but also comes with severe health consequences. A report from the Guttmacher Institute found that highly restrictive abortion laws do not decrease abortion rates. Instead, they lead to higher rates of unsafe abortion. And, even without a President Trump banning most abortion in the U.S. by instituting draconian restrictions that make safe abortion care inaccessible, the complicated web of more than 300 abortion restrictions currently in place in states across the country already punish women seeking a safe, legal procedure.
- Trump said the Black Lives Matter movement has instigated police killings. In the aftermath of the death of five Dallas police officers, Trump said the Black Lives Matter movement has helped instigate recent killings of police officers. He also accused the group of “essentially calling death to the police” and called them a “threat.” In November, after a Black Lives Matter protester was kicked and pushed to the ground while being removed from a campaign event in Birmingham, Trump argued in favor of the violent treatment of the protester, stating “maybe [the Black Lives Matter protester] should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” According to a recent poll on race relations 63 percent of Americans view them as “generally bad” and 55 percent say they are “getting worse.”
BOTTOM LINE: Tonight, Trump will take the stage to make the case that he is a leader who can bring Americans together. But if there has been one consistency throughout Trump’s campaign it is his divisive rhetoric. Since he launched his campaign Trump has focused on alienating already-marginalized communities in his effort to Make America Great Again for people like Trump.
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