Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

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Eugene Robinson: Trump has become the voice of insecure white Americans

When the racist chant began Wednesday night — “Send her back! Send her back!” — President Trump paused to let the white-supremacist anger he had stoked wash over him. George Wallace would have been so proud.

That moment at a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina was the most chilling I’ve seen in American politics since the days of Wallace and the other die-hard segregationists. Egged on by the president of the United States, the crowd was calling for a duly elected member of Congress — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a black woman born in Somalia — to be banished from the country because Trump disapproves of her views.

This hideous display followed Trump’s weekend call for Omar and three other House Democrats, all of them women of color, to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” All of this is an unmistakable echo of the racist taunts that used to be leveled at minority groups that had the temerity to demand civil rights and the gall to achieve political and economic success — go back to Africa, go back to Mexico, go back to China.

After the election and reelection of the first African American president, one might have thought we were beyond such ugly, desperate racism. To the contrary, perhaps Barack Obama’s tenure surfaced long-buried fear and loathing that made Trump’s ascension possible.

Jamelle Bouie: Trump Voters Are Not the Only Voters

They are, in fact, in the minority — so why do the media and Democratic leaders seem so obsessed with them?

The anti-Trump vote is the single largest coalition in American politics. That was true in 2016, despite Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the Electoral College. It was true in 2017, after Democrats won major victories in Virginia and Alabama. And it was true in 2018, when the anti-Trump coalition gave Democrats a majority in the House of Representatives.

Despite their influence, however, anti-Trump voters are practically invisible in recent mainstream political coverage. Instead, the focus is the president’s most fervent supporters, as it has been since 2015, when Trump came down his escalator and announced his campaign for the White House. This past week is a prime example.

On Sunday, as nearly everyone knows by now, Trump launched a racist attack on four progressive congresswomen — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — telling them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” and casting them as un-American on the basis of their racial backgrounds.

Most Americans rejected the president’s outburst. Fifty-nine percent, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, said it was “un-American,” and 65 percent said it was “racist.” A total of 68 percent said it was “offensive.”

We’ve seen this dynamic before. When the president plays with bigotry — when he defends racist protesters or disparages immigrants from predominantly nonwhite countries or casts migrants as dangerous criminals — he suffers in the polls. But the story in the press wasn’t about Trump’s decision to alienate a broad majority of voters with explicit racism. It was about the devotion of his voters and his strategy for the 2020 election.

Catherine Rampell: Trump’s immigration policies speak louder than his racist, xenophobic words

Vile, chilling, dangerous and life-threatening.

These words cannot adequately describe the Trump rally chants of “send her back,” referring to a U.S.-citizen congresswoman, Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who immigrated from Somalia as a child refugee; or the presidential tweets that inspired this chant, suggesting that Omar as well as three native-born U.S.-citizen congresswomen of color should all be deported. On Thursday, President Trump said he “wasn’t happy” with the chants at the Wednesday rally.)

Such racist, xenophobic rhetoric has inspired a lot of (deserved) outrage. But did Americans really need to hear these words to know that Trump considers immigrants and brown people to be subhuman? The actual policies his administration has been undertaking should have left no doubt.

Consider just a few developments this week alone, several of which have gotten scant media coverage.

Derceka Purnell: The killer cop who took Eric Garner’s life walks free. How do we secure justice?

Here lies a painful truth: we can’t rely on the criminal justice system for black liberation. But we don’t need to, either

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced that it declined to bring federal civil rights charges against New York Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who choked the life out of Eric Garner. Tomorrow marks the five year anniversary of the homicide. This refusal of an indictment is unfortunately unsurprising. Killer cops are rarely sent to jail.

In his study on police crimes, criminologist Philip Stinson found that despite killing about 1,100 people annually, prosecutors charge on average 7 cops a year with murder or manslaughter. About 80 officers total (out of approximately 13,000 officers who killed someone) have been charged since 2005. This figure is astounding since prosecutors secure grand jury indictments at remarkable rates, 99% for federal grand juries, and most cases end in defendant pleas (97%).

Prosecutors often don’t indict because they are also law enforcement and will pay the consequences for charging one of their own. St Louis County district attorneys, the ones who mishandled the grand jury process for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson after killing Michael Brown, Jr, joined the local police union earlier this year. Police unions donate to prosecutor races, oust prosecutors who charge cops, and condemn district attorneys who might.

Michael H. Fuchs: Donald Trump is on an Orwellian mission to redefine human rights

It has long been abundantly clear Trump has no respect for human rights. Now Pompeo wants to build a new framework to justify the rollback of protections

The president of the United States makes racist comments against members of Congress. He puts kids in cages. Attempts to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Praises dictators.

It has long been abundantly clear that Donald Trump has no respect for human rights. Now, the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, wants to build a new intellectual framework to justify the administration’s rollback of human rights protections.

That is the only way to understand Pompeo’s new Commission on Unalienable Rights. In launching the group Pompeo explicitly stated that the purpose of the commission is to start from scratch in defining human rights. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Pompeo described part of the commission’s mandate: It will “address basic questions: What are our fundamental freedoms? Why do we have them? Who or what grants these rights?”

But it seems clear the intention is to both narrow the definition and application of rights. Pompeo said that the commission’s goal is to exclude “ad hoc” rights. While he does not elaborate on what “ad hoc” rights are, he attacks “politicians and bureaucrats” who “create new rights”, and many of the members of the commission appear to have been selected in no small part because they also want to roll back human rights.