I don’t just mean that he’s embracing the politics of the blood (fascist historian Giovanni Gentile’s phrase to describe Mussolini), but also that Republicans had a chance to kill off the issue of immigration entirely–and flubbed it (boldface mine):
So here’s a friendly reminder: this whole Trump mess probably could have been avoided. If Republicans had simply held votes on immigration reform in 2013 or in early 2014, it probably would have passed. That likely would have made it harder for Trump-ism to take hold to the degree it has so far.
Before you ridicule me for suggesting that Republicans would be better off today if they had simply done what I wanted them to do — pass immigration reform — please recall that GOP leaders themselves said at the time that they wanted to pass immigration reform. Even reform that included a path to legalization for the 11 million….
But conservatives revolted, Boehner shelved plans to pursue reform, and Republican leaders and aides quietly assured reporters that the party could always pass reform in 2015, to fix the Latino problem in time for 2016.
But some Republicans explicitly warned at the time that if the party failed to pass reform in 2014, it would only get harder to do so in 2015, because the GOP primaries would start up. GOP pollster Whit Ayres warned:
“If Republicans wait until 2015 to tackle this issue, that puts a very emotional and controversial issue right in the middle of the Republican presidential selection process. The opportunity for demagoguery will be exceedingly prevalent if we wait that long. It could drag the entire field to the right on immigration.”
Veteran GOP operative Rob Jesmer similarly warned that if Republicans didn’t embrace reform, “presidential politics will consume our party, which will make it more difficult to get it passed. ” Jesmer added: “We will severely diminish our chances of winning the presidential election in 2016 if this isn’t solved.” And as Jonathan Chait details, some conservative pundits, operating from the same rationale, also called for Republicans to pass “immigration reform as quickly as possible” and take the short term hit from the right, “allowing the base to vent its spleen and make up in time for the presidential campaign.”
In other words, some Republicans warned at the time that the party needed to embrace reform precisely to avoid the epic slow-motion disaster that might unfold if immigration got tied up in primary politics, creating fertile conditions for a talented demagogue to pull the party further to the right. Which is exactly what is happening now.
Given Trump’s support among the Palinist contingent, it’s unclear how demotivated they would have been if there had been immigration reform. But if someone is willing to demagogue on this issue, that creates a feedback loop wherein the bigoted base becomes more worked up over this issue, making it that much harder to resolve (or even ignore).
Were it not for the potential of massive suffering and cruelty, I would be laughing my ass off. This is what happens when a party becomes a regional white nationalist party.
Consider this exhibit #3,982,397 in the devolution of TR’s Bull Moose into Glenn Beck’s Prion-Infested Cow.