Why would The Donald “tone down” his immigration rhetoric when it’s working so well?

Yesterday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus reportedly called Donald “Rapists and Murderers” Trump to ask him to “tone down” his inflammatory immigration rhetoric.

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

And Trump, presumably, told Priebus that he was a loser and that Trump’s tone was the greatest the world has ever seen. After all, he’s pretty certain that he’s going to win the latino vote.

The problem is that if you replace “latino” with “Republican,” that statement isn’t quite as absurd.

A poll released by YouGov this morning shows that, in the wake of his incendiary remarks, Donald Trump has surged to become the favored candidate among registered Republican voters. Not only does he hold an outright lead, with 15% of the electorate to Jeb Bush’s 11%, but he is also the most commonly selected second choice, with 12% to Scott Walker’s and Chris Christie’s 8%:

Check out the full poll here.

Check out the full poll here.

What’s more, while Donald Trump began his campaign with underwater favorability ratings with Republican voters, his favorability has increased, not decreased, as he has continued to spout racist, nativist and generally insane things about large groups of the American people:

yougov trump

This being the case, Priebus’s plea to Trump can be rephrased as “please stop playing our party’s racism to your advantage.” As this video from the Democratic National Committee highlighted, Trump’s views aren’t extreme by any stretch of the Republican imagination; they’re simply a distillation of things that Republicans have been saying for quite some time:

So while Very Serious Pundits like Mark Halperin are saying with a straight face that GOP candidates have everything to gain by standing up to Trump and calling his racism out for what it is, Republicans responsible for winning votes in Republican primaries know otherwise. Attacking Trump alienates voters necessary for any successful Republican primary campaign. The other candidates aren’t struggling to stand up to Trump; they’re struggling with the fact that, by being fully untethered to morals or reality, The Donald has his finger more squarely on the pulse of the Republican electorate than they do — and he has the poll numbers to prove it.

What’s more, “standing up to Trump” by criticizing his tone belies the fact that, as far as actual policies go, none of the Republican candidates diverge all that much from where he stands. And criticizing someone for calling Mexicans rapists and murderers while supporting policies that treat Mexicans like rapists and murderers isn’t going to fool anyone.

Perhaps with the exception of Mark Halperin.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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16 Responses to “Why would The Donald “tone down” his immigration rhetoric when it’s working so well?”

  1. Glen Thompson says:

    Unfortunately I don’t the mainstream media will ignore him. He’s just too damn entertaining.

  2. 2karmanot says:

    To think about: “What’s sad is most them aren’t bad people” This came up at the Nuremberg trials if I’m not mistaken. Filed under the ‘banality of evil.’

  3. 2karmanot says:

    The Trumpster is the perfect universal embodiment of the Republican ethos: a Golhem of racism, inequity, Christian hypocrisy and hate, misogyny and bigotry. He is the rancid spirit of the old South in one gigantic ego.

  4. DoverBill says:

    He certainly speaks for those who put him (currently) atop the shitpile of conservative candidates.

    Could one rich guy’s ego destroy any chance of the White House changing parties in 2016?

  5. DoverBill says:

    I can commensurate with The Reince.

    How does he deal with one who ripped the scab totally off the republicans and conservatives which continually expose their underlying base for all to see exactly what it stands for… a bunch of bigotry, hatred and persecuted Christians?

  6. The_Fixer says:

    This is going to be very interesting.

    In my part of the world, it seems that the blue-collar Republican guys are evenly split when it comes to racism. There are some who are virulent racists, but there is nearly an equal number who are very much anti-racists, based on my own observations.

    I can’t speak to this being the case in other parts of the country, but even if the ratio is more like 3:1 in favor of racists, that is going to make for a Democratic win if Trump gets the nomination. Yes, Trump has a commanding poll lead right now. But in the end, I don’t honestly think that the non-racists Republicans who are closer to the mainstream will vote for him.

    I don’t think it will get to that point because… it’s Donald Trump we’re talking about here. At some point, the Republican establishment is going to try to rein him in with more than a ReinceChat®. At that point, he’ll get mad, take his toys, and go home.

    In the meantime, expect more Trump fireworks. I mentioned elsewhere that this is like that episode of The Simpsons when all of the advertising mascots took over the town after Homer stole the giant donut from the top of the Lard Lad shop. The mascots wreaked general havoc until someone figured out that if the townsfolk start ignoring the mascots, they would acquiesce and all would return to normal. That’s what they did (in spite of Homer having to be physically blocked from viewing them, because, well, he’s Homer). The mascots all went back to their normal places, and were a problem no more.

    Ignore the Trumpster, and he’ll go away. This surge in popularity will fade, he will not get the attention that he craves, and eventually, that will be his undoing. He’ll make up some bullshit excuse for why he’s leaving the race, and like the advertising mascots, everything will return to normal – Republican dog-whistle racism and xenophobia rather than this extra-ugly in-your-face kind.

  7. BeccaM says:

    Thanks. Yeah…couple the steady diet of misinformation with a bunch of group-think, and we have a self-radicalizing far right conservative movement that doesn’t actually care about reality or facts or critical thinking.

    What’s sad is most them aren’t bad people. But they’ve been filled with poison and hate towards others — indoctrinated to hate the blameless, so they don’t notice who is really doing the oppressing and plundering: The capitalists and the plutocrats. Take something as simple as decent wages. The far right wants to blame immigrants; the reality is it’s the CEOs who simply want to keep all the money for themselves, hence no pay raises, worsening working conditions, exporting jobs, etc.

  8. FLL says:

    It doesn’t occur to them that they alone aren’t enough of a majority to elect a President — in part because Fux Noise keeps telling them they’re not a fringe minority of Americans.

    In the above excerpt from your comment, you put your finger on the flight from reality that characterizes today’s GOP. They are a rump political base, and the folks in it are addicted to their sedative drug, which is Fox News/Limbaugh etc making them feel better by saying: “Abracadabra. You are really the majority.” Political voodoo like that is the sure sign of a sinking ship.

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  10. BeccaM says:

    The situation here is the dog whistle versus the bullhorn.

    The Republican party is comfortable with the dog whistle — hence why they’ll cloak their racism in coded language like “urban culture” or “inner city welfare recipients.” Only rarely does one of their leadership or would-be higher office candidates slip up and say “Blah People” as Santorum did last go ’round.

    However, as the designated Id of the GOP, Donald Trump doesn’t have anything even vaguely resembling a social filter. He says exactly what’s on his mind, even if it is crass and insulting — and his ego is such that he actually thinks you’ll like him better because he’s verbally abused you. Trump (aka ‘Fuckface von Clownstick’ as Jon Stewart refers to him) has no concept there are some who may be offended by his racism, xenophobia, misogyny, or general bloviating asshattery. For him, anything worth saying is to be said as loudly and as egotistically as possible. Thus, for example, the moron actually, truly seems to believe that American Latino voters will like him better for his appalling insults towards Mexico and its people.

    The Republican base has been radicalized to the point where they prefer the bullhorn rather than the dog whistle. They don’t give a flying rat’s ass their far, far right positions are repugnant to a majority of American voters (i.e., not the GOP base). It doesn’t occur to them that they alone aren’t enough of a majority to elect a President — in part because Fux Noise keeps telling them they’re not a fringe minority of Americans. They want their bloody red meat, and Trump is happy to give it to them. Hence why he’s leading.

  11. Indigo says:

    He definitely has the Know-Nothing and Tea party people in his pocket but I’m not persuaded that he speaks for Republicans who vote. Maybe he does.

  12. Glen Thompson says:

    Please, please, pick Donald.

  13. 2karmanot says:

    “The Donald has his finger more squarely on the pulse of the Republican electorate.” The Trumper has his finger on the pinhead of a Republican nadir that has in historic irony become the Party of racists, misogynists, and traitorous sympathizers.

  14. Baal says:

    I was just thinking this. He should tell Preibus to go fuck himself.

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