Monday, May 28, 2018

The Politics of MS-13: Liberals are playing into a key aspect of Trump’s appeal

Jose Cabezas/Reuters
The flap over Donald Trump’s “animals” comment wasn’t really about whether it was taken out of context. Just days after CNN, the AP, and others in the mainstream media admitted that Trump had been talking about members of the MS-13 gang and not all immigrants, the same chorus of critics doubled down, insisting that even vicious gang members should not be “dehumanized.” Trump’s appearance at a Long Island event focusing on efforts to combat the violent gang set off another round of criticism, consisting mainly of the media repeating his prior comment.
But by seeking to minimize outrage against an indefensible criminal organization, liberals are missing the point about why Trump has, despite numerous missteps, managed to hold on to the support of those who elected him. A debate over whether it is okay to say bad things about gang members plays right into Trump’s hands.
The “animals” kerfuffle was initially depicted as just the latest in a string of “gotcha” moments that proved the president’s bad character. But after it was made clear, even to some of his most ardent critics, that the comment was obviously a denunciation of MS-13 members, the discussion shifted into whether it was wrong even to characterize them in this manner.
Dissertations on the common humanity of all people, including those capable of the kind of atrocities that are MS-13’s signature, may seem like a fool’s errand, but that’s the place many Trump critics went in order to pursue the argument. They’ve also attacked the focus on MS-13 as nothing but an excuse for immigrant-bashing and a brazen attempt to conflate the crimes of a few with the behavior of all immigrants — legal or illegal.
Read the rest from Jonathan S. Tobin HERE.

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