Mexican-American Support for Trump

My question did not get as many responses as I had hoped, but let us take on that will illustrate my point quite nicely:

"I think he will do quite poorly with Mexican Americans, due to his rapists remark, his remarks about the Trump University judge, and his support for a deportation."

I have seen tons of similar claims by anti-Trump folks. So let's look at claims 1 and 2 below:

1) Now, I do not think for a second that this commenter is prejudiced against Mexican-Americans. But his claim is that, in general, Mexican-Americans will be be anti-Trump, given Trump's past statements concerning Mexicans.

2) What did Trump say about the Trump University judge? His claim is that this particular Mexican-American judge will be anti-Trump, given Trump's past statements concerning Mexicans.

1) and 2) are essentially the same claim, except that Trump's claim is less of a generalization. (He only made the claim about a single person!)

The moral: it is absolutely fine to generalize about Mexican-Americans (or Hispanics, or African-Americans) so long as the point of the generalization is anti-Trump. But if your point is pro-Trump, and you make any generalization about one of these groups, you are a racist!

Notice: when Ron Paul looked like a possible threat to the establishment candidates, stories started appearing that Paul is a racist! When the outcome of Clinton-Sanders appeared in doubt, I started seeing stories claiming that Sanders' supporters are racists.

This is absolutely plumb-line standard establishment response to any non-establishment candidate who looks to be doing well. In 2004, if the establishment had not been able to use Howard Dean being "unhinged" against him, the "racist" meme would have popped up soon enough.

7 comments:

  1. What did Trump say about the Trump University judge? His claim is that this particular Mexican-American judge will be anti-Trump, given Trump's past statements concerning Mexicans.

    Not exactly. Trump is also saying that this judge will be incapable of upholding his professional obligation to treat Trump's claims on the merits, regardless of his personal or political affinity for Trump.

    In other words, if Trump were saying that this judge is not going to vote for Trump because of Trump's past statements, it would be a particular case of (1) (and also not nearly so controversial).

    For what Trump said and the commenter said to be equivalent, I think the commenter would have had to say something like "In general, Mexican-Americans with a professional and legal obligation to treat Trump fairly in a context where his past statements concerning Mexicans have no relevance whatsoever will not be able to do so".

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  2. Gene, most of the people I've seen criticizing Trump's comments about the judge basically make the following argument: "Donald, if you're saying that a judge will treat you unfairly simply on the basis of the fact that he is of Mexican heritage, then there are two possibilities. Either you are conceding that your statements and policies are so hurtful to Hispanics that you cannot possibly expect fair treatment from a Hispanic judge, which says something awfully bad about you. Or you are saying that there is some other reason why you don't want a judge of Mexican descent, which opens the door to the possibility that you don't want a Hispanic judge for racist reasons." Now you may disagree with their argument, but that's the argument they're making.

    By the way Gene, did you get my email from a few days ago, proposing the terms of a bet on Trump? If not I can post it here.

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    1. ""Donald, if you're saying that *A* judge will treat you unfairly simply on the basis of the fact that he is of Mexican heritage..."

      They begin the argument with a lie: Trump has not said that *A* judge of Mexican descent *cannot* treat him fairly. He has said that *THIS* judge of Mexican descent *is* not treating him fairly. And he adds that perhaps that's because the judge is mad about the whole wall thing.

      And yes, we are on with the bet. Sorry for the slow response.

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    2. Keshav:

      1) It is really obvious what is happening here: Trump is afraid he will lose the lawsuit. So he is preparing a narrative as to why he lost: "The judge was biased!"
      "Biased? But why?"
      "He hates me over the wall proposal!"
      That's it, period. If the judge was German, he would find some other story. "Mexican" just happens to be handy here.

      2) When an argument like the one you describe above is based on a blatant lie, why should I take it seriously?

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    3. Gene, I don't think the people criticizing Trump's comments are lying at all. Trump is not simply saying "This judge is treating me unfairly, and if I were to guess, the reason why he is treating me unfairly is probably that he's against my plan to build a wall." He's saying for more than that. He's saying things along the lines of "This judge should recuse himself, because he is of Mexican heritage and I want to build a wall. So he has a conflict of interest." The clear implication of that is that if anyone is of Mexican heritage, they have a conflict of interest because Trump wants to build a wall. That is the sort of thing that is opening him up to the argument I outlined.

      Now I suspect you're right that Trump just wanted to bash the judge, and so he basically chose the first argument that popped into his head. But I think that it's perfectly fine as a rhetorical move for Trump's opponents to say "Your comments imply (through the argument outlined above) that you are a racist. So assuming you don't withdraw or apologize for your comment, we have every right to hold you accountable for what you said." So assuming the argument is valid, I don't see a problem with holding someone accountable for their own words.

      To take a simpler example, if Trump said "Hillary is a [insert extremely derogatory term for women here].", then don't you think it would be fine for people to criticize him for it, even if it was true that he was just saying it to win votes, and that in his heart of hearts he liked Hillary and had great respect for women?

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    4. "The clear implication of that is that if anyone is of Mexican heritage, they have a conflict of interest because Trump wants to build a wall."

      Uh-uh, no way, Keshav: he NEVER said "anyone of Mexican heritage would have a conflict." NEVER. He said THIS judge has a conflict. Lots of Mexican-Americans LOVE the Donald (he would say): they see they will do very well under his administration (he would say).

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  3. "Notice: when Ron Paul looked like a possible threat to the establishment candidates, stories started appearing that Paul is a racist!"

    I do not think Paul is a racist, but I did have major reservations about his candidacy even though I like him. If I had been the media, I would have brought up his We the People Act which was many times more problematic than his views on business regulation. Unfortunately, many people (on both sides) seemed (and still seem) too interested in the topic of welfare and industrial regulation, which is only a part of the whole fabric of law.

    I m not old enough to remember Dean's run (perhaps I am, but I still would have been too young to pay attention).

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