Trump’s anti-immigrant bigotry is populist – and popular

❝ Donald Trump’s presidency reminds me of nothing so much as the wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. At the height of the violence, a Serb friend said to me that, “I don’t like [Slobodan] Milošević. I don’t like his methods, his cruelty, his crudeness, and his sadism. But at least someone is doing something.”

That last clause captured the essence of the entire conflict. My friend was willing to look past all of Milošević’s abuses and brutality if it meant that Serbia wouldn’t be a victim anymore. According to this nationalist narrative, Serbia had been forced to accept that it was just one republic among six, even though Serbs, who were spread out across Yugoslavia, comprised almost half of the country’s total population…

❝ In many ways, a similar pattern has emerged in the United States since Trump took office. Trump is rude and often cruel, and even many of his supporters seem to realize that they wouldn’t want their own children to emulate him. Still, he speaks to their grievances and anxieties. And in 2016, he reached enough swing-state voters to clinch a victory – a scenario that could well happen again in 2020…

❝ In the eyes of his supporters, Trump is winning on immigration, simply because he is “doing something.” Under his watch, distinctions between legal and illegal immigration have been cast aside, along with wonky debates about the need for skilled workers in certain sectors or locales. And if you think that Trump will acknowledge that immigrants built the country, you can think again. The entire issue has been reduced to a question of American identity, filtered through the prism of race.

Worthwhile read, folks. What I’d expect from a career public servant. Well educated, smart and experienced. Exactly the sort of opinion ignored by the Trump cult.

Fight against gerrymandering moves to states

❝ The movement to take politics out of setting legislative district boundaries seemed to suffer a grievous, and perhaps even mortal, blow this spring when the Supreme Court passed up three chances to declare partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional.

But it turns out that reports of its death are exaggerated. As federal courts dither over how to resolve the issue, activists have begun tackling it state by state at the grass roots.

❝ It is remarkable that five states are holding ballot measures on the issue in a single year; only five had taken them up over the entire preceding decade…

Just as unusual is how little opposition the measures are meeting, at least so far. Beyond Michigan, where the state Chamber of Commerce and the Republican attorney general are trying to block the anti-gerrymandering initiative, organized resistance to the proposals has been scant.

The usual drill in the past only involved upstarts, independents, progressives. Leaders of the two old parties figured they get to take turns screwing over one or another portion of the electorate – keeping themselves in power beyond the acceptance of few accomplishments actually useful to peoples’ needs. Instead of kissing corporate butt.

Useful article.