On Sunday, NBC News Meet The Press host Chuck Todd attacked Republican 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump as a neo-segregationist.
After listening to Maria Hinojosa, anchor and producer of Latino USA on National Public Radio, bash Trump’s rhetoric on illegal immigration as akin to the anti-Japanese racism of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the racism of Strom Thurmond, Todd commented:
We’ve seen versions of Donald Trump over the years. And I just don’t mean versions of this Donald Trump, but I mean, you know, a George Wallace and things like this. This does happen. And they do strike a chord.
Repeat plagiarist Doris Kearns Goodwin, who is still a revered guest on major network news, chimed in on the role of journalists:
We, as journalists, have a responsibility to figure out which candidates are likely to be our leaders. I remember talking with Tim Russert about this. Rather than who’s got the most money, who’s saying the most outrageous thing, who has the highest polls, who is likely to be a leader? They’ve shown qualities already. This guy has shown qualities I cannot imagine him as a presidential leader.
Having “journalists” judge which candidates are worthy inherently introduces an element of selection bias into the criteria for coverage. Obviously, Democrats in the media do not consider Martin O’Malley worthy of coverage, but consider Bernie Sanders infinitely more worthy; obviously, Democrats don’t consider Bobby Jindal worthy of coverage, but consider Carly Fiorina worthy of coverage. These decisions seem to be made along lines of political expedience rather than polling data or any other objective criteria.
More troubling, however, are Todd’s comments. The left has an unhelpful habit of calling everything with which they disagree racist. Here is what Trump said, directly:
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
There is nothing racist here. Uncomfortably overbroad and ill-stated, of course, as is Trump’s wont. But not racist, for two reasons. First, Trump specifically talks about illegal immigrants from Mexico. Illegal immigrants are not a race. They are a subset. Actually, Trump should have mentioned illegal immigrants crossing America’s southern border from a broad variety of countries south of the American border. Second, Trump specifically mentions, albeit awkwardly, that there are some good people who are illegal immigrants, and there are some who are criminals.
Contrast that with the rhetoric of segregationist George Wallace, a four-term Democrat governor from Alabama. Wallace told his finance director in 1958, after being beaten in a gubernatorial run, “I was out-n*****ed, and I will never be out-n*****ed again.” Wallace infamously declared he was for “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” According to reporter Tony Heffernan, Wallace “never said anything but ‘Negro’ in public, but in personal conversation, they were ‘n*****s,’” and referred to Senator Edward Brooke (D-MA) as a “n***** senator from Massachusetts.” He reportedly stated, “All these countries with n*****s in ‘em have stayed the same for a thousand years.”
Has Trump said anything remotely like that? He has said that federal immigration law ought to be enforced. He has said that America’s failure to enforce its immigration laws means that criminals, including rapists and drug dealers, cross the borders. He has said that the Mexican government has been happy to facilitate the movement of people across America’s southern border, and that those people are typically not computer engineers. Trump may be guilty of vaguely-worded implications, but he’s not guilty of racism. And he’s certainly no George Wallace.
If Democrats want a George Wallace type, they ought to look across the aisle to Hillary Clinton. Wallace was well-known as a liberal judge before running for governor in 1958; he said, “I want to tell the good people of this state as a judge of the 3rd Judicial Circuit, if I didn’t have what it took to treat a man fair regardless of his color, then I don’t have what it takes to be the governor of your great state.” He swiveled on a dime after losing that election, and campaigned as an overt racist preaching the fire and brimstone of segregation.
Such machinations are familiar to another prominent Democrat.
Hillary Clinton once called traditional marriage a “sacred bond between a man and a woman…the fundamental bedrock principle that exists between a man and woman.” Hillary Clinton once said “I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants…people have to stop employing illegal immigrants. I mean, come up to Westchester, go to Suffolk and Nassau counties, stand on the street corners in Brooklyn or the Bronx [and] you’re going to see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work and construction work and domestic work.” Then she got beat by Barack Obama.
Now, with the political winds shifting, she has become a militant anti-religious bigot, stating, “religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” Now, trying to pick up the Hispanic vote, her qualms have disappeared – she says she is for sanctuary cities and wants to go further than Barack Obama in her executive actions to preserve the presence of illegal immigrants in the country.
But don’t worry – Hillary will never be compared to George Wallace, or Margaret Sanger, or even George McGovern or Walter Mondale. Only Trump will be castigated in this fashion. After all, the media get to decide for us who are the truly legitimate candidates.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.