Donald Trump's ugly, divisive, demagogic politics are barely even news anymore. His comments on Mexican “rapists” coming to the U.S. and on Carly Fiorina (“Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?”), his mocking of Asian accents and of a disabled reporter, his irresponsible birther baloney, his inaccurate tweet about “whites killed by blacks” — it's all beginning to run together in a giant soup of bigotry and intolerance. We've tried on this page not to respond to each new utterance, partly for fear of giving him the attention he craves, and partly because we hoped voters would recognize his foolishness for what it is.
But now he's outdone himself. On Monday, Trump demanded a “total and complete shutdown” of immigration by Muslims, an idea so far out of the mainstream that Jeb Bush called him “unhinged” and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called him a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.”
Unsatisfied with linking a billion and a half Muslims to terrorism, Trump defended his comments Tuesday by invoking President Franklin Roosevelt's decision to classify Germans, Japanese and Italians as “enemy aliens” during World War II. No, Trump insisted, he wasn't calling for internment camps for Muslims today. But asked whether he would have supported interning people of Japanese ancestry during the war, Trump told Time magazine: “I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer. I certainly hate the concept of it. But I would have had to be there.”
Surely Trump knows (or maybe he doesn't) that the Japanese internment is one of the great embarrassments of American history. In 1988, President Reagan offered a long-overdue formal apology and compensation to 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry (many of them U.S. citizens) unfairly incarcerated during the war.
No-nothingism has its charms. Populism is popular. But Donald Trump's demagoguery long ago ceased to be amusing.
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