The language of authoritarian populism

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 24, 10:02 pm.
  2. June 25, 5:06 am:
    • Donald Trump’s tweets demonizing unauthorized migrants are far from alone on social networks.[1] What’s remarkable is how very much alike all these comments sound. (Unauthorized migration)
  3. June 25, 4:10 pm:
    • Wow. I’ve been getting a picture that Evangelical Protestants support Donald Trump despite his transgressions out of fear of progressive social change.[2] John Fea explains how that fear has, in fact, displaced faith, leading to support for authoritarianism, and that this is a mistake that Evangelicals in the U.S. have made throughout history.[3]
    • Readers of my dissertation will not be surprised. Genuine fear for their lives is one factor pushing unauthorized migrants to the U.S.[4] Trump administration threats only change the calculation, not the desperation.[5] (Unauthorized migration)
    • MS-13, the very violent gang that Donald Trump and his supporters use to rationalize anti-immigration policy, was actually founded in Southern California. It poses a real threat, but not the one Trump claims.[6] (Unauthorized migration)
    • It appears that at at least two facilities, family reunifications are only occurring with deportations and some accordingly agree to ‘voluntary’ deportations under duress. It’s not clear that the U.S. government reliably even honors its reunification promises.[7] (Unauthorized migration)
    • Jennifer Rubin expresses what very much appears to me to be a functionalist conservative take on the current Republican line on unauthorized migration.[8] I do not know if she is a Republican. One might assume so, but I certainly don’t see how, under present circumstances, she could remain one. (Unauthorized migration)
    • Jeff Sessions’ claim that prosecutions would continue notwithstanding, prosecutions of adults crossing the border with children appear to be being suspended. At least until Congress passes a fix for the court settlement that has been interpreted to require separations when adults are prosecuted, this enables families to remain together while their cases are processed.[9] Note: This story is published by the National Review, which seems to be dominated by neoconservatives. It can therefore be expected to bias in favor of so-called “Law and Order,” about which, see my comment under Unauthorized migration.
  4. June 25, 6:33 pm:
    • So there’s this article that normally I wouldn’t archive, much less put in an issue here. But it has a quotation about Donald Trump[10] that I think is really right on. Somebody at Vox apparently agrees: They put that very passage in their newsletter.[11]
  5. June 26, 8:45 pm:
    • The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban.[12]
    • The Secretary of Health and Human Services confirmed suspicions that family reunifications were only occurring in cases where the adults abandoned their asylum claims and submitted to voluntary deportation. He cited the Flores settlement.[13] However, in a preliminary injunction, a federal judge has adopted a different view, saying the separations cannot meet the requirement for due process.[14] (Unauthorized migration)
  6. June 26, 9:05 pm:
    • There is personal news.

Personal News

Some of you know that Patches, the sweetest, dearest cat ever, returned to me last Friday, the 22nd. At first, all seemed well. On the morning of the 26th, however, she began peeing on my bed again. I have surrendered her to the Marin Humane Society in Novato.

I am heartbroken. I’ll never meet as loving a cat as this ever again. I promised her a “forever home” and I meant it. I wasn’t able to keep that promise. And it certainly isn’t her fault she had a urinary tract infection.

As one who has suffered some of the injustice in our society, the last thing I would ever want to do is mete out injustice to such a creature. I wish her well.


Unauthorized migration

Something I wrote almost five years ago, while I was still working toward my Ph.D.:

Borders surround countries—nation-states—and enclose human beings, labeled “citizens,” within those countries, who are accorded certain rights and privileges. Borders correspondingly exclude nationals from other countries, who are apparently unworthy of those same rights and privileges. It is unclear to me that there is any way this cannot be interpreted in terms of superiority and inferiority: People allowed to be within a country are considered superior and those who are not are considered inferior.[15]

Fast forward to today:

They’re lucky we aren’t executing them.[16]

I personally think they should shoot them all at the border and call it good. It’ll save us hard working AMERICAN’S billions of dollars on our taxes! 😉[17]

This is the language of authoritarian populism in reference to unauthorized migrants.[18] And always, when you see the words, “Law and Order,” ask whose “law?” Whose “order?” It usually means the “Law and Order” of overwhelmingly wealthy, mostly white, mostly men, who, as Jeffrey Reiman has pointed out, are not generally subject to that “Law,” that “Order.”[19] Rather,

Tara Isabella Burton, “Jeff Sessions could be expelled from the Methodist Church over migrant policies,” Vox, June 19, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/6/19/17479232/united-methodist-church-charges-expel-jeff-sessions-migrant

Jay Root and Shannon Najmabadi, “Kids in exchange for deportation: Detained migrants say they were told they could get kids back on way out of U.S.,” Texas Tribune, June 24, 2018, https://www.texastribune.org/2018/06/24/kids-exchange-deportation-migrants-claim-they-were-promised-they-could/

Philip Rucker and David Weigel, “Trump advocates depriving undocumented immigrants of due-process rights,” Washington Post, June 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/trump-advocates-depriving-undocumented-immigrants-of-due-process-rights/2018/06/24/dfa45d36-77bd-11e8-93cc-6d3beccdd7a3_story.html

Maria Sacchetti, Michael E. Miller, and Robert Moore, “Sen. Warren visits detention center, says no children being returned to parents there,” Washington Post, June 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/desperate-to-get-children-back-migrants-are-willing-to-give-up-asylum-claims-lawyers-say/2018/06/24/c7fab87c-77e2-11e8-80be-6d32e182a3bc_story.html

Maria Sacchetti, Kevin Sieff and Marc Fisher, “Separated immigrant children are all over the U.S. now, far from parents who don’t know where they are,” Washington Post, June 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/separated-immigrant-children-are-all-over-the-us-now-far-from-parents-who-dont-know-where-they-are/2018/06/24/c9bc5ba6-7568-11e8-805c-4b67019fcfe4_story.html

Evan Sernoffsky and Joe Garofoli, “MS-13 is scary, but Trump may be exaggerating the threat,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 24, 2018, https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/MS-13-is-scary-but-Trump-may-be-exaggerating-the-13020572.php

Jon Swaine, “Trump stokes immigration chaos with call for summary deportations,” Guardian, June 24, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/24/trump-family-separations-children-immigration-dhs-texas

Cindy Carcamo, “At the border, mothers prepare to make an agonizing choice,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-asylum-seekers-prepare-to-cross-20180625-story.html

Jack Crowe, “Border Patrol Commissioner Suspends Prosecution of Adults Who Cross Border with Children,” National Review, June 25, 2018, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/illegal-immigrant-families-prosecution-suspended-border/

Jennifer Rubin, “What is wrong with Republicans?” Washington Post, June 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/06/25/what-is-wrong-with-republicans/

Kyle Swenson, “‘They’re lucky we aren’t executing them’: National Guardsman faces punishment for Facebook post on migrants,” Washington Post, June 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/06/25/theyre-lucky-we-arent-executing-them-national-guardsman-face-punishment-for-facebook-post-on-migrants/

Josh Gerstein, “Judge orders Trump administration to reunite migrant families,” Politico, June 26, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/26/judge-orders-trump-reunite-migrant-families-678809

Sarah D. Wire and Jazmine Ulloa, “Trump administration won’t return children to immigrant parents in custody, top official says,” Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-immigration-house-vote-20180626-story.html


Donald Trump

There’s this idea that if only people asked Trump X, Y, and Z, we’d get to the bottom of something. But if we’ve learned anything, it’s that he’s the constant; he’s resolute in his belief that he’s right, that he’s a victim, and that the last thing he heard is the truth, provided it’s something positive about him. No variable is going to change what he is.[20]

Julia Ioffe, “Seth Meyers Has ‘Very Fond’ Memories of Roasting Trump,” Atlantic, June, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/seth-meyers-trump-oprah/559118/

John Fea, “Evangelical Fear Elected Trump,” Atlantic, June 24, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/06/a-history-of-evangelical-fear/563558/


Muslim Ban

Lydia Wheeler, “Supreme Court upholds travel ban, handing Trump major victory,” Hill, June 26, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/394143-supreme-court-upholds-trump-travel-ban


  1. [1]Kyle Swenson, “‘They’re lucky we aren’t executing them’: National Guardsman faces punishment for Facebook post on migrants,” Washington Post, June 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/06/25/theyre-lucky-we-arent-executing-them-national-guardsman-face-punishment-for-facebook-post-on-migrants/
  2. [2]Bill Berkowitz, “Are Right-Wing Evangelicals True Christians or Just Another White Identity Cult?” Truthout, March 4, 2016, http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/are-evangelicals-true-christians-or-just-another-white-identity-cult; David Goldstein, “Evangelicals have qualms with Trump, but see nowhere else to turn,” McClatchy, June 10, 2016, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article82901192.html?rh=1; Bethania Palma Markus, “Christian leader: Trump reveals that progressives were right about evangelicals all along,” Raw Story, March 1, 2016, http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/christian-leader-trump-reveals-that-progressives-were-right-about-evangelicals-all-along/; Russell Moore, “Why this election makes me hate the word ‘evangelical,’” Washington Post, February 29, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/02/29/russell-moore-why-this-election-makes-me-hate-the-word-evangelical/; Napp Nazworth, “Conservative Evangelical Author Matt Lewis on Trump, Evangelicals and Stupid Republicans (Interview),” Christian Post, January 26, 2016, http://www.christianpost.com/news/conservative-evangelical-author-matt-lewis-donald-trump-evangelicals-stupid-republicans-155688/; Ray Nothstine, “Who Are the Evangelicals Supporting Donald Trump?” Christian Post, August 30, 2015, http://www.christianpost.com/news/who-are-the-evangelicals-supporting-donald-trump-143997/
  3. [3]John Fea, “Evangelical Fear Elected Trump,” Atlantic, June 24, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/06/a-history-of-evangelical-fear/563558/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  5. [5]Cindy Carcamo, “At the border, mothers prepare to make an agonizing choice,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-asylum-seekers-prepare-to-cross-20180625-story.html
  6. [6]Evan Sernoffsky and Joe Garofoli, “MS-13 is scary, but Trump may be exaggerating the threat,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 24, 2018, https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/MS-13-is-scary-but-Trump-may-be-exaggerating-the-13020572.php
  7. [7]Jay Root and Shannon Najmabadi, “Kids in exchange for deportation: Detained migrants say they were told they could get kids back on way out of U.S.,” Texas Tribune, June 24, 2018, https://www.texastribune.org/2018/06/24/kids-exchange-deportation-migrants-claim-they-were-promised-they-could/; Maria Sacchetti, Michael E. Miller, and Robert Moore, “Sen. Warren visits detention center, says no children being returned to parents there,” Washington Post, June 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/desperate-to-get-children-back-migrants-are-willing-to-give-up-asylum-claims-lawyers-say/2018/06/24/c7fab87c-77e2-11e8-80be-6d32e182a3bc_story.html
  8. [8]Jennifer Rubin, “What is wrong with Republicans?” Washington Post, June 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/06/25/what-is-wrong-with-republicans/
  9. [9]Jack Crowe, “Border Patrol Commissioner Suspends Prosecution of Adults Who Cross Border with Children,” National Review, June 25, 2018, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/illegal-immigrant-families-prosecution-suspended-border/
  10. [10]Julia Ioffe, “Seth Meyers Has ‘Very Fond’ Memories of Roasting Trump,” Atlantic, June, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/seth-meyers-trump-oprah/559118/
  11. [11]Jennie Neufeld to Vox Sentences list, “Trump’s trade war comes for Harley-Davidson,” June 24, 2018, https://www.vox.com/
  12. [12]Lydia Wheeler, “Supreme Court upholds travel ban, handing Trump major victory,” Hill, June 26, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/394143-supreme-court-upholds-trump-travel-ban
  13. [13]Jay Root and Shannon Najmabadi, “Kids in exchange for deportation: Detained migrants say they were told they could get kids back on way out of U.S.,” Texas Tribune, June 24, 2018, https://www.texastribune.org/2018/06/24/kids-exchange-deportation-migrants-claim-they-were-promised-they-could/; Maria Sacchetti, Michael E. Miller, and Robert Moore, “Sen. Warren visits detention center, says no children being returned to parents there,” Washington Post, June 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/desperate-to-get-children-back-migrants-are-willing-to-give-up-asylum-claims-lawyers-say/2018/06/24/c7fab87c-77e2-11e8-80be-6d32e182a3bc_story.html; Sarah D. Wire and Jazmine Ulloa, “Trump administration won’t return children to immigrant parents in custody, top official says,” Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-immigration-house-vote-20180626-story.html
  14. [14]Josh Gerstein, “Judge orders Trump administration to reunite migrant families,” Politico, June 26, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/26/judge-orders-trump-reunite-migrant-families-678809
  15. [15]David Benfell, “Humans Without Borders: A Paradox,” October 15, 2013, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2013/10/15/humans-without-borders-paradox
  16. [16]Gerod Martin, quoted in Kyle Swenson, “‘They’re lucky we aren’t executing them’: National Guardsman faces punishment for Facebook post on migrants,” Washington Post, June 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/06/25/theyre-lucky-we-arent-executing-them-national-guardsman-face-punishment-for-facebook-post-on-migrants/
  17. [17]Lori McAllen, quoted in Kyle Swenson, “‘They’re lucky we aren’t executing them’: National Guardsman faces punishment for Facebook post on migrants,” Washington Post, June 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/06/25/theyre-lucky-we-arent-executing-them-national-guardsman-face-punishment-for-facebook-post-on-migrants/
  18. [18]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  19. [19]Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  20. [20]Seth Meyers, quoted in Julia Ioffe, “Seth Meyers Has ‘Very Fond’ Memories of Roasting Trump,” Atlantic, June, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/seth-meyers-trump-oprah/559118/

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