“Trump is a Nazi.”
“Trump is ruining America.”
“Trump supporters are Nazis who are ruining America.”
It’s difficult to live in Los Angeles without hearing at least one of these sentences on a near-daily basis. The Democratic hegemony of this city means that folks are pretty comfortable dropping this sort of charged language, knowing that no Trump supporter is likely within earshot. But this message has spread beyond the cozy confines of Hollywood. Now it’s part of the general tenor of political debate springing from mainstream Democrats.
The latest example comes in the context of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy. Trump has implemented a new “zero tolerance” policy in which illegal immigrants caught crossing the border at non-points of entry are immediately arrested. Those who come along with children are separated from their children. They are separated by force of law, as dictated by the far-left Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, in 2014, the Barack Obama administration kept children together with their parents in detention — and the administration was then sued for supposed brutality, forcing the separation of families, since children could not be kept in custody with parents longer than 20 days.
Now, nobody wants children separated from their parents (or if they do, they’re wrong). The law should be changed by Congress to allow family detention and deportation for illegal immigrants. But we must be clear about one thing: Trump didn’t simply decide to separate children from parents, nor was he the first president to institute such a policy.
Nonetheless, the wails of lamentation from the left have been voluminous and blaring. We haven’t heard a rational discussion about the upsides and downsides of family detention versus separation; instead, we’ve heard that Trump is a Nazi, that he’s ruining America, and that Trump supporters are Nazis who are ruining America.
Trump hatred has led to unhinged responses that have pushed people into his corner.
Furthermore, we’ve heard that since Trump and his minions are Nazis, it’s perfectly appropriate to destroy their lives. Thus, in the past week we’ve seen Trump Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — who is implementing a policy identical to that of Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, as Johnson himself has admitted — subjected to rowdies shouting her out of a restaurant. We’ve seen White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tossed from a Red Hen in Lexington, Va. We’ve seen Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Ca.) — dubbed “Auntie Maxine” by her Democratic admirers, in spite of her support for the horrific Los Angeles riots — call on crowds to harass members of the Trump Cabinet, stating, “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Perhaps those cheering such extreme rhetoric think they’re doing a world of good. In truth, their hatred for Trump, extended to his supporters, is actually emboldening Trump and strengthening his base of support. Even those of us uncomfortable with Trump’s character aren’t likely to side with Waters or crowds shouting down Cabinet secretaries eating dinner. Nor are we likely to go along with labeling Trumpian immigration policy Nazi-like — particularly without any serious historical references, and combined with on-the-ground activism that sometimes looks like a fair bit like brownshirt thuggery. Last week, George Will called on Republicans to vote for Democrats in order to check Trump — but no self-respecting Republican is going to vote for the people who call them Nazis and who avoid making serious arguments in favor of shouting about Orange Hitler.
The great irony is that Trump is an unpopular president by any objective measure — he’s spent his entire presidency hovering around 40 percent, despite a booming economy and a dearth of foreign crises. All the left would have to do to win over independents and disenchanted Republicans is provide some semblance of stability and decency. Instead, hatred for Trump has driven the left to polarization — and that polarization is forcing the same binary choice that led to Trump’s presidency in the first place. Trump hatred has led to disproportionate, irrational responses that have pushed people into his corner. These unhinged attacks against Trump don’t defeat Trump. They strengthen him.
Ben Shapiro is a best-selling author, editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire and host of the conservative podcast “The Ben Shapiro Show.”