When two planeloads of migrants from Venezuela arrived in Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, they had no idea where they were or where they could go to find shelter. A woman called Perla had lured them onto the plane with promises of a journey to Boston and expedited work papers, NPR reports. “She offered us help. Help that never arrived,” one migrant, Andres Duarte, said. “Now we are here. We got on the plane with a vision of the future, of making it.” Duarte’s plight provokes comparisons to kidnapping or human trafficking; either way, the culprit is Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida. Although the migrants had been in Texas, DeSantis paid for the flight and had them dropped like refuse a world away.
DeSantis is hardly the only Republican to abuse migrants in this fashion. In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has been sending busloads of people to liberal enclaves including Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C. So has Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona. With each plane- or busload a transformation steadily nears its completion, and once finished, it can’t easily be undone: The GOP is becoming the party of inhumanity.
The nativism of Trumpian antecedents like Pat Buchanan has won out over pluralist instinct, completing a turn that has been in the making for decades. Southern segregationists once bused Black families north much the same way as DeSantis, Abbott, and Ducey are doing with migrants now. The idea back then, as Jonathan Chait pointed out, was to punish liberals for their professed tolerance; segregationists assumed northern liberals would come to despise Black people as much as they did. In more recent years, inhumanity characterized much of Donald Trump’s appeal. He denigrated migrants in particular from his earliest days as a candidate and subjected them to horrific conditions on the border as president. Like their segregationist predecessors, today’s Republicans assume liberals will react with fear and disgust as migrants arrive on their doorstep. To them, we are all Trumpists in waiting. [Continue reading…]