In the Republican presidential primary, every candidate is fighting over who can be the most extreme.
What we’re hearing day after day are sickening attacks on working families, women and Latinos, and it’s not just from Donald Trump. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and the state’s ex-governor Jeb Bush, the so-called moderates in the race, are actually the most scary. They’re pushing agendas as radical as any other aspirant, but they put smiley faces on policies that would be devastating to all of us.
One particularly telling example came the other day when Rubio explained that President Obama’s executive actions that protect DREAMers from deportation must come to an end -- no ifs, ands or buts. This means that a President Rubio would have no problem with deporting people who were brought to the country as children and who call the United States home. These are valedictorians, future teachers and doctors, many of whom don’t even remember living anywhere other than the United States. The callousness Rubio displayed toward the DREAMers should terrify us all.
He’s no outlier on this issue. Bush likened Obama to a “Latin American dictator” when discussing immigration policies, while Mike Huckabee compared Obama’s actions on immigration to the “tyranny of King George.”
The Republican candidates’ hardline positions aren’t limited to immigration. In the first GOP debate, Rubio staked out his opposition to allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest. Bush brags that he’s the “most pro-life governor in modern times.” As Florida’s governor, he went so far as to try to block a developmentally disabled 22-year-old rape survivor from having an abortion. Just eight days before the shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood, Ted Cruz went so far as to trumpet the endorsement of the extreme anti-choice leader Troy Newman, who has called for the execution of abortion providers.
All of the Republicans’ economic plans would make it even harder for working families to make ends meet. The most recent Republican debate kicked off with a question about the minimum wage. The three candidates who were asked the question – Trump, Rubio and Ben Carson – didn’t mince words in their steadfast opposition to raising wages for the lowest-paid workers. Rubio called the minimum wage a “disaster,” while Trump said that wages are “too high.”
This isn’t just talk. All the senators currently running for president (Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham) have cast votes against raising the minimum wage. And the tax plans that candidates have released cut taxes significantly for the top 1 percent and ignore the needs of poor and middle-class Americans.
With positions like these, it’s clear that all of the Republican candidates are too extreme for our communities. We need a president who will respect immigrants and women, who will respect our families, who will respect our values.
Dolores Huerta is a civil rights activist and board member of People For the American Way. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.