In a little less than 18 months voters (well some voters who haven’t been unwillingly suppressed from voting) will head to the polls to elect the next President of the United States. Speculation about who’s running, and who’s not (Hello Sen. Warren, we’re looking at you), has dominated much of the 24 hour news stations and political pundits’ airtime.
What’s happened to us that we actually want this ridiculously expensive campaign to start 18 months ahead of the election (are people really “Ready for Hillary” in 2015?), but alas here we are.
As of April 17th a total of four candidates have made their intentions official (with two others seriously signaling). They’ve all proposed to the American people in different ways—some with cutesy preplanned video proposals, others with large displays of public affection—and they have 18 months to convince us they’re worthy of our vote.
Here we’ll be keeping a close watch on how the candidates interact with the organized anti-immigrant and Islamophobia movements in the United States and keeping readers updated as the race counts down to November 8, 2016.
TED CRUZ – declared by Tweet on March 22
On March 23, Ted Cruz made it official in a speech to students at Liberty University. He included a few lines on immigration in his speech: “Instead of the lawlessness and the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders.” I think the third finally really, really, really drives his point home, don’t you?
And going a bit further back, in July 2013 Cruz supported the DC March for Jobs, which was coordinated by designated hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) anti-immigrant front group the Black American Leadership Alliance.
Cruz is off to a fast start in earning his credentials as a member of the xenophobic, Islamophobia movement in this country. Starting with an appearance on March 14 at the South Carolina South Carolina National Security Action Summit,” an event co-sponsored by Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy a well-documented anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and one of the most prominent figureheads within the organized Islamophobia movement.
On March 27 Cruz participated in the “New England Freedom Conference,” sharing the stage with known anti-Muslim activist and blogger Robert Spencer. While these are only the latest in a long line of questionable partnerships by Cruz, the renewed focus on a Presidential campaign makes them especially nefarious.
RAND PAUL — declared in a public announcement on April 7
On April 8, Paul did an interview with far-right conspiracy obsessed outlet WorldNetDaily and came out hard against DREAMers and babies. From Right Wing Watch: “Paul said that he wants to end birthright citizenship, a key provision of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, claiming that it is turning the U.S. into ‘a magnet for the world’ and lets ‘everybody come in here, have children and they all become citizens.’” Paul went on to say this about the DREAM Act: “The DREAM Act alone I would’ve voted ‘no’ on because the DREAM Act didn’t fix the border.”
On January 8, Paul appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show to comment on the Charlie Hebdo shootings: “You’ve got to secure your country. And that means maybe that every Muslim immigrant that wishes to come to France shouldn’t have an open door to come.”
From Vox: “When Hannity quoted a New York Times editorial saying it’s no time ‘to smear all Muslims with a terrorist brush,’ Paul laughed. ‘I think they must be totally deaf and dumb,’ he said, ‘Because, think about it. I haven’t seen any Christians or Jews dragging people of the Islamic faith through the streets, but I am seeing the opposite. I’m seeing Christians beheaded, I’m seeing people who say anything about Islam being shot, unarmed, being shot.’”
MARCO RUBIO — declared in a public announcement on April 13
Oh, the pages that could be written about Rubio’s complicated history with immigration policy in this country, even just in the last two years. MSNBC sums it up best in this sentence, “Rubio helped write a bipartisan reform bill. Then he criticized it. Then he voted for it. Then he abandoned it. Now he’s running against it, while bragging about having worked on it.”
While Rubio hasn’t said much about Muslim Americans since announcing his campaign, in the wake of the Boston bombings he did say he would consider a moratorium on visas for Muslim students.
Anu Joshi is a campaign manager at the Center for New Community.