Donald Trump Is Not a Racist. Don’t Go Back to 2005, Republicans.

While I continue to admire Donald Trump’s ability to command attention at long, rambling, unscripted press conferences, I still am not persuaded he will be the next President of the United States. Nonetheless, the GOP establishment in Washington has decided to treat Donald Trump the way the Bush White House treated many conservative leaders in 2005 during the immigration fight. They’re labeling him racist for daring to oppose Republican leadership preferences on immigration.

Trump is doing something quite amazing. He has taken the political class equivalent of the Island of Misfit Toys and turned it into a campaign team besting the best and brightest of the Republican Party — an even more damning indictment against the GOP political consultant class than Project ORCA. He has captured the souls of almost a quarter of Republican Party voters and fashioned a coalition of people angry at Washington; people angry at Mexico and China; and people who are angry at people of any skin color other than white. Oh, and we should add in the Christians who have some idolatrous ideal of American Jesus and have decided their savior will not be Christ, but a man on his third marriage who says he cannot relate to anyone in the Bible, cannot name a favorite Bible verse, has said he never asked God for forgiveness, and has a prosperity gospel preacher as a spiritual advisor. American Jesus for the win!

I have never seen a single campaign composed of more angry souls — people who believe America is no longer great and are pissed off about it, people who think Washington is actively opposed to making the United States great; white supremacists; conspiracy theorists; Jew haters; and more. If you believe the President is a foreign born Kenyan muslim sleeper cell of one, you are probably voting for Donald Trump. In the same way, if you believe Washington has destroyed the country and there is no one on the national stage who can make America great again, you are probably also voting for the one candidate who has been in bankruptcy court more than all the other candidates combined. This is a coalition of anger, but angry people who are mutually incompatible. The Christians and those who want to make America great again are not racists and the racists are not Christian, but they all are on Team Trump.

Here’s the thing though — the vast majority of Trump supporters are angry, but they are not racist. Certainly a loud element of racists have taken to Team Trump. His campaign needs to deal with that. But most of the people who are with Trump do not hate hispanic immigrants, they are angered by law breakers who are going unpunished. They are not opposed to immigration, but to illegal immigration.

In 2005, as the Bush Administration began to push for comprehensive immigration reform, leadership elements both in the White House and the Congressional GOP reacted to opponents of the plan by labeling all of them racist. Again, there certainly are racists who oppose immigration reform, but the brush used to paint the opponents was so broad to demand that all opponents of immigration be considered racist.

Again in 2015, the same thing is happening. Trump is taking a very vocal stand against law breaking, including crossing the border illegally. This has been interpreted not just by the left, but by Republican establishment leaders as “we hate brown people.” Trump has been clear this is not true.

At the same time, there are very vocal racists and white supremacists who have gravitated to Trump. They have flooded social media, email, and websites raising not just the confederate battle flag, but the Neo-Nazi flag. I suspect Trump does not even know this.

For all the faults I have with Donald Trump, he is not a racist and I have no hesitation in defending him on this point. He was raised in the church of Norman Vincent Peale, a man who championed the power of positive thinking. Most of his supporters, though very angry, are not people who hate Mexicans. They are just outraged at the integrity of our American border being unsecured and politicized. Republicans in Washington who’ve decided to go after Trump for being a racist are again proving they do not know how to deal with Trump and are also proving they have no intention of securing the border. They just keep playing right into his hands.