After my pieces about the Kids’ Table and Main Stage debates it became startlingly obvious to me that the Republican base not only doesn’t understand how the US government works, but are now actively supporting presidential candidates equally ignorant of the US Constitution and international law. I am not against incredibly right-wing people expressing their democratic views but from a non-American perspective I am somewhat depressed by the popularity of two candidates on the GOP side because of their irreverent dislike of the most important American legal document and global statute.
We start where stupid statements have often originated on the campaign trail, with Donald Trump. In an interview with Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, who still has a job despite pathologically lying about his reporting of various wars, Donald Trump reiterated his policy proposal to deport illegal immigrants’ entire families even if the children in that family were born in the United States. As was pointed out to Mr Trump by Mr O’Reilly that would involve deporting US citizens back to a country that these people have often never visited; such an action would be against US law as natural born citizens, which was officially instituted as law in the Fourteenth Amendment, cannot be deported.
The other point that Trump alluded to was that he doesn’t necessarily believe that people born in the US necessarily become US citizens, which is false; the implication of this would be to violate the Constitution by revoking the citizenship of natural-born citizens in order to deport them thus making that citizen stateless. Unlike many other countries US citizens can renounce their citizenship and voluntarily become stateless, however I would hazard to guess that any attempt to make a citizen stateless by force would be challenged in the Supreme Court.
Although the US is not a signatory to the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, a Trump Presidency would face international condemnation for taking citizenship away from people that have no other official status. Also, if the citizens he would be trying to deport were children, Trump would violate the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child which has been signed by every member of the UN, although the US and Somalia haven’t ratified it.
What I have learned from the research for this article is that the US really needs to start signing up to international law before it lectures other countries about human rights abuses.
The other candidate that gave an illegal solution to a political issue is Dr Ben Carson, who like Trump is also doing much better in the polls than was originally predicted. During the debate the other week Dr Carson implied that he wouldn’t be opposed to waterboarding prisoners, thus showing that he’s not bashful about violating the Geneva Convention and the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution simultaneously. However the comments I’d like to address are his recent ones about the US-Mexican border in which he said that he wouldn’t rule out military drone strikes.
Firstly that would involve bombing economic migrants, who are not attacking America, which would be a crime against humanity and could well be seen as a declaration of war by the migrants country of origin, which in itself would have violated the Constitution because President Carson wouldn’t have gotten Congressional authorization. In addition to this, the strikes would also treat people that were trafficked into America seeking asylum as military targets, which would be an even worse crime against humanity.
The final question would be about where the bombs would drop. International law states that a country can only legally bomb another country if it has UN backing or has been requested by that country, which is the case currently with Iraq requesting the bombing of ISIS. If the United States were to bomb people on the Mexican side of the border, that would be a violation of international law and the Constitution because, again, Congress would have to approve such action.
The GOP field at this time is always funny to watch because of ludicrous ideas about how wealth trickles down from the rich and how some of the candidates are not yet sold on the theory of evolution. But when Trump and Carson, and they are by no means the only ones, say this stuff it isn’t funny; Trump wants to change the Constitution so he can deport children to an area scarred by cartel-caused homicides, and Carson says he’s open to inadvertently declaring war on various Central American countries, many of whom would be US allies, and repeatedly performing crimes against humanity in a process that would create one of the most militarized borders in the world.
Part of me hopes that the GOP chooses one of these people as their candidate because they will definitely lose in the 2016 General Election, but a bigger part of me would rather not take the risk because if the Democrats continue to be corrupt and boring we, in the international community, may have to start building a case against the US President and summon him to The Hague.