The civil war tearing the GOP apart has been a long time coming, but it is beautiful to see. Republican front-runner  Donald Trump is doing a fine job setting the right-wing wolves at each others’ throats – and Ann Coulter’s recent remarks about Bill O’Reilly is a great example.

It all starts with Trump’s immigration platform. Trump’s blatant, xenophobic racism has truly reached absurd proportions. Among his most extreme ideas: repeal the 14th Amendment, which automatically extends US citizenship to anyone born on American soil, regardless of the parents’ immigration status. His ideas have Coulter so enthusiastic that she tweeted: “I don’t care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper.”  (Compare this statement to Coulter’s earlier views on abortion.) In later tweets, she compared Trump to Ronald Reagan, and considered his immigration policy paper to be “the greatest political document since the Magna Carta.”

Bill O’Reilly is no fan of immigration – he supports Trump’s idea of forcing the Mexican government to build a wall. However, he disagrees with the idea of revoking the citizenship of native-born Americans, if for no other reason than because of the cost:

The 14th Amendment says that if born here, you’re an American and you can’t kick Americans out. And if you want to deport people who are already here, each and every one is entitled to due process, and it’d take decades to do that, billions of dollars, and the courts would block you at every turn.

That response didn’t sit well with Coulter. She posted a series of rants on Twitter, attacking O’Reilly for his stupidity (ironically, he is – but on this issue, he’s actually right, for once). She continued throughout the day, eventually citing a 1985 case INS v. Rios-Pineda  to support her argument that so-called “anchor babies” were not automatically entitled to citizenship. In this, Coulter reveals her own stupidity; that Supreme Court case was actually about whether or not the Attorney General could suspend the deportation of an alien (the Court’s ruling stated that the AG’s office did have such discretion, subject to certain conditions).

An article on Salon this week provides some insight on how Trump’s immigration stance and the willingness of so many Republicans to feed into it could bring about the GOP’s demise. If correct, the little spat between Coulter and O’Reilly is a definite indicator – and one we’re glad to see.

SHARE
K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues.