Eight score and sixteen years ago Abraham Lincoln bestowed the identification Party of Lincoln upon the Republican Party. When Donald Trump attacked Judge Gonzalo Curiel for being unfair to him in presiding over the Trump University case because Judge Curiel is of Mexican descent, he assaulted the judge’s American-ness. He thus assumed the position of Stephen Douglas, and not of Abraham Lincoln, from their 1858 campaign.
Other countries have developed their identities from geographical boundaries, language, culture, ethnicity. America has its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” At Philadelphia in 1861 Lincoln stated that he had never had a political sentiment that did not come from the Declaration of Independence.
But in Stephen Douglas he faced an opponent who argued that the Declaration did not apply to all men, or that African Americans were men within the meaning of the document at all. Douglas asserted that the Declaration meant only that Americans in America at the time of the Declaration should be equal to Englishmen. So Lincoln characterized it on July 17, 1858 and replied that
Then, when I pointed out to him that by that rule, he excludes the Germans, the Irish, the Portuguese, and all the other people who have come amongst us since the Revolution, he reconstructs his reconstruction. In his last speech he tells us it meant Europeans. . . . I press him a little further, and ask if it meant to include the Russians in Asia?
Trump’s position on Judge Curiel is pure Douglas.
A week earlier, Lincoln offered a more extensive and moving answer to Douglas and Trump:
We have besides these men---descended by blood from our ancestors---among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe---German, Irish, French and Scandinavian---men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that ``We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,'' and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.
Trump has questioned the American-ness of Judge Curiel. In his birtherism Trump has questioned the American-ness of President Barack Obama. Post-Orlando Trump suggested that the president holds some secret brief for terrorists. This is not the Party of Lincoln. It is un-American.