Note that this is Joaquin, not Julian. The former is a congressman from San Antonio, the latter is his identical twin brother, the former mayor. Julian’s the one running for president.
Joaquin is, however, his brother’s national campaign chairman.
Now that we’ve gotten that straight: Is this A-hole out of his mind?
“Not surprised a Castro would go after political dissidents like this,” sniffed Siraj Hashmi.
I won’t reproduce the entire tweet as I don’t want to republish the identifying information. Suffice it to say that there’s a list attached with the names — and employers — of 44 people from San Antonio who gave the maximum allowable by law to Trump. Many are retirees. They aren’t all rich, I’d bet: The max individual donation to a campaign under federal law is just $2,700, a sizable amount but one within the means of someone who’s middle-class, has a nest egg, and is very enthusiastic about a politician. Castro’s not targeting people who can afford their own private security, in other words. He’s leading the most rabid anti-Trumpers, the sort of people who’d very much care to know who’s donating to Trump, right to the office doors of the “offenders.”
“If a Republican member did this,” tweeted Luke Thompson, “it would lead the nightly news.” Unquestionably. We were reminded of the truth of that statement just a few hours ago, in fact. Sarah Palin’s defamation suit against the Times stems from the fact that the “crosshairs” electoral map she published before the 2010 midterms was cited — baselessly — by liberals afterward as possible inspiration for Giffords’s shooter. For the left, scapegoating Palin was a way of making a point about how political rhetoric can amount to incitement when it gets hot enough and when specific people are designated as targets for it. We must be careful with what we say, and of whom we say it, lest damaged minds take the wrong cue and lash out.
Now, on the day Palin’s defamation suit was cleared to proceed by a federal court, here’s a Democratic congressman publishing his own list of “targets” — not of politicians before an election, but of average citizens. He has every reason to know what’s in store for them as a result, at a minimum boycotts of their businesses and almost certainly physical threats. Doubtless he’s received some threats himself over the years, and when he did Castro could call upon the Capitol Police for special protection. Whom do the Trump voters on his list turn to?
And how many of them live in Castro’s own district, I wonder? Bad enough that you’d find any congressman organizing a boycott — and worse — of you because of your political donations. Imagine if it turned out to be your own congressman.
Trump’s campaign spokesman is incensed, and rightly so:
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh is demanding Castro delete the post.
“Democrats want to talk about inciting violence? This naming of private citizens and their employers is reckless and irresponsible. He is endangering the safety of people he is supposed to be representing,” Murtaugh told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Inevitably, some righty will retaliate by publishing a list of max donors to some Democratic candidate who’s promoting open borders. And as Thompson says, that one certainly will lead the news.
The defense will be offered to all this that Castro is reproducing information that’s already public. Campaigns are required to tell the FEC who their large donors are in quarterly submissions; those submissions are publicly available. He’s not telling anyone anything they couldn’t find out on their own with a little googling. Indeed, but the same is true of a stalker digging up information on his victim: Names, addresses, and phone numbers of people are public information and are widely available in Internet people-finder databases. The offense isn’t that Castro published private information, the offense is that he used his platform as a public official to amplify it knowing full well how his audience will abuse it. He’s a congressman openly encouraging harm, whether economic or otherwise, to people who exercised their right by supporting a political candidate. He’s supposed to protect his constituents, not victimize them. He should be censured by the House for this. In the meantime, two can play at this game. And inevitably will, to everyone’s detriment.