Banning all Muslims was a popular campaign slogan for then-candidate Donald Trump. People cheered at the simple logic: all Muslims pose a threat, because so many hold hate in their hearts and bombs in their vests. ... However odious, Trump’s actions are neither novel nor new. America’s history is rife with cases of mass banishment, exile, and even killing.
... What ties these disparate moments together is a common logic: that certain categories of people—as a whole—pose a danger because of the innate predilections of all those who fit the label. Whether “Jew,” “Jap,” or “Muslim,” these people threaten a certain way of life and, therefore, must be eliminated. What has varied are the solutions that leaders have fashioned.