President Donald Trump arrives with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr to speak about the census in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

What do you call illegal organizations that seek political influence and money while using brutal, indiscriminate violence to attain those things? Just don’t call them terrorists according to the mainstream media. Because in the world of orange man bad, everything Trump does must lead to minds being lost and hair set on fire.

Yes, that’s an actual headline saying that designating drug cartels, which routinely use terrorist acts to kill innocent people, as terrorists is “stirring outcry.” Let me translate this for you. “Experts” who are never right about anything freak out because Trump may do something that goes against the traditional orthodoxy.

In reality, there are many reasons that doing this is good. For starters, it makes the punishment for working for murderous drug cartels worse, as the terror designation would carry extra repercussions in court. Two, it would put pressure on Mexico to actually do something besides being on the take, as the U.S. would have greater legal latitude to respond to brutal violence like we saw with a Mormon family recently being slaughtered. If the Mexican government continues to let things deteriorate, they have the pressure of possibly military intervention in their country staring at them.

Security cooperation is useless if one side refuses to even really fight. Mexico’s current government has had a ridiculous policy of “hugs not bullets,” essentially believing they can change the “hearts and minds” of the drug cartels and their proxies. That strategy has been huge failure, as the cartels are gaining ground and now control entire swaths of Mexico.

Some will claim the cartels don’t meet the definition of terrorists. I say that’s nonsense. There’s no doubt they seek political influence and control, as they’ve made it a priority in the areas they control. Swaying public opinion and turning people against the government is a major part of the cartel game plan. Couple that with their violent tactics, which clearly terrorize and meet the definition of terrorism, and it’s hard to argue with a straight face that these organizations don’t meet the standard. The fact that a group also seeks financial gain doesn’t mean they aren’t terrorists. ISIS made millions smuggling oil. They were still terrorists.

But let’s be honest, the only reason the left and the media oppose this is because they see it as somehow harmful to future illegal immigration. Any pressure on the cartels means less coyotes and less human smuggling. They are also worried that shining more daylight on the cartels could further turn public opinion against a porous border.

In the end, the cartels are not going away. Designating them what they objectively are may end up beating the status quo. If it helps pressure the Mexican government, good. If it serves as a deterrent for the cartels propagating activities in the United States, even better. If all it does is give us the legal authority to strike if needed, that’ll work too.

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