What Trump Supporters Think About Race and Religion

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Donald Trump suffers his largest drop in polls after week of controversy.

Donald Trump’s support among Republicans has dropped 12 points in less than a week, marking the presidential hopeful’s biggest decline since he started leading the field in July, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

It’s funny both Steve Breen and the editorial board (“GOP candidates must call out Trump,” Nov. 24) ridicule Donald Trump in unison as a total radical loser liability.Not since Joe McCarthy, the demagogue and bully who rose to political prominence in the early 1950s by blatantly distorting the truth, has there been a public figure like Donald Trump, the Republican front runner with a penchant for telling “the big lie” about anything from President Obama’s birthplace to Mexican immigrants’ putative criminality, and from how African Americans are responsible for most white homicides to how “thousands and thousands” of Arabs in New Jersey City cheered as the Twin Towers were attacked on 9/11 — along with a host of other fantastical tales in between. But he has undoubtedly transformed the nature of the election debate Stephen Colbert, host of the US’s Late Show, a mix of chat and satire, the other night warned his audience that Donald Trump might actually win the presidency.

Trump is still in the lead, with 31% of people surveyed naming him as their preferred candidate in a rolling poll over five days that ended on 27 November. Now here’s the kicker: Despite McCarthy’s inconsistencies and his refusal to produce evidence to support his claims, his charges seemed to hit a chord with a large number of Americans. Conservative and liberal columnists such as Ann Coulter and Leslie Savan have argued recently that, in the wake of Paris, Trump’s brand of virulent Islamophobia is infectious and catching on and could even beat Hillary Clinton. “It’s easy to laugh at GOPers in denial,” Savan writes, “but progressives who pooh-pooh Trump’s chances of beating Hillary may be whistling past the graveyard of American democracy.” The collective wisdom after Paris – that voters would gravitate toward a battle-tested, policy-minded candidate for such turbulent times – has yet to take hold. Following the attacks, Trump told an NBC News reporter that he would support a plan requiring all Muslims within the United States to be registered to a special database, which his critics likened to the mandatory registration of Jews in Nazi Germany.

And that, dear reader, is what Donald Trump is on a campaign to accomplish, except the communist enemy is now supplanted by the Arab immigrant and the Syrian refugee. Trump continues to top polls: the Real Clear Politics aggregate of polls puts him on 27 per cent to 19 per cent for his nearest rival, neurosurgeon Ben Carson. I do remember images of celebrations in so-called moderate Muslim countries, but also some here in the U.S. too — you can’t tell me there weren’t. Appalled at the prospect he might end up as their candidate, the Republican establishment – which still believes him to be unelectable against Clinton – has been hoping he will eventually be pushed aside by a mainstream candidate. Who or how is still unclear: the latest to make a surge is, however, the scarcely more acceptable Texas senator Ted Cruz, who is now just ahead in polls in early state Iowa.

Yet it is clear that Trump does not need to win to rewrite the agenda as his rivals shuffle uncomfortably into the nativist political territory he occupies. In the last week he has spoken of Syria’s refugees as “Trojan horses” for Islamic State and warned that “our president wants to take in 250,000”. (At least three times more than Barack Obama has suggested). The media’s attempts to debate his policy proposals with him as if they were serious or to challenge him on the facts of his ludicrous claims have consistently made no dent in his momentum. He has also called for a register of all Muslims – which is certainly unconstitutional – suggested they should carry ID cards and warned he would “shut down mosques”.

It’s hard being a Republican when the powers that be offer us Bob Dole, who famously introduced America to erectile dysfunction, and John “dry-as-dust” McCain, whose campaign was brought back to life only when he paired with Sarah Palin. Last weekend, he tweeted inaccurate and racist statistics on black crime taken from a neo-Nazi Twitter account and defended the beating up by supporters of a black protester at one of his rallies.

In the meantime, for those who despair at the moral bankruptcy of American political discourse that Trump’s success seems to represent, there is one consolation from polling whiz Nate Silver: Whatever the polls say, at this stage in the campaign, they still represent only a small fraction of voters’ likely intentions. Having spent six of my military years as a nuclear delivery pilot, I want my president to employ real facts rather than just recollections, temperament and innuendo at 3 a.m. Trump may yet recover from this knockdown, but it’s still a long way to the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, when the party nomination process starts in earnest—let alone to the White House. And some people are going to be upset about it . . . certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.” “If it’s a lie too vile to utter aloud,” the New York Times warns editorially, “count on Mr Trump to say it, often.

It’s easy to just dismiss a malicious liar and a bigot like that as a buffoon and applaud what the Huffington Post has done recently: Relegate news about him to its entertainment section, not in the coverage of politics. It wins him airtime, and retweets through the roof.” Most analysts still insist Trump’s lead in the Republican field will fade away as the race gets more serious. Former Bush aide Michael Gerson in the Washington Post acknowledges that: “One effect has been the legitimisation of even more extreme views – signaling that it is okay to give voice to sentiments and attitudes that, in previous times, people would have been too embarrassed to share in public.” Jeb Bush, who once spoke of immigration as positive, now believes the US should only accept Syrian refugees if Christian, a view echoed by Cruz, while New Jersey governor Chris Christie wants no Syrians at all even if they are “three-year-old orphans”.

To make it a clean sweep the Chicago Tribune skewered Trump yesterday and the Baltimore Sun has reprinted a thinly veiled Los Angeles Times attack on Trump, et al concerns about Syrian refugees. Joe McCarty’s personal power collapsed in 1954 when, during televised hearings, he accused the Army of “coddling communists” — to which he got the now famous retort from a witness, “Have you no sense of decency, Sir? Americans, sooner or later, will soon see through his big lie — or simply just tire of his infantile and narcissistic tactics — and he too, in like manner, will burn out.

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