INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 19, 2015 – Donald Trump is a political phenomenon. In the Republican world, he is leading, a lot, polling double, even triple the points of his nearest competitor. Leaving everyone a little flummoxed. Unless you’re wearing the Make America Great Again logo.
Part of Trump’s appeal is about Trump. Some respect his business successes. Some like his blustery manner. Some like him because they’ve been watching “The Apprentice” for years.
Others feel that Trump will “keep us safe.” His proclamations to temporarily cease admitting Muslims, “until we figure out what we are doing” resonates with everyone who thinks our vetting system, particularly in the wake of San Bernardino, is not up to its assigned job.
Some rightly scream that we can’t use a religious test as a hurdle. Trump, who hasn’t apologized for his choice of words, could have said “Islamists,” which is also nominally tagging a religion, but really is identifying a philosophy, a philosophy that has a basic tenet: Islamists want to kill us and destroy our nation.
That’s not religion; that’s philosophy.
We’ve seen the meme: “When Trump came for the Muslims, I said nothing, because I was not a Muslim.” That is what opponents of Trump, and by extension opponents of Republicans – or supporters of Obama or Hillary Clinton – want to use, to discredit Trump (and all Republicans).
It sounds so deep and profound. And it’s wrong.
Trump should not have said “Muslims,” but we know what he meant. During WWII, if Roosevelt had made a similar statement about Nazis (a philosophy), he would have had full support, even among those who would have objected to using the word “Germans,” or perhaps “Aryans.”
So we all know what Trump meant, and most Americans like it.
Trump’s positives, based on his bumps in polling after he mentions them and in a few televised focus groups, revolve around two main issues, illegal immigration and terrorism, which are related to each other and which then pave the way to other important issues.
Trump wants to stop the rampant illegal invasion, and he wants to halt legal immigration until the system demonstrably works. Americans don’t trust the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department; they think that INS is held back from doing its job.
Many conspiracy-minded people think that, just as during the Bill Clinton days, Democrats are still doing everything possible to register as many immigrants as possible to vote – even the illegal invaders.
Americans don’t feel safe from terrorism. They see and are enraged by homegrown terrorists, but they are increasingly aware that Islamists, even native-born Islamists, are a bigger, and growing threat. Trump’s moratorium on Muslim immigration and non-assimilation, and his pledge to “build a wall that Mexico will pay for” are giving Americans a feeling that he, as president, will be concerned for their safety, rather than on some grand world agenda.
A secure America will enable people to do their daily chores – raising families, making money, planning vacations. Americans can’t get back to their lives while they’re paralyzed with fear, and Donald Trump gives the impression that he’ll kill our small-scale enemies (Islamists) and work with the big ones, as he and Putin are in some kind of mutual admiration society. Well, people are buying it.
Former right-wing evangelist Ann Coulter has just gone all-in for Trump, telling all the other Republicans in her syndicated column to get out of the race. Coulter has been savage with others for not being conservative enough or for not caring about the Constitution.
Trump is no conservative – he’s talking about greatly expanding government spending, increasing internal spying, building a bigger police presence. He’s no constitutionalist – he has no respect for Congress’s power (or anyone else’s); he has no idea that the states should be doing most of “his” national agenda.
Mainstream Republicans, in the line of Dole, McCain and Romney, are apoplectic that Trump may win the nomination. They can’t control him, and they think he’ll go off with his own pen and his own phone and do things.
Establishment Republicans are too timid to do anything – except support the Democratic president’s agenda.
And that, more than anything else, is why Republican voters, who worked and sacrificed to give “their” team both chambers of Congress, just to watch John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and now Paul Ryan betray them, like Trump. They know that, whatever Trump’s faults, he is not going to be controlled by whatever dark forces are running the Democrats and the Establishment Republicans.
Will I vote for Donald Trump in November? Only if he’s the opposition to Hillary Clinton, who would be the end of our nation, especially since now knows she can rely on the continued support of the “Republican” congressional leadership.