Giving the people what they want

(CNN photo)
(CNN photo)

 

Donald Trump, showman to the end, isn’t the problem. We are.

William Saletan, writing this morning at Slate, pulls together the public opinion evidence to make the case in excruciating, damning detail. Here’s his conclusion:

So let’s stop pretending the problem is Trump. The problem is the base—and by many measures, the majority—of the Republican Party. If you think we can’t elect a government in 2016 that would target a religious minority, you’re underestimating Trump. And you’re overestimating America.

Read the whole indictment here.

Xenophobe-in-Chief

trumpfinger

The GOP front-runner:

Donald J. Trump Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration

(New York, NY) December 7th, 2015, — Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.

Mr. Trump stated, “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.” – Donald J. Trump

And in case you’re wondering, his policy also would apply to Muslim-Americans traveling abroad. And so Trump takes the fear and xenophobia already rampant in Republican ranks, already being stoked by his slightly less hysterical rivals, and ramps it to new, nauseating heights.

When he declared, most everyone, myself included, played the Trump candidacy as a diversion, an amusing little gag. Well the joke’s not funny any more. It’s really not.