My first reaction to Donald Trump’s call to ban new Muslims from entering the United States was that he had simultaneously won the GOP nomination and lost the general election. My second reaction was that events will prove one of those predictions wrong.
If there are no more terror attacks in America before the end of the primary season, most Republican voters will see Trump’s plan as too radical and he will lose the nomination.
On the other hand, if there are more attacks in the homeland, many more voters will move in Trump’s direction and he would almost certainly win the nomination and maybe the presidency.
In effect, Trump is betting his campaign on there being more attacks. I hope he is wrong, but fear he will be right.
To be clear, I don’t support his plan. Singling out all Muslims is vulgar and probably unconstitutional. A religious test is unAmerican.
The idea is so toxic that it has the unfortunate effect of making President Obama look right for once. Obama warns repeatedly about Islamophobia, including in his grating Sunday-night lecture, even though there wasn’t much of it. Jews suffer disproportionately from religious hate crimes, not Muslims.
Trump obliterated those facts in a heartbeat, a development that could, temporarily at least, contaminate all get-tough approaches on terror and boost Obama and Hillary Clinton.