Donald Trump is the walking unalloyed id of fearful white reactionaries. He says what a lot of people are thinking (if you believe that various online comments are a window into some people's souls) but until recently have not said out loud in mixed company. Trump opened his presidential campaign with slurs against Mexicans and Hispanics. He has continued it with broadsides against and snide comments about Blacks, the media, disabled people, President Obama, Jews, women he finds uppity, and of late, Muslims. It is arguable as to whether Trump truly believes all that he says. Much of what he says is demonstrably untrue. There were not thousands, hundreds or even dozens of American Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9-11 attacks. Black people do not commit 81% of murders. And so on. And it would be neither wise nor constitutional, as Trump suggests, to employ religious tests for immigration to and ultimately citizenship in the United States. The US military and law enforcement agencies should not and must not, as Trump has suggested, go after the families of suspected or convicted terrorists. And Muslims should not be forced to have special IDs or sign up for a database. Trump thinks that the United States should use a religious test for entry into this country. And the test would be simple. If you are a Muslim, you don't get to enter. How he would square that with the Constitution is anybody's guess. Obviously, for quite a lot of people, apparently most especially Trump, the election of a black man to the highest office in the land was a severe shock from which they've never truly recovered. As a result some folks think if that Barack Hussein Obama can do it, I KNOW I could. It's one thing to think that the President is incorrect on this or that issue or even incompetent. That comes with the job. But when you, as at least some Republicans do, view the election of a black man as prima facie evidence that something has gone very badly wrong in the system then you're playing with some very dangerous forces.
For some people, the fact that the President is black, regardless of how much of a centrist/Eisenhower Republican Obama can be, means that America is in decline and must be restored. Those are the people to whom Trump speaks. I don't think that Trump is a stupid man by any means. However I don't believe he's as smart as he would have us conclude.
It is darkly humorous and quite revealing that Trump supporters, some of whom froth at the mouth over President Obama's executive orders and aggressive bureaucracies, cheer at Trump's "Me, me,me, I, I, I" rhetoric and promises to make changes that simply can't be made without the agreement of Congress, the courts, and occasionally other countries. But when Trump defends his idea by saying well it's not as bad as FDR's internment of Japanese-Americans then as I wrote, you're dealing with someone who is downright dangerous. It has become popular in some circles for people to claim that they would rather have their racism and bigotry upfront and honest, rather than hidden behind politesse and smarmy denials. Well those people will have their claims put to the test should Trump ever become President. Trump is in full "attack the other" mode. And for him the other is anyone who is not Caucasian and Christian. Many people find the whiff of fascism, racism and sexism in anyone who's to the right of Noam Chomsky and more masculine than pajama boy. Those folks can usually be dismissed. But this time they are dead on accurate. Trump may or may not become the Republican nominee for President. But if he does then the American voter will have a quite clear choice to make. I can understand why people who didn't care for George Bush's cowboy certainty were initially attracted to Obama's cool as a cucumber persona. And I can understand why some of those people, now frustrated with what they view as Obama's confusing lack of passion, are excited by Trump's bombast. But blaming all Muslims for the acts of a few makes no sense. That's not how America is supposed to work. I think that most Americans still get this. But quite a few Republicans do not. For them the descriptor "American" simply can't be easily fit onto anyone who isn't a White Christian. That is why so many of them still believe that the President is neither American born nor Christian. These people aren't going anywhere for a while. And they vote. Buckle your seats because this election cycle just became a lot more interesting and vital. I wonder if the Christian right-wingers who mutter about exercising their Second Amendment options accept that Muslim-Americans, facing talk of id cards, immigration restrictions, calls to "go after" family members of suspects, and internment camps, might themselves decide to get better armed...just in case.