Rougher Waters for Trump

Rougher Waters for Trump

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

It is not surprising that the Trump campaign has run into road bumps but it is rather amusing that much of his campaign’s current problem are self-inflicted by the candidate himself.  It seems that Trump’s mouth has finally caught up with his mouth and even some of his supporters appear to be shocked. (It must be noted that only some of his supporters are shocked.)

The bottom line, however, has been in the polls and Trump is speaking the talk of more and more Republican primary voters. It is not only what he says about Muslims but how he says it; what many Americans have been saying across their dinner table for years.

To analyze where Trump means today one needs only to consider the following facts:

  • Many Republican strategists now believe he is a viable Republican candidate.
  • Many analysts and party leaders believe that his campaign may well go all the way to the floor of the Republican Convention.
  • Should Trump not win the nomination many now definitely believe that there is a real possibility that he may well run as a third party, independent candidate.
  • Democrats are already strategizing about how to address and defeat a Trump candidacy.

Re-enforcing Trump are recent polls indicating that Americans, as the CBS/New York Time poll indicated, suggest that Americans feel more and more threatened today than they have since 9/11 and specifically by Muslims. (In one month Americans who fear terrorism have jumped from 4% to 19 %.) This does not mean that they support Trump or his ideas to keep all Muslims out of the country, but they are truly scared. It is that same rhetoric which has enabled Trump to sustain over 30% support among likely Republican voters.

At the end of the day, Trump will succeed because he spoke the talk. He will be defeated because more Americans recognized in him the same demagogic behavior which Adolf Hitler employed already in the 1920’s. Whether his remarks about keeping Muslims out of the country, will be the last straw for the National Republican Committee certainly does not appear to bother him, as long as the voters continue to rally around him.

His appearance this week before the Republican Jewish Coalition, the conclave of leading Jewish Republican donors and leaders was an insulting fiasco. When it was followed by his proposal against Muslims, Trump apparently decided that maybe he ought to cancel his forthcoming visit to Israel. The potentially gracious reception he was expecting to receive from Netanyahu suddenly turned lukewarm at best. (Maybe he grasped the fact that celebrating Jesus’ birth and his visit were more than the Holy Land could absorb in one month.)

No question that large numbers of Republican voters and caucus goers in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina according to current polls appear ready to support his candidacy. It remains only to be seen whether the current array of opponents will wither or will they mount a counter-attack or let him take his fight to the Convention. 

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