According to which poll you read, Donald Trump has either ceded first place to Ted Cruz or remains firmly in first place. Either way, there is movement afoot and as a result, a lot of nervous chatter among Republican Party campaign strategists.
Mr. Trump has made his most provocative statement to date, declaring his intention, should he be elected, to freeze all Muslim travel into the United States. There are no fine lines, no exceptions. And the freeze would last as long it takes to figure things out, he more or less stated.
How this would affect diplomatic traffic, business, entertainment and basic American Muslim family travel appears to be a non-troublesome detail he hasn’t addressed, but in the meantime, he’s masterfully galvanized world opinion that has ignited a torrent of judgmental disdain. From his own party leaders, to leaders around the world, to the entire Muslim community, the pervasive reaction has been one of shock and anger. With one significant and powerful exception: his home support base.
Once again, Trump supporters have stood firm and behind the one candidate they feel is a true outsider, who speaks his mind, from telling Jeb he’s a loser to cussing on-mic, and voices the concerns of millions of disaffected Americans who are disdainful of government and afraid of their well-being at home.
Trump is the only candidate to resolutely express a biased and formerly politically incorrect opinion yet continues to prove that he can dominate the campaign and the news cycle in doing so.
The larger problem that poses is in how the Republican Party can come to grips with supporting their possible nominee while condemning his platform. And even more troubling, the concept of another candidate prevailing next summer while Trump maintains a strong enough base to break away and run as an independent, despite his recent assurances of loyalty.
That was the thinking back in September, when the party strong-armed all the candidates into promising to support whomever won the nomination. It’s generally agreed Trump was the reason for the oath in the first place, because of fears he’d split the vote and turn the election.
Now, at this moment, the struggle is about finding a way to support him despite his hard-edged foreign policy, while other candidates continue to fight for, and gain ground. And to somehow find an acceptable level of agreement in both supporting the front-runner and preventing Trump from simply tearing up the paperwork and waltzing off on his own.