Donald Trump is not my candidate; never was, isn't now. But after so many rounds of "this time he's done himself in" leading to even higher scores in the polls, I'm taking the safe bet that his latest and most egregious scandal yet, the suggestion that the United States might consider adherence to Islam in determining who to allow into the country, will see him climbing higher still.
First we joked that his candidacy was like a reality TV show or a cartoon villain. Then we thanked him for the enhanced ratings--double the eyeballs ever for a televised Republican candidate debate--and dismissed him. But he didn't go away. He went up. We started to realize that the public distress over the anything-goes-by-executive-fiat immigration policy is far more acute than the comfortable establishment political and media professionals realized; and that as long as no one "better qualified" was willing to take the issue head-on without deference to polite P.C. etiquette, then Trump would continue to, well, trump. Then as the inevitable consequences of Obama's disastrous foreign policy unfolded, Trump remains the only one willing to speak off-script and unfiltered; the anti-candidate.
American are starving for some straight talk about what is going on in the world, in our backyard (Europe) and in our front yard (San Bernardino). Europe is committing suicide; its capital cities are being overrun with hostile elements who have openly proclaimed, and are carrying out in plain sight, the cultural, demographic, political and religious destruction of all that Europe ever was. And the "progressive" American left, led by Barack Obama, is hell-bent on having us follow Europe as swiftly as possible, public opinion be damned. In this crisis no one gives a rat's behind whether the potential leader has the right pedigree or the sophisticated literary polish of Alistaire Cooke. They want someone who tells it like it is where it counts, to the gut. Trump is filling that vacuum with an arctic blast.
It would appear that, according to our confusion of symbols, Hitler's biggest mistake was to neglect to establish Nazism not just as a political regime but as a religion. If he had done that, we might have been powerless to stop him, for to oppose him in any way would be to violate one of our own most sacred constitutional principles, "the free exercise thereof". Tojo, likewise, apparently might have prevailed if only he had bombed Pearl Harbor in the name of Shintoism.
As Americans and westerners, we recoil at the thought of discriminating on the basis of religion. But we need to remind ourselves that we have never shrunk from discriminating against hostile, anti-American, fascist and genocidal ideologies, from Mussolini's Italy to Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
The Islam that we fear and oppose, the Islam that attacked New York and Washington D.C. on 9/11/2001, Paris last month and San Bernardino last week, is not a religion but a tyrannical political ideology. If we can recognize it as such (before more of us get killed), and find the right words to identify and define it, then we can fight and defeat it with no hazard to our constitutional principles. We may freely and forcefully exclude just as confidently as we would the Ku Klux Klan or anyone waving a Confederate flag.
Readers who wish to challenge me on this definition have two groups of experts that they may consult. The first are all of the ex-Muslims who have put their lives at risk by renouncing Jihad, becoming apostates (a capital offense), and speaking out for the sake of warning the West as to the true nature of this "religion". The second are the Islamic leaders themselves, the recognized and credentialed spokesmen for Islam around the world; the ones who write the fatwas against the apostates. They are willing to tell the truth about themselves even if we are not. They are unequivocal: Islam does not permit any man-made law like the Constitution of the United States to take precedence over Sharia and the Qur'an. Before offering an opinion, let alone a denouncement, of Trump's proposal, every American should read and digest those.
As for the "refugees," almost half of whom are from a dozen Islamic countries other than Syria and 75 percent of whom are military age men, they may be clueless about economics, but they are razor-sharp, clear, and profound when it comes to demographics. The most illiterate Muslim refugee (which is to say, the majority of them) could not explain what supply and demand are, or why they should be expected to work in Germany rather than have clothing, shelter, transportation and halal food provided to them in a Jew-free environment courtesy of the German taxpayer; but they can articulate the compound-interest effect of their own high birth rate on the society that they are supplanting with the eloquence of a lettered professor. Our own college graduates seem to struggle to compete on that score.
Once again, Trump is not my first choice; far from it. But if no one else is willing or able to step up, he will have won it fair and square, no tricks, no gimmicks, no deception. Ted, Marco, Carly, Ben, Mike, your move.
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POSTSCRIPT: Each of the candidates who are hoping to displace Trump need to come up with a new, qualitative distinction that prompt potential primary voters to see their candidacy in a whole new light. I will address myself to Ted Cruz in Particular: Many people like him for what he is and has done, but don't necessarily translate that into perceiving him as George Washington; maybe Alexander Hamilton (who, in case it requires reminding, in spite of appearing on the ten-dollar bill, never became president).
To remedy that weakness, IMHO the principled conservative firebrand maverick senator should start dropping not-so-subtle hints as to which GOVERNORS are on his short list of running mates. If people were to begin conceiving of a Cruz-Walker ADMINSTRATION, or a Cruz-Christie administration, or Cruz-Huckabee, or Cruz-Jindal, or even Cruz-Romney, it would change the game. The people will see a rounded-out team with a depth of governing experience in addition to principled leadership, instead of just "Prez Ted Hotshot".
What are your ideas? How can Rubio, Carson or Fiorina add a decisive dimension to his or her campaign?
Speaking of Carly, rumors of her death may be greatly exaggerated. Her campaign may appear stalled, but that may be merely a function of her not getting the media attention accorded to the others; we don't see enough of her. When she's on, she's brilliant and articulate, with an extraordinary command of details AND the ability to summarize. From the forest to the trees to the leaves, to the mitochondria to the planetary whole, she can tell it.