10 takes on Donald Trump’s Muslim proposal


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Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. raised a firestorm of outrage

CNN invited experts to weigh in on the implications

CNN —  

Editor’s Note: Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. raised a firestorm of outrage. CNN invited experts to weigh in on the politics of intolerance.

Donna Brazile: Republicans playing a dangerous game

The Twittersphere is erupting, and for good reason: Donald Trump has called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States. No tourists or refugees, students or athletes, Sunnis or Shiites, women or children. Nobody. Trump was gracious enough to say that U.S. citizens who are Muslims will be able to come back if they go overseas. That will come in handy for all the Muslim soldiers fighting for the U.S. armed forces. But once back, would they be subject to the kind of tracking that Trump appeared to float for Muslims living here?

Given Trump’s knack for stealing the spotlight, it’s easy to think he’s alone in his Islamophobic views. That would be a mistake. The other GOP presidential hopefuls may not share Trump’s penchant for rabble-rousing, but they’re complicit in creating a deeply troubling atmosphere. Read more …

Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for civic engagement and voter participation at the Democratic National Committee. A nationally syndicated columnist, she is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of “Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in America.”

Gloria Borger: The key to Trump’s success

Donald Trump is no fool. He’s an experienced opportunist. He knows full well that he has stepped into a leadership vacuum that exists in American politics, and has been around for some time: Why should the American public have any respect at all for its institutions when they have been failing? When Congress can’t legislate, or even behave? When the President – elected with such high hopes – fails to inspire or connect or even explain strategy? When others running for president often look like they’re made of the same torn fabric, just with different holes?

Could Donald Trump win the GOP nomination?

Trump flouts the conventions, and plays to fears. But for now, at least, it doesn’t matter. In a large field of GOP candidates, Trump’s solid core of support among one-third of Republicans – a minority – is enough to keep him on top, and any Republican running would like to have his numbers. Read more …

Gloria Borger is Chief Political Analyst at CNN.

Peter Bergen: Is Trump a fascist?

It’s helpful to position Trump in the long tradition of what Hofstadter had termed in 1964 “the paranoid style in American politics,” his well-known analysis of an American far-right that believed vast conspiracies were undermining the United States.


Trump has updated the paranoid right for the post-9/11 era: Instead of a communist plot to take over America, the conspiracy theory favored in the 1950s, the threat is now immigrants, whether they are Mexicans or Muslims. (Earlier waves of American jingoistic paranoia in the 19th century were directed at Masons and then Catholics.)

Trump displays many of the traits of a proto-fascist, and he is also part of a wave of right-wing nationalist movements that is sweeping the West. He can also be positioned in the long, American right-wing tradition of fearing “the Other,” whether they are Catholics or Jews or, now, Muslims.

If the party of Lincoln wishes to become the party of intolerance, selecting Trump to be its presidential candidate is a good way forward. Read more …

Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is the author of the forthcoming book “United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists.”

Haroon Moghul: What else can besieged American Muslims do?

People who are scared go for strength. Donald Trump has already advocated killing the families of terrorists. Beyond his open support for terrorism (isn’t attacking civilians for political purposes the definition of terror), is the Republican frontrunner arguing that the families of San Bernardino shooters Farouk and Malik should be killed?

Courtesy of Haroon Moghul

American Muslims are often asked to condemn extremism, though we already do. Obama asked Muslims to “root out misguided ideas,” though there are already many such efforts. But as we face radicals who have gone so far underground, who hide their plans from even family and evade detection of law enforcement, the first option feels like it doesn’t do nearly enough, while the second works very slowly at best. Read more …

Haroon Moghul is a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. He is an author, essayist and public speaker. Follow him @hsmoghul.

Douglas Brinkley: FDR’s WWII sin is a shameful model

Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes was livid. On February 19, 1942, 74 days after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, his boss, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans, 62% of whom were American born.

Douglas Brinkley
Douglas Brinkley

Ickes was outraged by Roosevelt’s arresting of fellow citizens, calling it un-American. To drive his dissent home, Ickes soon had four Japanese-American men and three women transferred from a relocation camp in Arizona to his home in Olney, Maryland. “I do not like the idea of loyal citizens whatever their race or color,” he told the New York Times, “being kept in relocation centers.”

Donald Trump has defended his call to stop all Muslims from entering America, approvingly invoking FDR’s mistaken action of 1942 as his benchmark. FDR, in my opinion, was the greatest president in U.S. history. But EO 9066 was his biggest mistake. Read more …

Douglas Brinkley is CNN presidential historian and author of the forthcoming “Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America.”

Brian Levin: What San Bernardino could teach the GOP

[Lindsey] Graham stated that Trump’s divisive tactics against Muslims would enflame radicalism so that ISIS would name him “man of the year.” When ISIS kills, they do not make distinctions between Western Christians and moderate Muslims. Neither should we.

Robert A. Whitehead

When such brutal terror strikes a place like ours, in San Bernardino, its devastating swath reaches us all. In contravention of both domestic politics and ISIS’ goals, however, our pained city has reflexively responded not with division and exclusion but with compassion.