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?
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?
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.
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
stated that Trump's divisive tactics against Muslims would enflame radicalism so that ISIS would name him "man of the year."
kills, they do not make distinctions between Western Christians and moderate Muslims. Neither should we.
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.
With tears, hugs, prayers, song and candle light, we mourn and move slowly forward, knowing that many of our neighbors are still suffering so deeply from losses that time will numb but never heal. ...
We have seen firsthand that the deafening cacophony of gunfire is but the fleeting grunt of the morally illiterate. The lasting defining voice will be ours, so we must be careful of what our actions say.
Criminologist and attorney Brian Levin is a professor of criminal justice and director of the nonpartisan Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Frida Ghitis: Trump a huge embarrassment for America
Trump's tone and tactics, aimed squarely at winning votes, are not only harmful to our effort against ISIS, they erode America's position in the world as a beacon of equality, freedom and tolerance.
Trump diminishes America's ability to inspire others, and he weakens liberal Muslims who would like to bring more tolerance to their own societies.
We need to ask two important questions. First, why do Trump's inflammatory anti-Muslim statements gain traction in America? A country whose population I am convinced is more tolerant of religious and national diversity than perhaps that of any other country.
Second, will we demand the people who condemn Trump's bigoted statements refrain from hypocrisy when their own records are no better, and in many cases, are far worse? Read more ....
Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review and a former CNN producer and correspondent.
Dean Obeidallah: Whose ideas are scarier?
Donald Trump, as we all know, is a master media manipulator. He knows how to get headlines better than any modern-day presidential candidate. (Or for that matter better than almost anyone not named Kardashian.)
The latest? He called Monday for all Muslims to be blocked from entering the United States. (How will Trump determine if a person is a Muslim? Will he make everyone trying to get into the United States eat a bacon cheeseburger?)
Some have speculated that Trump's extreme rhetoric during this campaign may just be simply to get headlines. That may or may not be true. But I'll tell you one group that doesn't care either way. This group clings ferociously to Trump's most extreme positions, and its member are far to the right of the rest of the Republican Party. The group: Trump's supporters and they are scarier than he is. Read more ...
Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM's weekly program "The Dean Obeidallah Show," a columnist for The Daily Beast and editor of the politics blog The Dean's Report.
Rose Cuison Villazor: Trump's Muslim proposal has unfortunate legal precedent
In the days since Trump's announcement, many legal scholars have asserted the proposal is most likely unconstitutional
, not least because of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Ordinarily, courts would subject discrimination on the basis of religion to the strictest form of constitutional analysis.
So, for such a law to survive, the government would have to show a compelling government interest (in this case, preventing terrorist acts) and prove the discrimination (in this case against Muslims) is narrowly tailored to serve that interest. The problem for Trump is that he has not provided any evidence the exclusion of all Muslims is necessary to serve that compelling interest.
Other scholars argue the proposal is constitutional
. Trump's proposal is, after all, about the exclusion of non-citizens. And according to the Supreme Court, choices about who gets into the country are treated differently than ordinary discrimination because Congress is said to have plenary or absolute power in this area.
Indeed, there already is, unfortunately, legal precedent for the exclusion of a broad category of immigrants. Read more ....
Rose Cuison Villazor is a professor of law at the University of California at Davis School of Law and Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She is co-editor of "The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965: Legislating a New America
" (with Gabriel Chin). The views expressed are her own.
Julian Zelizer: How he could sink the GOP
Donald Trump has suggested that if the Republican Party doesn't treat him right, he might run as a third-party candidate.
Republicans should be worried.
If Trump takes this step, he would add a serious element of uncertainty into an already unwieldy process. Trump can bring his demagoguery and willingness to say anything approach to the general election, when the outcome in a handful of states will determine the next president.
Should he run as an independent, Trump would be following in the footsteps of Ross Perot. In the 1992 presidential election, Perot caused immense trouble for Republican President George H.W. Bush in his campaign against Bill Clinton by entering the race as a self-financed third-party candidate. Like Trump, Perot had the money and media savvy to command national attention even without a formal party apparatus behind him. Read more ....
Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a New America fellow. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter
" and "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.