Call it Trumpism, an ad-hoc term for the cresting wave of white Republican resentment that Donald Trump has been surfing like Duke Kahanamoku. Some find it fascinating. Late-night comics like Stephen Colbert have been treating it like it’s hilarious.
But a lot of people take Mr. Trump completely seriously, and support him fervently. So when do we start being frightened for this country?
A poll came out today. It’s just one poll in one Southern state, North Carolina, by one polling outfit (Public Policy Polling, or PPP) with Democratic Party ties, asking questions of a few hundred Republican primary voters.
But still, these results:
“Do you think a Muslim should ever be allowed to be President of the United States, or not?
A Muslim should be allowed to be President of the United States: 16 percent
A Muslim should not be allowed to be President of the United States: 72 percent
Not sure: 12 percent”
“Do you think the religion of Islam should be legal or illegal in the United States?
Islam should be legal in the United States: 40 percent
Islam should be illegal in the United States: 40 percent
Not sure: 20 percent”
Do these people know what it means to outlaw Muslim worship? Do they teach history in the North Carolina schools? Do they know what would happen if we closed mosques, arrested worshipers and prayer leaders, imposed religious tests for public office? Are these overwrought questions, or do the ugly answers in this poll portend something seriously wrong: an outbreak of a deadly fever this country has seen many times before?