Yes, I know, just what the world needs, another blog post on Donald Trump. Just this morning on my daily trek to Real Clear Politics almost every article is either about Trump or the subjects he’s bulldozed into the American, yea worldwide conversation. But since he really stepped in it this time, and what a big smelly mess it was, I couldn’t resist. Especially because of the bipartisan nature of the hysterical reaction against what he said. Not only did the liberal mainstream media and Democratic politicians lambaste him, but establishment and non-establishment Republicans and conservatives as well. Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from coming to America until we figure this thing out is simply for them beyond the pale, or so we were told ad nauseam. Supposedly this is “un-American,” it is “not who we are,” in President Obama’s favorite phrase. Yet some voices of reason have broken through the clamorous clutter, and more did so as the week wore on.
What Trump said is supposedly against freedom of speech and is unconstitutional, in addition to being xenophobic and demagogic; but “all of these claims are mistaken,” according to James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal.
Taranto, one of the most dispassionate and rigorously logical observers on the scene today, argues that far from being un-American, Trump’s proposal is already the law of the land:
Quite obviously the Constitution’s provision on religious tests for public office has no application to immigration policy. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment is equally irrelevant, as it applies only to states. (It does prohibit state discrimination against aliens, including in some contexts illegal aliens, but decisions about which aliens to admit are entirely under federal purview.)
Yale-Loehr is correct that the Trump proposal requires an act of Congress, but that act has already been enacted. Title 8, Section 1182 of the U.S. Code provides in relevant part:
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
He thinks it would not run afoul of the First Amendment either. So why are so many conservatives and Republicans piling on when controlling our borders from threats is American as apple pie? Obviously in the age of Obama, apple isn’t the right kind of pie anymore. Yet there are voices of sanity out there. Erick Erickson of Red State thinks it’s a brilliant political move for the primary because every other candidate save Ted Cruz is in effect siding with President Obama. Andrew McCarthy at the completely anti-Trump National Review argues that regardless of what you think of the merits of the proposal, at least it can possibly touch off a badly needed discussion. Rich Lowry also of National Review argues that Trump’s “Hysterical Critics Display an Ignorance of Their Own.”
Others are saying that whatever you think of Trump, he is tapping into vein running through a goodly portion of the conservative electorate. And maybe that’s the problem. The Republican establishment from the time of Ronald Reagan has never really embraced its base, which is a nuisance to be used come election time and ignored after the ballots are cast. All Democrats ever seem to do is appeal to their base. In the last presidential election Obama doubled down on that base, all but ignored the political middle, and beat the Republican moderate. I don’t doubt a lot of Trump’s support is from a part of that base that says despite his bombast and lack of policy acumen, that they have just had it. They’ve been taken advantage of one too many times, and in the dangerous times in which we live they are simply not going to let that happen again.