Trump has been leading the GOP polls almost without interruption for months. He’s not an outlier. He’s there for a reason. The reason is that the GOP has made space in their party for race-baiting xenophobic religious bigots, and has done so for years by conscious and intentional strategy. Trump did not bring his supporters into the GOP. They were already there.
And he rightly laments this state of affairs:
Right now, in the United States, the leading candidate for president of one of the two major political parties — the leader by a substantial margin — is openly talking about denying an entire class of people their fundamental Constitutional and human rights, and being cheered for it. It’s not right, it’s bigoted and hateful, and yes, it absolutely is dangerous.
But here’s the thing. The GOP has been doing this for years, generations even, and at the establishment level. It’s not always Muslims, of course. For the past 20 years or so it’s been a lot about gays. Not barring them from entering the country, but denying them constitutional rights to marry and be as they are without discrimination or harassment. An entire class of people. Right now, the GOP literally boasts of its ability to obstruct African Americans (especially poor ones) from voting at all. An entire class of people. They go to the cruelest, most cynical, most desperate lengths to make sure that women have no say whatsoever in whether their body will be used to produce another human body. An entire class of people.
Shift your perspective just slightly, and it becomes not just about one or two unfavored groups, but the superiority of one: Christians. The right kind of Christians, of course. Rather than bellowing about the rights that some group or other does not deserve, they maintain that there are special rights that only Christians deserve. The right to flout the law, to assertively deny others’ rights because they think their religion tells them to, and even the freedom to reject responsibility for the ransacking and despoiling of the planet because the Bible says it’s okay. These are bedrock principles of the Republican Party.
So I wish the political-journalistic establishment would spare us all the shock over Trump’s version of this. The Republican Party is explicitly devoted to taking the humanity away from entire classes of people, and asserting the superiority of rich, white, male Christians. They are all Trumps.