Donald Trump Isn't the Problem. Trump Derangement Syndrome Is.
My Facebook feed is inundated with indignant Republicans excoriating Donald Trump for his comments about Muslim immigrants.
This has been a recurring theme since Trump announced his candidacy last spring: Republicans who don't like Trump express outrage over Trump's off-color or problematic remarks and spend the next six news cycles distancing themselves from Trump.
What Trump's Republican detractors don't realize is that their Trump Derangement Syndrome is playing directly into the left's hands. That's because the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, overwhelmed by the Islamic terrorist threat whose name they lack the moral courage to even utter, use the GOP's vociferous condemnation of Trump to distract Americans from the Democrats' abject failures.
It's perfectly reasonable for Trump's rivals to voice their disagreements with Trump. But there's a fine line between disagreeing with and joining the Democrats and the media in obsessively denouncing a single candidate.
As Marco Rubio pointed out to Bill Clinton's former spin-meister and current "journalist" George Stephanopoulos, Donald Trump's plan is dominating the news in spite of the fact that it will never materialize. Meanwhile, the Islamic terror threat that materialized on U.S. soil mere days ago is being ignored.
And this is precisely what Obama, Clinton, and their media allies want.
Republicans think that by attacking Trump, they're undoing the damage they imagine Trump is inflicting on the GOP brand. But what they're actually succeeding in doing is inviting blistering Democrat attacks.
The epic failure of the Obama administration to deal with Islamic terrorism is a political albatross around Hillary Clinton's neck. Polls overwhelmingly show that Americans don't have any confidence in Obama's anti-terrorism strategy. But instead of exploiting this glaring weakness, Republican candidates and pundits are frantically denouncing a candidate who has never held political office.
This is counterproductive to the common cause of educating Americans about Obama's failures, and it serves as a unique impetus for Obama and Clinton to advance the mendacious narrative that Donald Trump's rhetoric is aiding and abetting ISIS.
Obama should be on the defensive for his shameless and pathetic attempt to blame the San Bernardino Islamic terror attack on workplace violence and lax gun laws. Instead, he and the Democrats are on the offensive.
And Trump isn't the only Republican in the Democrats' crosshairs for alleged offenses against Islam. Democrats are now consistently, as a matter of campaign strategy, lying that the Republican Party is helping ISIS.
Two days after the Paris terrorist attacks, Obama went overseas and accused his domestic political opponents of being ISIS's main enablers. It was an unpardonable smear of Republicans who have legitimate concerns about the vetting process for Syrian refugees.
This proves that Democrats don't need Donald Trump to demonize Republicans; the shameless left has no qualms about linking the same Republicans who excoriate Donald Trump with ISIS.
Yet Republicans are so terrified of what Trump's candidacy is allegedly doing to the GOP brand that instead of debunking the Democrats' big lie, they're committing an extraordinary amount of rhetorical energy to attacking Trump. This, in turn, gives the left-wing media the excuse to amplify Trump's remarks. After all, if the Republicans themselves won't stop obsessing over Trump's comments, why should the liberal media?
The idea that Donald Trump's rhetoric is somehow helping ISIS is as absurd as Obama's claim that hitting the pause button on allowing Syrian refugees to come to the U.S. until we improve our vetting process is helping ISIS. The argument presupposes that non-radicalized Muslims are so morally and intellectually bankrupt that one man's opinion on Muslim travel to the U.S. will compel them to join a barbaric death cult. What the left is in effect saying is that moderate Muslims are so emotionally fragile that Trump's policy proposal is the only nudge they need to cross over to the dark side.
Incredibly, many TDS-stricken Republicans are embracing this preposterous narrative, to the delight of Obama, Clinton, and every other Democrat in the country.
Obama's scurrilous charge is vintage Obama. He has consistently blamed the West for Islamic terrorism and ISIS. To wit, he has blamed the proliferation of terrorism on GITMO, a Kansas pastor with a thirty-person congregation who burned a Koran, the Iraq War, a hapless California man who made a YouTube video about Mohammed, cartoonists drawing Mohammed, etc.
Obama does this because as a doctrinaire leftist, he believes that Western civilization in general and the U.S. in particular are ultimately responsible for most of the world's ills. The general thesis of his infamous 2009 Middle East apology tour was that if only the U.S. would stop doing all these bad things, world peace would take root. The fact that the world is far more dangerous now than when Obama was inaugurated represents the definitive refutation of this thesis.
If Republicans want to win next November, they need to focus on Obama's failed track record and on counterattacking the leftist demagogues who are scapegoating them as ISIS's main enablers, not obsessively denouncing Donald Trump's proposals.
Eugene Slaven is a fundraising and marketing writer and the author of the comedy novel A Life of Misery and Triumph. Follow Eugene on Twitter @eslaven or connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.