In re: Donald Trump as Crazy Person Redux.

In a January 2013 Gallup poll, 47 percent of people identified as Democrats or Democrat-leaning Independents, while 42 percent identified as Republicans or Republican-leaning Independents.[1] How does that apply to other issues?

First, a large share (40 percent) of Americans and almost half (49 percent) of Republicans would support registering Muslims in America.[2]

Back of the envelope, if 49 percent of Republicans favor registering Muslims, that comes to about 21 percent of the electorate.[3] The other 19 percent come out of people who identify as Democrats or as Democrat-leaning Independents. That’s about 40 percent of the Democrat voter base who agree with Donald Trump on this issue. Basically, there are only marginally more Republicans opposed to registering Muslims than there are Democrats who favor it.

Second, in 2011, 47 percent of Americans thought that Islam’s values were “at odds” with America’s values. By November 2015, 56 percent of Americans thought that Islam’s values were “at odds” with America’s values.[4] In late November 2015, 56 percent of Americans were against allowing Syrian refugees into the United States. In contrast, 41 percent favored accepting Syrian refugees.[5] That leaves only 3 percent who “aren’t sure.”

Back of the envelope, if 42 percent of voters are Republicans and 56 percent of people think that Islamic values are incompatible with American values, then 14 percent are not Republicans. That 14 percent amounts to almost one-third of the people who self-identify as Democrats. Bernie Sanders isn’t going to tack into the wind to capture this share of the vote, but Hillary Clinton well might.

Third, opinion polls in October 2015 revealed that almost half of Americans (46 percent) supported building a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico.[6] A slightly larger share (48 percent) opposed building a wall.

Back of the envelope, if 46 percent of Americans favor building a wall, and 42 percent of Americans self-identify as Republicans, then 4 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning favor building a wall. Even so, the previous statistics suggest that almost half of Republicans (about 21 percent) aren’t drinking Donald Trump’s Kool-Aid. But that means that a lot of Democrats (21 + 4 percent = 25 percent) are drinking the Kool-Aid.

So, Trump can be stopped pretty easily in a general election. Why don’t we think about the issues that unite us, rather than about the party labels that divide us? Unless, of course, what you want is the warm, gooey, chocolate-chip-cookie-fresh-out-of-the-oven feeling of moral superiority. Even if it means a disaster for the Republic.


[2] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 11 December 2015, p. 17.

[3] 40 percent (all Americans who favor registering Muslim)s – 21 percent (Republicans who favor registering Muslims) = 19 percent (who are NOT Republicans who favor registering Muslims). “If a train leaves Dubuque heading eastward at 30 mph and another train leaves Rock Island heading westward at 40 miles an hour, how much will the lawyers eventually make?”

[4] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 27 November 2015, p. 17.

[5] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 4 December 2015, p. 19.

[6] This is a separate question from who should pay for such a wall.

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