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Is Trump mainstream?

On Monday the Republican President-aspirant, Donald Trump, suggested that Muslim immigration to the United States should be forbidden. Within less than 24 hours 205,000 Britons signed a petition to prohibit Donald Trump’s entry to the UK; that number was on Friday 520.000 people and counting.  The British Parliament must consider the motion if it passes the 100,000 signatures threshold. And the government must respond to any petition that gets more than 10,000 signatures.

35% of Republicans agree

The prospect of having the President of the United States considered persona non grata in Britain is not farfetched. According to a New York Times/CBS poll, Donald Trump is backed by 35% of Republican primary voters, although 2/3 of Americans do not want to see him becoming a President. Trump leads the Republican party race, with a 19% lead over Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the distant second.

25% of Americans agree

But, to portray Mr Trump as a marginal far-right candidate would be wrong. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published on Thursday25% of Americans (yes, one in four), agree with a blanket prohibition of Muslim immigration. Among Republicans, that is 42% that support it and 38% of Republican primary voters. In fact, his position is so mainstream that those who trail him, copy him too.

Those who trail him agree

Οn Tuesday, less than 24 house from Trump’s statement, Ted Cruz, sought to outbid Donald Trump in going after asylum seekers.  Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said he was introducing legislation to ban refugees from settling to the State. In doing so, he supported the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, also Republican and one of the first U.S. governors to seek to block the resettlement of refugees from Syria.

There are many members of the US establishment willing to heed the argument of a “clash of civilisations” in America. Trump, for example, framed his position against Muslim immigration as a reaction to Jihad, which he thinks is inherent to all Muslims: “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem {of hatred} and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims {sic} of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.” To support his argument, he evoked “evidence” by the “authoritative” Center for Security Policy suggesting that 25% of Muslims in the US are willing to endorse violence against the US.

Donald Trump is not alone. Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley, announced he would refuse to take in Syrian refugees. He was followed by Michigan, Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Michigan already has 200 Syrians, but Governor Snyder will not accept anyone else. Fear of anyone Muslim is becoming mainstream.

Meanwhile, a moderate Republican team is putting together a funding team trying to avert Trump’s Republican nomination. Trump leads the polls thus far. Liz Mair, a former online communications director for the Republican National Committee, created a limited liability company in October called Trump Card LLC whose purpose is to gather money to fight against Trump’s nomination. Not all Republicans agree with Trump; but, a lot do.

In 2010, there were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, that is, roughly 23% of the global population. Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion after Christianity, but it is the fastest growing. According to Pew Research Center estimates, 10% of the population of Europe will be Muslim by 2050.  Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study found that 0.9% of U.S. adults identify as Muslims.  The centre’s demographic projection is that Muslims will make up 2.1% of the U.S. population by 2050, surpassing people of Jewish heritage.