Trump just put out his policy statement on Muslims--to deny their entrance into the US. Of course, this is unconstitutional. Of course, this is ridiculous. But what do you expect from a man who is all hair, no cattle? He has no real policy ideas, he is not really a politician. He is a reality tv host and a business failure. So, what can he do? He has to play to the haters, that he has to step up his xenophobia because that is all he has got.
Alas, we cannot dismiss him because of his inability to win office. Heather Hurlbert argued at the Year Ahead conference that Trump's impact is not on winning but on injecting into the body politic his stances. To put it less kindly, Trump is a disease that is going to infect our political system beyond this election. He is making it not just ok to be awful/awful/awful but is compelling others in the Republican Party (and more than a few Democrats) to appeal to hate, to try to denigrate and discriminate against a group based on religion.
Yes, the US has the first amendment to get in the way, and I am thankful for that. But the clause protecting freedom of religion is not going to stop people from attacking Muslims in the US. Trump-inspired hate attacks have been happening since he started running on this issue. And thanks to the attack in San Bernadino, this is happening more and more.
This is why I actually liked Obama's speech last night. No, it didn't promise any new policy stances, but he was quite clear and correct that playing up hate against Muslims is precisely what ISIS/ISIL/Daesch/IS wants to happen. Which makes Trump not just unAmerican but a traitor. Trump is giving aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime.
Is that an exaggeration? I don't think so. Do you?