Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amendment to a bill dealing with nuclear terrorism, which states that the U.S. shouldn’t ban anyone from entering the country based on his or her religion. According to CBS News, it was passed overwhelmingly in a 16-4 vote. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) casted his vote with the majority:
In a rebuke of Donald Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-4 Thursday on an amendment that confirms that the U.S. should not block people from the country because of their religion.
"It is the sense of the Senate that the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion, as such action would be contrary to the fundamental principles on which this Nation was founded," said the amendment, offered by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, the top Democrat on the committee.
The four "no" votes were Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, David Vitter, R-Louisiana and GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that the nation isn’t worried about terrorism. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that Americans’ fear of another terrorist attack has reached levels not seen since the weeks after the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center. Donald Trump is expected to reap the benefits, as terrorism becomes a more salient issue. At the same time, it would be better for Republicans if a more serious candidate were in a position to maximize the impact from these political dividends being afforded to us.
Americans disapprove of the Obama administration’s refugee, terrorism, and anti-ISIS policies by vast majorities. The GOP is viewed better at handling national security issues and foreign policy over Democrats, and ISIS proved to be a game changer in some 2014 races, specifically the North Carolina Senate race. The tide began to turn when it was reported that then-Sen. Kay Hagan left a classified hearing on the terrorist organization to attend a fundraiser. This advantage could be wasted on Trump, though it doesn’t matter to his supporters, 40 percent of which say they’re pretty confident that he’ll do a tremendous job dealing with the issue of terrorism (via NYT):
In the aftermath of attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif., a plurality of the public views the threat of terrorism as the top issue facing the country. A month ago, only 4 percent of Americans said terrorism was the most important problem; now, 19 percent say it is, above any other issue.
Mr. Trump, who has called for monitoring mosques and even barring Muslims from entering the United States, has been the clear beneficiary of this moment of deep anxiety. More than four in 10 Republican primary voters say the most important quality in a candidate is strong leadership, which eclipses honesty, empathy, experience or electability. These voters heavily favor Mr. Trump.
The survey was largely conducted before Mr. Trump’s proposal, announced Monday, to temporarily block Muslims from entering the country.
Then again, Democrats aren’t making their case any better, with Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) saying that up to 20 percent of Muslims want a caliphate and are willing to “use terrorism,” as noted in The Hill. Newsflash: 5-20 percent, which is the range she gave, is a lot of radical Muslims. And this administration can't seem to get it together. That’s tens of million of Muslims, referencing the low end of those figures, who are willing to kill innocent people to fulfill a political goal. That’s insane, and this administration still doesn't seem to have their act together in confronting ISIS–and other terrorist groups–in a serious manner.
Moreover, the Clarion Project reported on a November poll by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies that found 13 percent of Syrian refugees have a favorable view of the Islamic State. The UN estimates that the total number of refugees has surpassed 4 million, that’s an estimated 520,000 people who support ISIS. The U.S. is projected to take in 10,000 of these refugees; over 2,000 have already been resettled. The Obama administration says we have a stringent screening process, which totally failed to identify the San Bernardino shooters as possible threats.