07/18/2016 03:33 EDT | Updated 07/19/2016 10:59 EDT

Trumpers Support A Muslim Ban They Know Will Never Work

Brendan McDermid / Reuters
Republican U.S.presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a news conference after he announced Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate in New York City, U.S., July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

In the current campaign for the American Presidency,the GOP candidate Donald Trump's proposed temporary ban on Muslims seeking entry into the United States is a big vote-getter amongst Republicans. Trump is calling "... for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

Some six months after the December 2015 statement proposing the ban, Trump generously offered to limit the ban to specific terrorist countries, adding that there is existing knowledge as to which countries these are.

A poll taken two weeks after the minute revision to the ban revealed that 35 per cent of Americans support the idea. The CBS News/New York Times poll conducted from July 8 to 12, 2016 had 56 per cent of Republicans in agreement with "... temporarily banning Muslims from other countries from entering the United States" (note that the question doesn't refer to any limit to "terrorist countries").

The proposed Trump Muslim ban was widely denounced as unconstitutional. Indeed, perhaps the best source for this rather obvious observation is none other than Trump's running mate, Mike Pence. Back in December 2015, Pence referred to the proposed ban as "offensive" and "unconstitutional." Now, however, he believes that the revised version of the ban is just fine.

A ban that Pence and nearly all Republicans would consider unconstitutional is one that would infringe on the right of Americans to bear arms. A McClatchy-Marist poll carried out from July 5 to 9, 2016 reveals that 66 per cent of Republicans versus 23 per cent of Democrats oppose a ban on the sale of assault weapons and semi-automatic rifles.

Pence strongly supports a right to carry a firearm in public. While holding a similar view on the Constitution's right to bear arms, Trump has nonetheless expressed openness to banning people on terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms.

The striking paradox in the Muslim ban is Trump's inference that it would be in effect until such time as "... we figure out what is going on." He declared that "... it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."

Don't Trump and the Republicans insist that they know what is going on? Trump repeatedly berates Barack Obama for not using the term radical Islam, which is to state the obvious when it comes to the source of terrorism. I highly doubt that making the ban temporary is Trump's way of looking into the root causes of the hatred that underlies terrorism.

Many American voters seemingly appreciate the fact that Trump would propose such a ban regardless of whether it can be implemented. A Gallup poll conducted from June 14 to 15, 2016 found that only 17 per cent of Americans thought that such a ban would be effective.

Many Americans likely realize that actually putting this thing into effect risks compromising a Constitution that Americans greatly value.

The idea of building a wall between Mexico and the United States, while attractive to many Republicans, is surely seen as unrealistic by members of the GOP. Getting the Mexicans to pay for it is ludicrous. Whether it's a ban on Muslims or a wall with Mexico, it's just the thought of such things rather than any action that matters for many Republicans. It's the thought that counts.

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