Why Dems Can’t Say ‘Islamic Terror’

Jun 16, 2016 by

Base of party controlled by Obama, Clinton don’t want confront real danger

by Brendan Kirby

It is no coincidence that President Obama and Donald Trump sound so different when it comes to describing terrorism. They both are reflecting their base of supporters in an increasingly divided nation.

Notwithstanding the fact that Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton both uttered the phrase “Islamic terrorism” this week, they and other leading Democrats normally go to great lengths to avoid that term when discussing mass shootings and bombings carried out by fanatics in the name of Islam.

Next time Clinton appears to be performing a linguistic gymnastics routine to avoid saying “radical Islamic terrorists,” remember — she’s playing to her base.

A Bloomberg poll taken in the wake of a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando over the weekend found the public deeply divided over the rhetoric surrounding the issue. Some 47 percent agreed that avoiding the phrase “radical Islam” makes the United States look weak; 44 percent disagreed.

Bloomberg did not break down the results by party affiliation, but an extensive survey conducted in January by the Pew Research Center suggests a deep partisan divide: Republican-leaning voters overwhelmingly want blunt talk, while Democratic-leaning voters fear such harsh language will alienate moderate Muslims.

Among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters responding to the Pew poll, 65 percent favored directness even if it is critical of Islam as a whole, while 70 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters thought it was more important to take care not to criticize Islam as whole. The division was evident regardless of voters’ overall ideology. For instance, 64 percent of Democrats describing themselves as conservative or moderate favored careful talk, while 58 percent of moderate and liberal Republicans preferred bluntness.

In that context, it is easy to understand why Obama studiously avoids references to Islam when talking about terrorism. Although vexing to Republicans, the voters who favor his liberal approach to the world get queasy at the prospect of confronting Islamic extremism with tough rhetoric.

Partisan Divide on Terrorism
Favoring Republicans Democrats
Blunt talk 65% 22%
Careful talk 29% 70%
Some religions promote violence
Republicans Democrats
Agree 32% 15%
Disagree 57% 77%
Anti-American U.S. Muslims?
Republicans Democrats
A few/none 29% 54%
Source: Pew Research Center

Trump, meanwhile, is on firm ground with his own base of supporters. Taken as the primary season was kicking off, the Pew poll suggested that among those Republicans who want the next president to speak bluntly about Islamic terrorism, 63 percent thought the real estate mogul would make a great president. That was substantially higher than the marks they gave to candidates who spoke about terrorism in more nuanced terms.

The Pew poll found that Republicans were twice as likely as Democrats to agree that the teachings of some religions promote violence. Republicans were also twice as likely to agree that almost all or most Muslims in the United States are anti-American, although the numbers were small for both parties.

More than half of Democrats, 54 percent, believed that only a few or no Muslims in the U.S. are anti-American. That was 25 points higher than the share of Republicans who agreed. And that divide between the parties has grown since a similar survey in 2002. Republicans and Democrats then were almost equally likely to believe that most or all Muslims in the United States were not anti-American.

Democrats also see anti-Muslim discrimination a big problem. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, 74 percent said there is “a lot of discrimination against Muslims” in America. Only 42 percent of Republicans agreed.

So the next time Clinton appears to be performing a linguistic gymnastics routine to avoid saying “radical Islamic terrorists,” remember — she’s playing to her base.

Why Dems Can’t Say ‘Islamic Terror’ | LifeZette

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