No candidate used last night’s GOP debate to meaningfully criticize Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban. Jeb Bush — who maintains he’ll support a Trump nomination — was the only candidate who dared challenge Trump at all, but the worst he had to say about the ban is that it “resonates politically,” but would be counterproductive in terms of anti-ISIS coalition-building. Ted Cruz said, “I understand why Donald made that proposal.” Rubio refused to be critical or call it unconstitutional. Overall, everyone mostly just tried to avoid talking about the ban at all.
Here’s why: 60% of GOP voters support Trump’s ban — Rubio, Cruz, and everyone else have nothing to gain, and plenty to lose, by standing up to Trump.
That’s why the GOP candidates aren’t trying to distance themselves from Trump. Think about all the name-calling and posturing we saw last night — the other candidates are actually starting to talk and act like him, as the Washington Post’s Philip Bump pointed out this morning:
[W]hen the candidates talked about foreign policy, they talked about it in positively Trump-ian terms: Who was “winning,” and why it wasn’t America.
Whether intentional or not, their Trump-ian affectations did nothing to convince us they’re able talk about foreign policy with any coherence or nuance: