The combination of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign with the United Kingdom’s dramatic vote for “Brexit” from the European Union has brought renewed attention to the populist-tinged brew of nationalism and nativism flowing through Trump’s rhetoric as he competes for the presidency.
Results from the June 2016 University of Texas / Texas Politics Project Poll reveal a thirst for such rhetoric in attitudes toward immigration, international trade, U.S. involvement in foreign countries, and even for more specific appeals identified with Donald Trump, such as building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and banning non-citizen Muslims from entering the United States.
While we found the most recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll chock full of fascinating results on attitudes toward issues that illuminate much of the recent political discussion in the 2016 races in both Texas and the U.S., with the Texas primary coming up Tuesday it seems appropriate to look at some of the undercurrents of the results from the trial ballots in the presidential nominating contests, including Cruz's standing with extremely conservative voters as well as some slippage in his standing, the Clinton-Sanders race, Texans' views of outsiders, and more.
Established patterns in attitudes among Republican voters working in concert with the sense of immediate crisis in the aftermath of Paris are surely fueling the surprising vehemence of the illiberal rhetoric and ideas about that are so at odds with the civil libertarian culture of the country. But the vehemence of this approach and its centrality to the current political debate are the results of political choices, especially those of the candidates vying for the GOP presidential nomination.