A nugget from Steve Benen’s Maddowblog post, “GOP base: Obama wasn’t born in US, but Cruz was“:
While top-line results are usually the most important takeaway from polls like these, that’s only part of what’s amazing about these new results. Consider this excerpt from the latest PPP report:
…51% [of Republican voters] overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29% grant that President Obama was born in the United States. That’s less than the 40% who think Canadian born Ted Cruz was born in the United States.
Let that one roll around in your head for a moment. Nearly seven years into the Obama presidency, less a third of Republican voters believe the president was born in the United States. A significantly higher percentage believe Ted Cruz was born in the U.S – and he wasn’t.
Piling on, Benen adds that 54 percent of GOP respondents in the poll believe that President Obama is not a Christian and “32 percent aren’t sure,” beliefs echoed by Scott Walker and other GOP presidential candidates, despite numerous reports of the Obama family attending churches across the nation. Further, 66 percent of Trump supporters believe the President is a Muslim.
Take your pick of these stats, parse them any way you can. But but you won’t be able to avoid concluding that an awfully large percentage of self identified Republican rank and filers are dummies or paranoid. Republican leaders are, to some extent, merely reflecting the irrational suspicions and ignorance, willful and otherwise, of their “base.”
But real leadership is not about pandering to the worst instincts of constituents. It’s about educating them and bringing out the best in people, challenging them to a higher level of awareness and common concern for their fellow citizens. Measured by that standard, 21st century Republican leaders have failed miserably. The interesting question is, when do more enlightened conservatives in the rank and file become too embarrassed to call themselves Republicans?