The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

An overwhelming majority of American Muslims support Democratic presidential candidates, according to a poll completed by Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last week. This isn’t exactly a surprise, given the blatant Islamophobia coming from nearly every Republican presidential candidate, but the poll gave some insight into how the Muslim electorate has shifted, politically, over the past two decades.

The survey reported that a majority of American Muslims, 52 percent, supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. “As an immigrant community, there’s a long memory of the work she has done abroad,” said Robert McCaw, Department Manager of Government Affairs at CAIR. “So, you essentially have two generations of Muslim immigrants who have been exposed to Clinton before they have even heard of Sanders.”

Strong support for Clinton also revealed that American Muslims are not opposed to female leadership, despite familiar tropes by the American right that Islam promotes a rigid, undemocratic and patriarchal social order. “When you look at Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, even Kosovo, these are Muslim oriented countries that have already had female leaders, presidents, and prime ministers,” said McCaw. “So this is nothing new, for Muslims to elect a female leader. This may be something new for America.”

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders placed second in the survey, earning the support of 22 percent of respondents. Sanders was one of the most vocal opponents of the Islamophobic atmosphere many Muslims have been forced to confront since the start of this election cycle. At a town hall with students at George Mason University, he approached the podium with a Muslim student and pledged to fight Islamophobia and all forms of racism as president.

The rising tide of xenophobia has propelled Islamophobia into the forefront of Muslims’ election issues. “Islamophobia went from being ranked third to ranking first. It doubled from 15 to 30 percent from 2014 to 2016,” said McCaw. “Muslims are going to support candidates that respect religious diversity and reject candidates who engage in the politics of fear.” Even before Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country, a 2011 Gallup report revealed that 48 percent of Muslim respondents had experienced some sort of religious discrimination within the past year.

But Donald Trump, the merchant of fear himself, was ahead among the 15 percent of Muslims who said they would vote Republican. He polled at seven percent overall.

Republican-voting Muslims are a rare sight. Their political opinions have changed notably since 2000, when they were a key demographic in George W. Bush’s Florida victory. Prior to his party’s turn against the Muslim community, mildly conservative social values and a focus on economic growth made Muslims gravitate towards the Republican party.

Since the September 11 attacks, invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and subsequent increases in anti-Muslim sentiment, American Muslims have swung towards the Democratic Party. The transition was already complete by the 2004 elections, when 76 percent of American Muslims said they were voting for John Kerry.

American Muslims remain an extremely small minority in the country. A report by Pew Research Center published in December 2015 estimated there to be 2.75 million Muslims in America, less than one percent of the population. But there are large Muslim communities in swing states like Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida that could be a substantial help to Democrats in 2016, whether it’s a former first lady and secretary of state or a Jewish democratic socialist on the ticket.

Photo: Muslim students at San Diego State University hold a prayer before a rally against Islamophobia in San Diego, California. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker 

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Keep reading... Show less

Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}