Jeb Lund, in the Guardian:
… Trump cannily recognizes that his extremism bedevils establishment Republicans. Publicly saying things a chunk of the conservative base yells at reruns of Cops is bad form. It mars the high-class brand…
More pointedly, Trump shrewdly shifted the discussion from his polls to his policy. On Monday, Monmouth University published a poll showing Trump falling behind Texas senator Ted Cruz in Iowa. What would be a temporary setback for most candidates challenges Trump’s core appeal: that he is the strongest, most luxurious candidate in the field. You can’t trail when you sell invincibility, especially when the equally shrewd Ted Cruz makes no secret of drafting behind you in hopes of picking up your followers and refuses to give you any material by attacking you.
So the horserace journalism goes: Trump again leapt to the right, leaving establishment Republicans well to his left and daring real conservatives Cruz and Marco Rubio to either compromise their identities and follow suit or risk staying put and looking like centrists. If political cleverness is the widest setting on your moral aperture, this is great.
The shrewd left doesn’t do much better. The argument you will hear is that shutting our borders to all Muslims only aids Isis by feeding into their narrative of an America at war with Islam itself and, by extension, all Muslims. They aren’t wrong. That’s a persuasive argument, but if that’s America’s default appeal, we all need to put on a chain mail suit, run through the rain and try to make babies with an electrical transformer. We’ve outlived our decency.
Sometimes it’s enough for an idea to merely be stupid, wretched, inhumane and, if we need a fourth for bridge, unconstitutional. Sometimes a refusal to be morally impoverished is reason enough. Sometimes, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, we can point to a meringued trash golem effervescing with sewage ideas like Donald Trump and say: “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”…
The best reason not to freak out about Trump is that he has no power, hasn't won a single vote as yet, and won't actually be president.
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) December 10, 2015
The best reason to freak out is 2/3 of GOP voters say they support his anti-Muslim hysteria. https://t.co/RmHFJGtBjH
— Bob Schooley (@Rschooley) December 10, 2015