Tuesday, September 20, 2016

He’s Got Their Vote

There’s one bloc Hillary Clinton will never be able to persuade:

With bellicose foreign policy and his hostility to Muslims, Donald Trump has fashioned himself as a major threat to jihadist extremists, but they themselves see his posturing also as an opportunity, according to analysts who study their communications.


“It’s clear they find his comments, they find his demeanor, they find his approach, in some way serving the goals of ISIS in some manner, whether it be in having a ground war in Syria or weakening the United States,” Laith Alkhouri, a counterterrorism analyst and co-founder of the threat intelligence firm FlashPoint, told TPM. “They believe that with the U.S. weakening down that the Caliphate will actually rise.”

Alkhouri researches online networks used by terrorist groups and their supporters, including one dark web site he described as a “holistic jihadist web forum” the also serves as an Islamic State mouthpiece.

One such discussion began with a meme posted by a user of a homeless person in California holding a sign that says “Give me $$$ or I will vote for Trump,” which the commenter captioned, “even the American beggar knows the danger of Trump on the Americans.”


Mara Revkin, a PhD student at Yale who has studied ISIS governance, told TPM that in her interviews with both current Islamic State supporters and defectors, Trump is viewed as the ultimate enemy, someone who may push the U.S. into a ground war in the Middle East.

Revkin–who has traveled a total of four times to Turkey and Iraq this year for her research– said that one Syrian Islamic State defector told her in Turkey that ISIS uses Trump in their propaganda because he is the “perfect enemy.” Revkin added that the Arabic might translate more directly as “excellent enemy.”

“His anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-Muslim rhetoric totally validates ISIS claims that Muslims are unwelcome in Europe and the U.S., and that they would be better off living in its so-called caliphate,” she said. “ISIS exploits these inflammatory statements to mobilize its supporters around the idea that the West—and America in particular—is hostile to Islam.”

Between these folks and our home-grown KKK and Neo-Nazi alt-right fans, Mr. Trump’s hold on the extremists is unassailable.