After the bloody terrorist episodes in Paris and San Bernardino, California, North Americans are visibly anxious, and today they fear they may face new terrorist attacks on their soil like nothing since Sept. 11, 2001. Strictly speaking, according to recent public opinion polls, 44 percent of Americans consider it very likely that they may experience another attack in the near future. Meanwhile, 57 percent indicate being dissatisfied with the way in which the administration of President Barack Obama deals with this delicate subject.
The recent debate between the Republican Party's presidential candidates confirmed that personal security is the primary focus of North Americans. This suggests that whoever can inspire more confidence when faced with this question will take the lead.
As a result, the Republican candidate Donald Trump — who appears to many as a lucky antidote for their anxiety and fears — has gained nationally a new boost in public preference. Now he is leading his party's polls, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has replaced surgeon Ben Carson who has now fallen into third place, victim of his apparent confusion about bigger issues of foreign policy. However, in recent surveys of the state of Iowa, Cruz appears to have a higher voting preference compared to Trump, which signals his growth in public preference.
It may appear strange that within one of the two great political parties of the United States a candidate who within the few last months was in the news for his blustering and absolutely objectionable proposals, like the one attempting to temporarily ban Muslims from his country, leads the polls. In effect, Trump wasted no time ridiculously identifying Mexicans as rapists, and harshly criticizing ex-presidential candidate John McCain for being taken prisoner during Vietnam military operations. It is as if for that reason he stopped being a military hero, and momentarily showed lack of respect for freedom of the press, as well as demonstrating resentment and prejudices despite a certain populist and narcissistic air.
But at the same time, such attitudes also produce among the same Republicans polls that say that there is no less than 64 percent of people who are worried about the probability that Trump may become president.
The growing anxiety of American citizens surrounding the complex subject of terrorism is also in favor, at the moment, of Hillary Clinton, in her race toward the presidency. This is according to counts today, taken in the public opinion polls, that show a majority of Democratic supporters are not in support of her opponent, Bernie Sanders, who is considered much softer in the face of these types of questions.
It would then seem that the capacity to govern is now of utmost importance in the northern country's current circumstances, [more so] than very few other times in history. But prudence must also be exercised in these types of moments.