You could have locked 100 political consultants in a room and told them not to leave until they had a perfect response to the San Bernardino terror attack, and they never would have come up with it. When Trump proposed the ban, the world collapsed around his head. No one agreed with Trump — except Republican voters. According to exit polls, it was his strongest issue.
The ban is completely unreasonable and, if you were going to try to implement it, impractical. Trump’s insight was that it didn’t matter. Its emotional punch, and the way it differentiated him from the other candidates, was the important thing.
Trump’s achievement is difficult to fathom. With no pollsters, no speechwriters, no fundraising staff, little campaign organization, few TV advertisements, no debate prep, and a paper-thin knowledge of public affairs, he has won a major-party presidential nomination. This is a 100-year event.
Trump did it by pounding a simple message over and over again in big rallies and media appearances. His shibboleths are burned into the consciousness of his supporters in a way we haven’t seen since the Barack Obama of “hope and change.” The Trump supporter with whom Cruz argued a few days before the Indiana primary wasn’t highly informed, but he sure knew to shout “Lyin’ Ted!”