The write up on the latest NBC/WSJ poll begins "Donald Trump and Ben Carson are running neck and neck in the national Republican presidential horserace..." It shows Trump at 21% and Carson, in second, at 20%. This is the first time in since mid-July that Trump's lead has been so slim.
It may well be a reflection of reality. But the margin of error is a whopping 6.5%, more than twice as large as that of comparable polls. The sample only included 230 GOP primary voters. Spread across 17 potential choices and coupled with the fact that the result noticeably diverges from the results of four other polls conducted in the last week showing Trump's lead at between 5-8 points, some qualification is probably merited. It is not, however, provided.
Carson is putatively now the man for Trump to beat, in spite of his sensible but politically incorrect remarks concerning a hypothetical Muslim president (or, hopefully, because of them). Islam is illiberal. That's blatantly obvious to anyone who has read the Koran or is familiar with the hadiths. Consequently, the highest political office in the US should not be held by someone who has any serious fidelity to the foundational teachings of the Muslim faith.
The sobriety of his statements contrast starkly with the bipartisan zeal over the last couple of decades for trying to turn the Middle East and North Africa into a coalition of mini Americas by forcing democracy on them. Westerners have a bad habit of equating democracy with liberalism, when the two do not necessarily have anything to do with one another.
To the contrary, in much of the world--Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, just to name a few of the places American interventionist meddling has recently wrecked--autocracy has been a friend of liberalism, and the replacement of autocracy with democracy has resulted in reductions in liberalism. Had the essentially secular regime of Saddam Hussein never been toppled, the fundamentalist Islamic State couldn't possibly exist.
That Carson, who was recently slapped with a scarlet "I" for sensibly concluding that he would not support a Muslim becoming president, is currently Trump's most serious challenge is encouraging in that it suggests that the squealing about waaaaaaaycism! has completely lost currency among much of the grassroots mainstream right.