Looks like Republicans and Democrats just have different ideas about how severe the threat of terrorism is.
Daniel Henninger put together some fascinating figures on this. He writes:
Back in February after the New Hampshire presidential primaries, something in the exit polls caught my eye. It was that of the four “most important” issues facing the country, Democratic voters put terrorism fourth, at 10%. For Granite State Republicans it was 23%.
At the time, the 10% figure struck me mainly as an intriguing result from a small state early in the primary season. Still, the terrorist attack in San Bernardino had just occurred in December and the horrific Paris massacres a month before.
But that pattern—Democrats ranking terrorism fourth at 10%—held throughout the 2016 primary season. Even in military-minded South Carolina, terrorism registered at 10% with Democrats. For South Carolina Republicans, terrorism was the top issue at 32%.
In April, a study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs of the primaries’ exit polls noticed the phenomenon: “Terrorism has been named as the top issue on average by one in ten (Democratic) voters, far behind the economy/jobs, income inequality, and health care.”
Does this mean Republicans are from Mars and Democrats are from Venus? Yes it does, and the Democrats know it.
I am wondering if part of the reason that Democrats appear less concerned about terrorism than Republicans is that they do everything possible to convince themselves, when a terrorist attack occurs, that something else is in play. A man shouting "Allahu akbar" gunning down nearly a hundred people thus is manifesting repressed homosexuality, nothing to do with ISIS.
Henninger cites the Washington Post article titled “A Fight Over Nation’s Values.” It noted: “Both Clinton and Obama were eager to shift the focus away from terrorism and the battle against Islamic State, an area of relative weakness for Democrats.”
This is a historic trend. The much-derided Patriot Act, designed to protect the homeland from terrorism, was passed by a bipartisan majority in the aftermath of 9/11. But almost immediately Democrats began trying to chip away at it, claiming "panic" had led to its passage.