America was on edge during the holiday season. The mass shooting in San Bernardino by an Islamic married couple, which killed 14 people, was the deadliest terror strike in the United States since 9/11. It followed the dramatic suicide attacks in Paris, the downing of a Russian plane in Egypt, and an assault on a hotel favored by Westerners in far-flung Bamako, Mali. In mid-December, Los Angeles shut down its 1,087 schools for a day, after receiving a terror threat.
Forty percent of those surveyed in a Wall Street Journal / NBC News poll in mid-December said that terrorism and national security should be the government’s top priority; 60 percent cited one or the other in their top two concerns, up from just 39 percent eight months earlier. Some 25 percent said that they worried that they or their family would be a victim of a terror attack; 60 percent disapproved of President Barack Obama’s handling of the Islamic State, as opposed to 55 percent a year ago. Of even greater concern for Democrats in the coming elections, 70 percent said that the country was “on the wrong track.”