CNN's Fareed Zakaria asserted on his 6 March 2016 program that the relationship between conservative/Republican leaders and the grassroots was "similar" to the "dynamic" between moderate Muslims and Islamists: "A main cause of the rise of extremism in the world of Islam has been the cowardice of Muslim moderates, who...chose not to condemn bad ideas and ugly rhetoric....It is now clear that a similar dynamic has been at play in the world of conservatism."
He claimed that "some of its most distinguished mainstream members" of the conservative movement "have embraced the rhetoric and tactics of the extremes."
Zakaria cited a "memo put out by Newt Gingrich's political action committee that decade urged Republican candidates to use savage rhetoric against their Democrat opponents," and linked it to Donald Trump's attacks on his opponents in both parties.
The liberal host later contended that "Republicans have fed the country ideas about decline, betrayal, and treason. They have encouraged the forces of anti-intellectualism, obstructionism, and populism. They have flirted with bigotry and racism. Trump merely chose to unashamedly embrace all of it — saying plainly what they were hinting at for years."