Until last week, the threat from terrorism had received little attention from candidates or voters during the 2016 campaign. In one poll, just 3 percent of Americans rated it the most important problem facing the country.
The horrific attacks that took place Friday in Paris have, at least for the moment, changed that dynamic. CBS quickly moved to increase the emphasis on foreign policy and national security during Saturday night’s Democratic debate. Candidates are scrambling to adjust to the news, which media analysis has suggested might “alter” the character of the race, for instance by helping more experienced candidates like Hillary Rodham Clinton and hurting outsiders like Donald Trump.
How long-lasting an effect will the Paris attacks have on the United States presidential race? Absent further attacks, the suggestion that Paris will prove to be a “game changer” is unlikely to be correct.