Shocking video shows black protester covered in blood at chaotic Trump rally in St. LouisThirty-two people were arrested at this rally. It was followed by a scheduled rally in Chicago that the campaign canceled, citing security concerns.
A demonstrator at a St. Louis rally for GOP front runner Donald Trump had his face bloodied and was taken to an ambulance by police officers, according to video posted online and the New York Daily News.
BooMan thinks Trump is pushing his luck:
@GrooveSDC Trump’s at risk of blowing this for himself at this point. He ought to take a break and coast cuz his defenders are gonna split— Martin Longman (@BooMan23) March 11, 2016
I don't think his defenders are going to leave him -- not even the mainstream Republicans who are inching toward a rapprochement with him. I'm not even sure he'll suffer very much if protesters suffer serious injuries at Trump rallies.
Look, Trump fans are authoritarians. I know that a pair of political science professors wrote this week in The Washington Post that Trump's supporters aren't really distinguished by authoritarianism -- but what they said was "we find no evidence that Trump supporters are any more 'authoritarian' (at least by common measures) than those who like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) or even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)." But that just suggests to me that Republicans in general are authoritarian. (As Yastreblyansky noted this week, authoritarianism was a strong predictor of support for George W. Bush in 2004.)
If you're authoritarian, and Trump is your strongman, then, by extension, I imagine you're likely to think that his supporters represent legitimate authority, and the protesters represent lawless attempts to usurp that authority.
Remember, many of the Trump protesters are black. Some are white, but they're left-leaning.
Think of the differences in white and non-white reactions to police violence. This December 2014 CBS poll is typical (via Polling Report):
White conservatives are especially likely to believe that if force is used against blacks (or angry white lefties), it's justified. The nightly local news, Fox, and the Drudge Report scare the crap out of them all the time with tales of swarthy and/or scruffy people who want to do them harm.
So even if there's really bad violence at Trump rallies, the Republican rank and file will assume the victims deserved it. And I'm not sure the even moderate whites will find that this violence shocks their consciences.
Trump is playing with fire. But he's not going to get burned at the ballot box -- not with the voters he's trying to reach.