ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- In one of the presidential campaign year's more grisly spectacles, protesters in New Mexico opposing Donald Trump's candidacy threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles and other items at police officers, injuring several, and toppled trash cans and barricades.We keep being told that Clinton-hating Bernie Sanders supporters might pull the level for Trump this year. But maybe unrest at Trump rallies -- led by the usual Guy Fawkes mask-wearing agitators -- will convey the sense that no self-respecting "revolutionary" would back Trump.
Police responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd outside the Albuquerque Convention Center.
During the rally, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was interrupted repeatedly by protesters, who shouted, held up banners and resisted removal by security officers.
The banners included the messages "Trump is Fascist" and "We've heard enough."
I'm sure some Sanders supporters will vote for Trump. At Politico, Josh Zeitz reminds us that some supporters of Eugene McCarthy in 1968 and Ted Kennedy in 1980 actually weren't left-leaning, and ultimately voted, respectively, for George Wallace and Ronald Reagan.
While many of McCarthy’s supporters were genuinely opposed to the war in Vietnam, exit polls showed that a majority thought of themselves as hawks and voted against LBJ to register dissatisfaction with the slow pace of the war effort. Others were unhappy about skyrocketing inflation and urban unrest and simply wanted to register their discontent with the status quo. Lyndon Johnson’s private pollster found that 55 percent of McCarthy voters supported the conventional bombing campaign against North Vietnam, while only 29 percent opposed it....But if there are Democratic primary voters like this in 2016, they'll be the more right-leaning voters, people who probably would have voted Republican in the general election in any case. (There were more of these voters in the Democratic Party in 1968 and even 1980 than there are today.)
Exit polls showed that roughly 18 percent of McCarthy’s primary voters ended up supporting Wallace.
... On election day , some 27 percent of Edward Kennedy’s primary supporters cast their votes for Reagan.
I've been worried about self-defined progressives deciding that a Trump vote is a thumb in the eye to the hated Clinton. Unrest at Trump rallies might remind these folks who the real enemy is.
And if we're talking about 1968, let's remember that, after the Chicago convention, the Democrats seemed like the party that presided over chaos. If unrest continues to follow Trump, he'll be associated with chaos in the minds of a lot of moderate voters. That's not going to help him with those voters.
I'm not rooting for violence at Trump rallies. But if it continues to happen, it might be much more of a burden for Trump than it was in the primaries.