Friday, June 03, 2016


Donald Trump is appalling, but there's no justification for this:
Protests outside a Donald Trump rally in downtown San Jose spun out of control Thursday night when some demonstrators attacked the candidate’s supporters.

Protesters jumped on cars, pelted Trump supporters with eggs and water balloons, snatched signs, and stole “Make America Great” hats off supporters’ heads before burning them and snapping selfies with the charred remains....

In one incident captured on camera, a Trump supporter was struck hard over the side of the head as he was walking away from a group of protesters. The attack left him with blood streaming down his head and onto his shirt....

This is just wrong. It needs to stop.

And yet I don't believe it's going to lead to a backlash that elects Trump. I've said before that if you're thinking 1968, you should remember that the violence in Chicago was targeted at Hubert Humphrey, not the eventual winner, Richard Nixon. But there are other reasons I don't think violence at Trump rallies will help Trump.

First of all, this isn't 1968. Violent unrest isn't happening everywhere. Right now, it seems to be happening only at Trump rallies. The average middle-of-the-road voter doesn't think this is a widespread societal problem right now. It seems more like a Trump problem. Maybe swing voters think it's an anti-Trump problem -- but it's somehing that's following him around, and not Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. And he's been known to encourage violence. Voters don't even like angry non-violent partisanship in D.C. They want someone who'll make all the turbulence go away. But where Trump goes, turbulence follows. I don't think that helps him.

And here's another problem for Trump: He says he's the guy who can get all our worst problems under control -- so why can't he control the perimeter at his own rallies? In fact, the unrest in San Jose seemed to be made worse by utterly inept policing:
Marcus DiPaola, a freelance photographer following the Trump campaign, posted video of someone getting punched violently in the face....

DiPaola said he called 911 but was put on hold and so hung up. He said he told one police officer about the beating but was told SJPD “didn’t have the man power” to intervene.

“Morons,” he said. “How do you not staff 911 for an event of this size?”

DiPaola wasn’t the only journalist to condemn the cops’ handling of the protest....

But if crowds get out of control where Trump goes, doesn't that make him seem less like a can-do macho man? How can he stand up to ISIS if he can't control a few thugs outside his own rallies?

And Trump's temperament makes it a lot harder for him to use violent protesters as foils than it was for "law and order" Republicans of the past. Richard Nixon had a criminal soul, but he exuded an air of moral rectitude. He came off as self-denying, not self-indulgent. His message to voters was, in effect, You and I, we get up in the morning, go to work, and try to do the right thing, and here are all these snot-nosed kids running around doing whatever they damn please.

But Trump is someone we believe does whatever he damn pleases. That extends to his rallies. There's an air of license in Trump World. There's an air of license when Trump fires up Twitter, or even when he debates.

If you're a swing voter watching that from the outside, Trump seems to exude the same chaos that seen outside his rallies. So why would you trust him to keep America on an even keel?


Diane said...

If you're a swing voter, violent protesters make their OWN MOVEMENT look weak and like it can't control its own violence. Violent protesters discredit every nonviolent Bernie supporter, Hillary supporter, or Democrat in general.

We knew this back in the 1960's, which is why Civil Rights movement members policed themselves and rejected violence, and why peaceful antiwar protesters detest Bill Ayers and the Yippees to this day. It's why the MANY peaceful protesters in Ferguson were overshadowed by the few who looted and burned down buildings.

Violence by the few allows both the other side and the broad middle to comfortably reject the whole movement. And THAT is part of what happened to Hubert Humphrey.

Victor said...

I agree with what @Diane said.

First, I deplore violence.
Second, during the anti-nuke rallies in the late 70's & early 80's, I was taught how to effectively protest non-violently, by NYPIRG.

I used that training when I was an organizer for anti-war/torture/rendition protests, in NC during the late W years.

Sure, tRUMP has called on his folks use violence at his rallies, but that doesn't mean those who vehemently oppose him need to resort in kind.

Violence brings first fear from, then contempt for, the ones using it. And it also breeds sympathy for the victims.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Also agree with Diane.

Feud Turgidson said...

Two rational libs, each we can assume having at least one college or university liberal arts program degree, expelling opposing speculations on how attacks on Trump supporters must look to muddy-minded middle-mod independents.

Real answer? Same Zhhou En-Lai's in Beijing in 1972: "[English translation] Too early to say".

Diane said...

Since I am in the same approximate age group as all three remaining candidates, I hope both Bernie and Hillary will strongly denounce this kind of violence and not ignore or excuse it.

Ten Bears said...

Agents provaucateers.

And, what Diane said.

Victor Catano said...

The chairman of Hillary's campaign, John Podestra, condemned the violence.

Steve M. said...

From the Washington Post story quoted in the post:

Mike Casca, Sanders’s rapid response director, tweeted that “we cannot stop Trump’s violent rhetoric with violence -- only peaceful protest in a voting booth can do that.”

Tengrain said...

Steve - I lived in San Jose for years. I'll take the side that this was a planned provocation from the Trump campaign. There is no way that a California campaign manager could not know that this would happen when they chose San Jose for the rally. I too don't condone violence, but I understand it.

Second point I want to make about SJ Police: Chuck Reid, the previous mayor to Sam Liccardo, demonized and demoralized the SJPD (and SJFD) as money-grubbing parasites; he even sponsored a ballot initiative that cratered their retirement program to balance the city's budget rather than increase taxes. They have not been able to recruit new officers and much of the old guard retired early. It is a shoe-string operation at best.

The graduates of SJPD and SJFD academies choose not to work in the city.

That's just background info. I don't think SJPD could have done much more given their serious understaffing problem.



Diane said...

Interesting comment about the Trump campaign provoking violence, Tengrain. The same thing happened in Chicago. But unfair as it is, that again puts a burden on the peaceful protesters to try to prevent the violent ones from getting all the media attention.

Unknown said...

Violence is wrong and playing into Trump's narrative.

KenRight said...

So you believe a Clinton presidency will be peaceful?

Ten Bears said...

With the likes of you, Ken, around no, it will not.

Back on topic: you don't have to be a Peace Freak to be against War. I don't condone violence, but I don't agree it is the last resort of the incompetent. It is simply the last resort. Sadly, thanks to the US Army I am both quite familiar with it, and quite good at it.

No Ken, it isn't going to be peaceful.