Trump Isn’t Just Expressing a View; He’s Running for President


First things first.  I agree with Glenn Reynolds 100% when he writes:

See, here’s the thing — the fact that Trump is “provocative” doesn’t excuse shutting down his rallies by force. …

… Offensive speech doesn’t justify violence. And  here’s a hint for those throwing stones: “He made me feel bad so I had to burn down his house” is the essence of fascism.

For all the truth in what he writes, Glenn is at risk of eliding the fact that Donald Trump isn’t just holding rallies to express his opinion or even to advance a particular political position.  He’s running, auditioning, for the job of President of the United States — “the leader of the free world,” as we used to say — and this turn of events was entirely foreseeable and within a large enough margin of probability that it should have affected his behavior all along.

  1. Trump indulges in rhetoric that seems to condone violence.
  2. Some among his supporters engage in violent acts — like the guy who sucker punched a peacefully departing black protester and later talked about killing him and the veteran who pushed a black girl down the aisle and later apologized — and images begin hitting the media of black protesters emerging from rallies covered in blood, even as the Internet is abuzz with the saga of a female journalist who, despite being pro-Trump, appears to have been assaulted by Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski — an incident to which Lewandowski and Trump chose to respond by denying the incident and going after the victim.
  3. This environment creates both motivation and pretense for events like the violent clash witnessed at a Trump rally last night in Chicago, which the candidate canceled out of security concerns.

Again, the creation of pretense does not mean the astroturf progressive agitators were justified in shutting down the rally, but this is why prominent people, especially those with followings and who purport to be leaders, shouldn’t play coy with hints of violence.

Such developments are critical for us to consider as voters decide whether to elect Donald Trump as president.  For illustration, look no farther than Reynolds’s very next post, which links to an American Interest post about fallout from President Obama’s loose rhetoric in an interview with The Atlantic, during which Obama defended his own terrible record by “dissing major world leaders and close allies.”

As the American Interest post concludes:  “This would be somewhat explicable in the rookie year of a presidency, but it’s very hard to understand in the final year of an Administration.”  We don’t have to blame Donald Trump for the inappropriate actions of his left-wing opposition in order to observe that he would start his own first year as president with a huge deficit in the very same area.

In short, the episode is one more example of how following a disastrous Obama presidency with a Trump presidency would put an exponent on the disaster.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    the saga of a female journalist
    To put a name to the Journalist, Michelle Fields. By way of review, she has several times made claims of sexual assault, then refused to back the allegations. She has been fired from several jobs for refusing to work. She wears high heels on the job and has previously fallen. most notably when covering “Occupy Wall Street”. Her boyfriend, Daily Caller senior editor Jamie Weinstein is a prominent supporter of Rubio. Why did she report it first to him, before contacting her superiors. Well, once again, the journalist is “the story”. Now she is being interviewed on TV.

    About Trump, he is “green” as a politician. He is still learning that the first question is to set you up, the second question is to kick you in the butt.
    I suspect that the cancellation of the rally was “political”, and that it worked.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    A few thoughts. About inciting violence, do you think the old guy at the rally was just playing “the knock out game”? Does anyone recall protests during the Reagan campaigns? Did the Reagan “hard hats” “control” it? I recall that at the last Democratic convention in Boston, they built a cage to contain the protesters. Protest was OK, but you had to stay in the cage. Of course, in protesting a convention, or candidate, you are not protesting your government. Legally and morally, it seems to me that while you remain in a public space you are a “protester”. When you enter a private venue and begin to “protest”, you are a “trespasser” and subject to violence and ejectment. My reading of history does not seem to reveal many, small scale” confrontational “protests” prior to the Democratic convention in Chicago. 1968? Are we in a “phase”. There were the “Draft Riots” in Civil War New York, they were suppressed by infantry and naval gunfire. They were clearly a protest against the government. I suppose that the “Bonus Army” was protesting the government, while relatively peaceful they were ridden down by Calvary. In the 50’s Puerto Rican “protesters” shot up the House of Representatives wounding 5-6 Congressmen. We had no trouble jailing them, or course Jimmy Carter pardoned them.
    If “protest” is criminal near an abortion clinic, why can’t we protect political rallies? I distinguish from protesting the “Government”.
    Are Trump’s demands that protesters be removed really different from Reagan’s famous demand to use the microphone because he “paid for it”?
    If it was OK to unleash the military on the citizens of New York because the “Draft Riots” were riots, not “protests”. Could someone distinguish that from Watts, or Baltimore?

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Too much time on my hands. My knowledge is sketchy, but it seems to me that one of the “Chicago Seven”, who instigated the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention, famously said “violence is as American as apple pie”. That made him a liberal folk hero. So, why is Trump a bum to liberals?