I’ve reached a breaking point with those who continue to defend Donald Trump’s endless brutishness.
If you went back in time a year, and asked Trump supporters if they would ever vote for a man who made fun of POWs, mocked the physically handicapped, compared another candidate to a child molester, and shifted positions as frequently as a fat guy in a church pew, they would have likely said “No.”
How did we get here? How did we get to a place where Trump’s rhetoric and behavior is not only accepted, but emulated?
Donald Trump is a master manipulator. He came on the scene as a single issue candidate, with no other discernible positions. This was a necessity, because it allowed voters to fill in the rest with their own magic markers; the needs and ideas of millions of voters built Donald Trump from scratch. That’s why attributing any coherent policy position to the man is like trying to nail jello to a wall. His deliberately ambiguous and transitory rhetoric acts as a sort of scaffolding upon which anything can be built. This is a dangerous thing when you have an incredibly angry electorate.
When you pour yourself into an empty vessel, that vessel becomes personally linked to you. It harbors your needs, wants, and ideals in a way that nothing else can. Ultimately, what people see in Trump is their own reflection. When you see yourself in such a candidate, you’re much more likely to justify, defend, and even emulate their behavior–no matter how deplorable.
Given this, it comes as no surprise that we’re beginning to see violence at Trump rallies. Donald himself has made numerous comments passively or directly condoning violence against those who defy him.
Iowa, February 1
Trump told his supporters to “knock the crap” out of any tomato-tossing protestors, and that he’d pay the legal fees for those who did:
Nevada, February 22
When a protester was being disruptive, Trump said:
“I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks. It’s true…I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”
Missouri, March 11
Trump told a crowd:
“Part of the problem, and part of the reason it takes so long is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore. Right? And they’re being politically correct the way they take them out. So it takes a little bit longer. And honestly, protesters, they realize it–they realize that there are no consequences to protesting anymore. There used to be consequences. There are none anymore.”
I should also mention the thuggery inside the Trump campaign. Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, is facing charges for allegedly man-handling Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields to the point that he bruised her arm.
The Trump campaign denied the allegation at first, and Trump himself even suggested Fields made it up. Fortunately, a transcript, audiotape, and video footage of the event emerged all backing up Fields’ story.
There’s a reason you don’t see the same violence at Ted Cruz , Marco Rubio , or John Kasich rallies. Those candidates aren’t empty vessels directed by the fury of the mob. They’re fully-formed candidates, and they don’t encourage such conduct.
Ted Cruz had the perfect response to the low-life antics taking place at Trump gatherings:
“…tonight, as violence broke out, the rally was canceled all together. Now, the responsibility for that lies with protesters who took violence into their own hands. But in any campaign responsibility starts at the top. Any candidate who is responsible for the culture of the campaign. And when you have a campaign that disrespects the voters, when you have a campaign that affirmatively encourages violence, when you have a campaign that is facing allegations of physical violence against members of the press, you create an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discourse.”
Donald Trump has created a culture of violence in his campaign. His behavior is being emulated by his acolytes. Of course, Trump repeatedly denies that his rhetoric has a negative influence his followers. But it’s like in the mob, when the Mafia don makes a proclamation–never explicitly ordering anything–but his underlings hear the order anyway, and do what the don wants. It’s because of the environment Trump has created, and in which Trump operates, that he can get away with saying whatever he wants, and then claim innocence.
Trump is a don; he’s the leader of a group of people, some of whom take his words to heart and act on them, even when he doesn’t explicitly tell them to. In other words, to quote the great Ben Shapiro, Trump’s a thug.
Cue the enraged Trump supporters in 3…2…1