Take one nominally Republican presidential candidate—your choice whether it is the candidate or the Republican Party itself which is the nominal—have him trample the sacred shibboleths of everyone in sight—deeply held principles to you—while at the same time invoking these same principles in others and you get Chicago.
“A Donald Trump rally in Chicago was called off Friday after protests and clashes erupted even before the controversial candidate took the stage,” reported MSNBC. The Left was manifestly jubilant: they had shut down the blasphemer.
Some in the crowd were heard yelling “We did it! We did it!” after the rally was called off for the evening. There were clashes inside the venue and a large group was seen fighting outside…
Trump told MSNBC in a telephone interview Friday evening, “I just don’t want to see people hurt … We can come back and do it another time.” He said he felt the decision was “the right thing to do under the circumstances.”
Even people from his party could not help but feel Trump had it coming; that the tenor of his rallies would inevitably bring a clash.
“I think a campaign bears responsibility for creating an environment, when the candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence to punch people in the face,” Sen. Ted Cruz said, speaking to reporters at Rolling Meadows, Illinois. “The predictable consequence of that is that it escalates. And today is unlikely to be the last such instance…That’s not how our politics should occur.
Sen. Marco Rubio argued it’s Trump’s rhetoric that is inciting violence at his events. “I should point out there isn’t violence at my events,” Rubio said. “There isn’t violence at Ted’s events. There isn’t violence at a Kasich event. There isn’t violence at a Clinton event.”
“There is only one presidential candidate who has violence at their events. And I do think Donald needs to realize and take responsibility for the fact that some of the rhetoric he has used could be contributing to this environment that is growing increasingly disturbing for a number of Americans,” Rubio told ABC News at a media availability in Naples, Florida.
Hillary Clinton decried the “divisive rhetoric,” citing the case of an “evil man” who walked into a church and killed 9 people as an example of provocation. Yet others saw Trump as paying the Left back in their own coin of transgressiveness and forgave him on that account. “Anyone else notice the Mexican flags being waved by the anti-Trump Chicago mob?” Ann Coulter tweeted. The argument that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is very persuasive and once convinced even Winston Churchill to declare “if Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” Hitler and Hell. What about Trump and Chicago?
Still, it is doubtful the Left has actually shut The Donald down. They’ve most likely supercharged him. Saul Alinsky taught his disciples that confrontation — of precisely the kind that just transpired in Chicago — radicalized people far more efficiently than speeches, and exhorted organizers to seek every opportunity, not to “get along”, but to let it all hang out. By that standard the Trump supporters have been given a master class in radicalization. Because the rally has merely been postponed or relocated, it’s better than even odds that tonight’s fireworks will attract as many people for the rematch as it repels.
“If you build it, they will come,” goes the line in the movie Field of Dreams. In this case, who built what keeps ’em coming. President Obama recently told CBS that he didn’t create Donald Trump and assigned the blame to the Republican Party. But then he also said he didn’t cause the “s**t show” in Libya or Syria: David Cameron did.
The plain fact is that something keeps them coming. To the last rally and probably to the next rally. It may be that not even Trump himself packs them in, but something beyond himself which he for whatever reason channels.
Listen to my freewheeling interview with William Campbell in Challenging Opinions.
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