American political violence takes a sinister turn

By Matthew Elliott Monday, 14 March 2016 10:34 0
Donald Trump. Donald Trump. © Joseph Sohm via Shutterstock

A PATHOLOGICAL liar and a racial arsonist were among the charges levelled against Donald Trump by the two Democratic Party hopefuls vying for their party’s nomination after violent clashes erupted at the Republican frontrunner’s rallies across the weekend. 

In Chicago a scheduled rally was cancelled over security fears but there was still violence on the streets as Trump supporters fought with protesters in the windy city and across other mid-western states including Missouri where 2015 saw racial protests reminiscent of the civil rights era. 

Trump has sparked a curious mixture of amusement, contempt, outrage, hope and fear with his snowballing presidential campaign. A series of statements concerning immigration and foreign policy combined with an audacious attempt to foment an undercurrent of populist nationalism has gone from raising eyebrows to seeing public letters issued by senior military figures warning that he is the number one security threat to the United States. 

The weekend’s violence has been laid squarely at the door of the renowned attention-seeker who inherited millions from his father, a New York real estate tycoon. His escalated rhetoric has seen him suggest that protestors would have been beaten in the olden days, pledging to pay the legal fees of anyone attacking disrupters at his rallies, and claiming America needs to toughen up. 

Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, who has ignited his own insurgency in the Democratic party, said “That is an outrage, and I would hope that Mr Trump tones it down big time, and tells his supporters that violence is not acceptable in the American political process.”

Hilary Clinton, who in essence represents the very establishment that Trump and Sanders are making their name denouncing, said “What Trump has done is a case of political arson,

“He has set the fire and then he throws up his hands up and claims that he shouldn’t be held responsible.”

This week will see Republican primaries in Florida, Illinois, and Ohio and could see the cementing of a Trump Republican candidacy should he win all three. 

His campaign has remarkably transformed American presidential politics into even more of a circus but has stirred genuine fears that his words, far from being as ignorant as they seem, as part of a Machiavellian ploy to incite passion and encourage voting among the dissatisfied white working class. 

Should Trump emerge as the Republican nominee you can expect the worst political violence seen in the US since at least the 1968 Democratic convention. 

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