MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
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Donald Trump is a demagogue who is unleashing the barely restrained violence that simmers under the "grievances" of many Americans who benefit from white supremacy. About that, there is no doubt.
Trump has frequently condoned, praised and even incited physical attacks on protesters at his rallies. The Guardian US reports on a weekend appearance in Nevada, in which Trump continued to ratchet up his incitement of mob rage. A heckler interrupted Trump, and the frontrunner for the GOP nomination responded with direct references to violence:
"You know what they used to do with guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks," [Trump] said.
Noting the protester was smiling as he was escorted out, Trump quipped: "I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell you that." It was a remarkable comment from a presidential candidate who appears to be building a momentum that could soon be unstoppable
In a nation awash in violence - particularly gun violence - in which predominantly white males engage in mass and domestic shootings, Trump is providing an authoritative license for resentful white men to act violently. Just replace "I'd like to punch him in the face" with "her" instead of "him," or "them" instead of "him," or "shoot" instead of "punch." Given Trump's open racism toward non-whites, you could also place Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans or other groups that he has defamed in the context of this sentence. This is the fury that Trump is letting loose.
This is a descent into mass cruelty - the result of a combination of racism, xenophobia and white privilege, along with economic decline among many non-wealthy Americans of all races.
As a telling sign of how dangerous Trump is, even the right-wing opportunist and conspiracist Glenn Beck - who is supporting the slithering Ted Cruz (who shares a habit of lying with Trump) - is denouncing the fury that fuels Trump rallies. As CNN reports,
At a Cruz rally in Elko earlier on Monday, supporter Glenn Beck condemned those sorts of outbursts by Trump -- calling him a bully and asking rural Nevada voters to reject that kind of rhetoric.
Beck faulted Trump for threatening protesters at earlier rallies, and noted that Trump issued a threatening tweet on Monday to the Ricketts family, which has been politically active in recent cycles.
"I hear the (Ricketts) family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $'s against me. They better be careful. They have a lot to hide," Trump tweeted.
"When we have a candidate that threatens people," Beck said. "This is not American. This is not equal justice. This is not who were are."
Yes, there's hypocrisy at work on Beck's part in advocating equal justice, considering his own past cultish incitements and his support of a candidate - Ted Cruz - who is perniciously parochial in who he thinks merits rights, but nonetheless the point is accurate: Trump is an opportunistic bully stoking a bigoted narrative of the right to resort to violence if anyone disagrees with his campaign.
How do Trump's exhortations to beating protesters impact "aggrieved" wistful white privilege adherents, white supremacist, authoritarian and fringe followers among others?
Consider the call of conspiratorialist Alex Jones - according to a February 11 Media Matters for America posting - for violence against supporters of Bernie Sanders:
Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones, who is being courted by Donald Trump's presidential campaign, is smearing Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as "a dangerous, evil," man comparable to Hitler and Lenin, and falsely claiming he wants to put people in "forced relocation" camps. Jones has also launched unhinged attacks against "stupid" and "self-propelled trash" Sanders supporters, suggesting they need to have their "jaws broken" and their "moron heads" slapped.
Is Donald Trump responsible for the comments of Alex Jones? Not specifically, but Trump is providing a permissive context for such dangerous and incendiary physical threats when, for example, he declares that he would like to punch a heckler in the face.
Not to be reposted without the permission of Truthout.