Trump threatens Sanders with mob violence

Over the weekend, Donald Trump’s campaign got so far out of hand that both Jonathan Chait and Matt Yglesias — who had previously been Trump apologists encouraged by his platform’s divergence from GOP orthodoxy — came around and admitted that Benito Orangini’s success is at this point terrifying.

Following a series of protests, including one in which thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters (without direction from the Sanders campaign — that will matter in a second) shut down an entire event in Chicago, Trump said that he would seek to press charges against protestors removed from his rallies, and reiterated his suggestion that he would pay the legal and/or medical bills of supporters involved in violent altercations on his behalf. Somewhere in the middle of it all, Trump also tweeted out a hoax video claiming that a protestor who attempted to rush the stage at a rally in Kansas City had ties to ISIS.

And then on Sunday morning, Trump posted this:

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Given the context — Trump linking protestors to both ISIS and the Sanders campaign; Trump promising to cover his supporters’ risk; Trump’s supporters having already been shown to be more than willing to commit acts of violence in crowds — it’s really hard to see this as anything less than a threat to Bernie Sanders’s physical safety. He has created a narrative in which his supporters don’t have to do very much work to tie Sanders to ISIS itself, and at he’s about half a tweet away from pointing at Sanders and saying “git ’em.”

That’s horrifying.

As I wrote last month, the uniquely dangerous thing about Donald Trump isn’t his immigration policy or his tax plan or his stances on the Middle East. As Chait and Yglesias have argued persuasively, to the extent that he has policy positions, they are equally or in some cases less dangerous than those of his opponents. What makes Trump different is his complete indifference to democratic norms concerning press freedom, legitimacy of opposition, use of force and rule of law. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio may think that LGBT people are sinful and that we need to go to war with Russia, Iran and Syria all at the same time, but journalists can cover them and protestors can protest them without fearing for their lives. That isn’t true of Trump, who seems delighted by all of this.

Trump’s undermining of democratic norms is nothing new, but it’s escalated of late. His campaign is now able to look at video evidence of its campaign manager physically assaulting a member of the (conservative!) press and “call bullshit.” Trump has repeatedly linked violent outbursts on his behalf to love of country, and recently responded to requests to condemn that violence by emphatically endorsing it while claiming it isn’t his fault. Lots of observers assumed that as Trump got closer to locking up the Republican nomination, he’d pivot away from his vaguely reactionary platform and start pitching himself as a less-than-crazy negotiator for the general election. He has done the opposite.

Donald Trump just threatened to send an angry mob of (let’s be honest, probably armed) “patriots” to retaliate against the candidate he’s taken to describing as “our communist friend.” Lovely. I can’t imagine what could go wrong.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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17 Responses to “Trump threatens Sanders with mob violence”

  1. cambridgemac says:

    thank god someone remembers all this besides me. And you left out the part about the current President claiming he can legally assassinate Americans, just like the previous Pres.

  2. cambridgemac says:

    Get some glasses, dear. You won’t see violence on the part of the protestors. As usual, it’s the white racists.

  3. Texon says:

    Donald is nothing more than a very good salesman. He sells his crowds whatever they want to buy into. He seeks their adoration and thinks he can become our president. But come November the voters will not buy Trump. By then the public will see him for al he really is, a salesman who spent his entire life selling his name.

  4. pcbegone says:

    Isn’t “mob violence” what we saw from liberals at the Trump event in Chicago? Or is that just “protesting.” When conservatives do it it is “mob violence”, right? Got it snowflake.

  5. The_Fixer says:

    As upside-down as this whole campaign has been, all one can do is make an educated guess. I hope my guess is right, too. Not because I like being right, but because Trump would damage the country nearly irreparably, and the consequences would be with us for a very long time.

  6. BeccaM says:

    I hope you’re right. As ugly as many previous elections have been, I haven’t seen one this bad my entire adult life.

  7. The_Fixer says:

    It’s been brought up a lot lately, but the old Sinclair Lewis quote “When fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross” is apropos here.

    Drumpfo der Clown certainly has wrapped himself in the flag. However, there is not much of a cross that he carries (just grudges).

    This is why I don’t think he’ll be President. He doesn’t have much of an evangelical backing. I suspect that a lot of them will stay home if they don’t get the opportunity to vote for Cruz. It’s a classic split of the vote, one that in the past, Republicans have overcome their internacine divisions to (mostly) solidly back a candidate. I don’t see that happening here.

    However, the overall point of the article stands; Drumpfo der Clown is a crazy clown and he simply should not even be in the mix, what with his not-so-veiled threat.

  8. Phil in FLL says:

    I truly loath Trump’s continual use of the threatening phrase “be careful.” In defense of Bernie, he did not get on Twitter and egg on his supporters to perpetrate violence at Trump’s rallies, but that is exactly what Trump is doing to Bernie and his supporters with Trump’s recent tweet. If anyone needs to “be careful,” it’s Trump. If The Donald goes too far, local authorities could justifiably charge him with incitement to violence or riot. Trump is the one who needs to be careful.

  9. 2karmanot says:

    The SS protects the Dtrumpfenfuhrer and the Donaldshirts attack protesters.

  10. 2karmanot says:

    After reading Guy Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’ I concluded long ago that Godwin’s Rule was an academic fraud, a moot distortion of polarized propaganda.

  11. 2karmanot says:

    “Benito Orangini” ROTFL I just love it when you talk like that Jon!

  12. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Godwin served a purpose when Fascist was merely a epithet to throw at a person whose political ideology did not match your own. Cry wolf enough times, and all. But now, we have a real, honest to goodness Fascist in the running. And even the Republicans recognize how bad Trump is.

  13. BeccaM says:

    Well, there were those who last summer said it was breathless hyperbole and an unwarranted violation of Godwin’s Rule to consider Donald J Trump a fascist.

    This is what fascists do. Violence — both threatened and actual — is yet another item on the checklist.

  14. Ol' Hippy says:

    I haven’t seen this much civic unrest since the 60’s/early 70’s. We are in a new civil rights era and Trump is leading and abetting the unrest in his rallies. Trump, unlike his opponents, flies in the face of convention and it’s scaring most pundits, blue and red alike. So for this cycle we will be left with two bad choices, policy as usual, per party, or something we can’t predict as he probably can’t either at this time. I do predict it will be bumpy.

  15. Rational says:

    The R’s have been ignoring and indifferent to democratic norms at least since addled ronnie raygun.
    Consider w’s “signing statements” and “unified executive” theory’s of government by fiat. Not to mention his press secretary warning people to “watch what they say”.
    poppa bush lied and perjured for 6 years about his diary’s during iran contra investigation and then used his power of pardon to remove the leverage over those who would testify against him and send him to jail. Newties use of language that demonized oppostion with words like enemy, un-American, traitorous etc. is another example and lets not forget the addled ones violation of the constition when he ignored Congress, the law and the specific constraints in the constitution to fund his illegal murder operations in Nicaragua.
    (Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 ,the Appropriations Clause, and Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 ,the Taxing and Spending Clause.)
    Or the r’s congress refusing to accept Obama’s legitimacy and abuse of filibusters and delaying tactics. Just to mention a few of their more notable uncivil and, and at best, legally questionable tactics.

    So claiming herr drumpf as anything but the logical extension of rethuglican policy is misleading.

  16. Don Chandler says:

    Heads are rolling at Breitbart because the fuhrer is taking over…not that I have much sympathy for their editorial board…they reap what they sow. But it’s just the beginning.

  17. Quilla says:

    The ultimate irony: We – the American taxpayers – are paying the Secret Service to protect this clown.

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