Los Angeles, CA (TFC) – On Friday, Donald Trump had planned to hold a rally in Chicago at the University of Illinois. However, since this campus tends to lean Democratic, thousands of protesters showed up to demonstrate against Trump’s rally. Many of these protesters were able to actually enter the venue and constituted a large proportion of those who attended the rally. Donald Trump then postponed the rally, citing “security concerns.” However, soon afterwards, clashes broke out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters and police were forced to clear the venue. The cancellation of the rally constituted a political victory for the anti-Trump protesters. However, the aftermath of this fiasco raises the prospect for further violence at political rallies during this election season.
Violence at Trump’s political rallies has become a prevalent topic in the presidential race as it has become a normal occurrence. Trump has defended the violence at his rallies by blaming it on the protesters. At the CNN GOP debate which took place the day before his Chicago rally, Donald Trump, despite his prevalent use of hate speech and offers to pay for the legal fees of those who attack protesters, denied that he was inciting violence. To add insult to injury, he claimed that “We have some protesters who are bad dudes. They’ve done bad things.” To a reasonable person, this defense of the violence at his rallies could be interpreted as victim blaming.
The day after Trump made these statements, violence broke out at his rally once again. After hundreds of protesters showed up at his rally in Chicago, Donald Trump postponed the rally. Trump claimed that the police advised him to cancel the event because they were concerned about the security situation and the potential for violence at the venue. However, the police have denied this, claiming that they never asked Trump to cancel the rally. In light of this revelation, it would appear that the real reason that Trump canceled the rally was because he was afraid to address a crowd where large portions of it would be openly hostile to him.
The Chicago rally fiasco marked a defeat for Trump, who had to cancel his rally in the face of popular opposition and civil disobedience. However, the clashes that broke out after the cancellation of the rally have given him a chance to sabotage other candidates and wreak havoc throughout the rest of the presidential election. Since some of the protesters were Bernie Sanders supporters, Trump is now blaming Bernie Sanders for sending people to protest at his rallies and is threatening to send his own supporters to disrupt Bernie’s events. Given the inflammatory nature of many of Trump’s supporters, it is clear that Trump’s intent is to provoke violence at Bernie’s rallies.
Trump’s incitement of violence clearly demonstrates that the campaign of civil disobedience that is being waged against him is working. He clearly fears that civil disobedience will discredit him and his only recourse is to incite violence. It is very clear that Trump is trying to set a trap for those who oppose him. If Trump supporters were to succeed at provoking violence at the political rallies of their opponents, then it would allow Trump to diffuse blame for violence at his political rallies. Since he has claimed that those who oppose him are violent people, any violence against his supporters would confirm his narrative and discredit those in the anti-Trump camp. Thus, it is vital that those who oppose Trump refrain from using violence against his supporters.
Although those who oppose Trump are generally reasonable people, the racist, incendiary, and threatening tactics that Trump agitators would invariably use, could easily provoke violence. Thus, it is vital that all anti-Trump activists show restraint and refrain from using violence except in cases of self-defense from physical attack. As I have previously written, the use of violence against fascists is unlikely to work and will only help their cause. As a result, we have a responsibility to use non-violence to undermine and derail Trump’s disgusting presidential campaign.