There has been much dissembling going on about heavy-handedness at recent Donald Trumpcampaign events. A black man is punched and choked by several Trump supporters at a rally last Saturday in Alabama, and then kicked as he fell to the ground to shouts of “Go home, nigger!” and “monkey!” Well, the guy was a local activist and should have known better. What was a black man doing at a Trump rally in the first place? Serves him right, right?
Let’s rewind to October 2008 and a John McCain campaign rally in New Mexico.
“Who is the real Barack Obama?” asks McCain.
The crowd cheers. McCain remains silent.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin, addressing supporters at a rally in Clearwater, Florida as reporters are herded away from the audience by campaign workers, says that:
“I was reading my copy of The New York Times the other day.”
The crowd boos.
“I knew you guys would react that way, okay. So I was reading The New York Times and I was really interested to read about Barack’s friends from Chicago.”
“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers.”
Still more boos.
“And, according to The New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol.”
Booing continues, accented by the shout of a man in the audience:
The crowd cheers. Palin remains silent.
Trump’s response to the incident at the Birmingham rally? He suggested that the protester was “obnoxious” and “should have been roughed up” as a result.
Trump relishes taunting his opponents. After several protesters interrupted an October rally in Miami, he warned that would respond forcefully to the next interruption.
“See the first group, I was nice. ‘Oh, take your time,'” he said. “The second group, I was pretty nice. The third group, I’ll be a little more violent. And the fourth group, I’ll say, ‘Get the hell out of here!'”
Moving beyond the obvious — that kind of this shit didn’t happen at Barack Obama rallies and isn’t happening at Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders rallies — might it be suggested that this is not merely lowering the bar. That Trump, like McCain and Palin before him, is pandering to the basest instincts of the lynch mob. And that Trump is not a guy who happens to play a fascist on TV. He is one.
There having been too many permutations of the Donald Trump Phenomenon to count at this point.
To name just a few, his campaign was about to unravel as his competitors piled on (August 9), too few voters favor him (August 15), the only question is not whether he will fail, but when (September 11), it will become increasingly difficult for him to continue running a mouth-driven campaign (September 23), a seamy past littered with financial chicanery will catch up to him (September 30), Mitt Romney will rush in and save the day (October 7 and again on October 20), and he will collapse under the weight of his own arrogance (November 20).
None of this has happened, of course, and that is especially concerning to a noxious senator from Texas.
Ted Cruz has gone out of his way to not criticize Trump for his myriad over-the-top utterances and nutter theories, let alone return his insults, which Jeb Bush found to his chagrin was a no-win situation. This seemingly clever strategy is predicated on the notion that Cruz “is a firm believer in the as-yet-unobserved Trump inflection point, and he wants to scoop up the leavings of Trump 2016 when the theoretical collapse occurs,” as Simon Maloy puts it in Salon.
But it looks like Cruz may have miscalculated as people (myself included) begin to take seriously the idea of Trump winning the Republican nomination. Cruz’s problem is compounded because he can’t very well start attacking Trump because of the extent to which he’s defended him. Having given him a pass on something controversial like creating a national Muslim registry, how can henow criticize him for that?
It would be a beautiful thing if it wasn’t so ugly.
THOSE WHO CANNOT REMEMBER THE PAST . . .
Today’s history lesson is brought to you without comment by The History Place via Will Bunch atAttytood:
“Adolf Hitler and the Nazis waged a modern whirlwind campaign in 1930 unlike anything ever seen in Germany. Hitler traveled the country delivering dozens of major speeches, attending meetings, shaking hands, signing autographs, posing for pictures, and even kissing babies. . . .
“Hitler offered something to everyone: work to the unemployed; prosperity to failed business people; profits to industry; expansion to the Army; social harmony and an end of class distinctions to idealistic young students; and restoration of German glory to those in despair. He promised to bring order amid chaos; a feeling of unity to all and the chance to belong. He would make Germany strong again; end payment of war reparations to the Allies; tear up the treaty of Versailles; stamp out corruption; keep down Marxism; and deal harshly with the Jews.”
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on November 8, 2015, on Kiko’s House, a website featuring commentary by journalist and author, Shaun Mullen. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Mullen.