Predictions of violence at political rallies have been a part of the scene for a while now, and on Saturday the New York Times went in to painful detail to point it out.
In foreboding conversations across the political world this past year, a bipartisan chorus warned that the 2016 presidential campaign was teetering on the edge of violence.
The anger from both sides was so raw, they concluded — from supporters of Donald J. Trump who are terrified they are losing their country and from protesters who fear he is leading the nation down a dark road of hate — that a dreaded moment was starting to look inevitable. “I don’t see where that anger goes,” the historian Heather Cox Richardson predicted a few weeks ago, “except into violence.”
This weekend it finally arrived.
Ah, yes, it only took them to the second paragraph to get to the great equivocator — both sides do it — before launching into a description of Friday night’s melee that canceled Mr. Trump’s rally in Chicago.
Despite the fact that what remains of the GOP field is laying this squarely at the feet of Mr. Trump — of course they have their motives for blaming him — it is the mantra of the media to play the objectivity card by saying that both the Democrats and the Republicans are angry and therefore the inevitable fisticuffs or worse will break out.
Now both Republican and Democratic leaders are predicting a long, grim and pugnacious phase of the presidential race.
“I’ve gotta believe it’s only gonna get worse,” said William M. Daley, the son of Chicago’s famed mayor, Richard Daley, who presided over the violent 1968 Democratic convention. “Both sides are fueling this,” he added.
The problem with that is that so far no one has reported any scuffles at a Bernie Sanders rally. Hillary Clinton hasn’t ordered her security detail to “get ’em out” when a person heckled her. And if anyone seriously thinks that somewhere in some boiler room in Brooklyn or Burlington there’s a plan to send out infiltrators to disrupt Trump’s rallies, I have a few conspiracy theories I’d like to sell them at bargain prices.
It’s always a safe retreat to blame both sides so that that reporters make it sound so objective and boil it down to a false equivalency. It makes it easier for the bullies to say “It all started when he hit me back.”