Josh Marshall wrote last night:
This evening at an event in Kansas City there were numerous protest interruptions inside the rally and a chaotic scene outside in which, according to a report on MSNBC, police used pepper spray on at least one group of protestors.
What we have seen over the last two weeks isn’t just an escalation of chaos and low level violence but a progressive normalization of unacceptable behavior – more racist verbal attacks, more violence. This is in turn clearly attracting more people who want trouble – on both sides. If you’re an angry racist who wants to act out on his anger, can you imagine any better place to go than a Trump rally? If you hate Trump, his supporters and all he stands for and want to get physical about it, where best to go?
Again, this is not meant to equate the two sides. As I mentioned yesterday, Trump has repeatedly claimed that instances of crowd violence at his rallies occurred when protestors – “bad dudes” – attacked his supporters and his supporters fought back. Until the events last night in Chicago, there is no evidence that anything like this ever happened. Not once. It is all lies. It’s still not clear exactly what happened last night in Chicago. I have seen numerous reports from the event that show that the great majority of protestors were peaceful, in many cases there as families, from various political and community organizations. But clearly there were scuffles and disorderly behavior inside that both sides participated in – who started what, I have no idea. It was a qualitative advance, or descent, from what had come before it.
But let’s go back to the incident with Dimassimo, who appears to be a left wing activist affiliated with Black Lives Matter and similar groups. This is not only totally unacceptable behavior, it is also totally unhinged behavior. When you try to rush the stage when a presidential candidate with Secret Service protection is speaking, you are literally taking your life in your hands. This is the kind of crazy thinking, which even if Dimassimo didn’t intend to hurt Trump, leads to very bad outcomes. And this is from the anti-Trump side!
The climate Trump is creating at his events is one that not only disinhibits people who normally act within acceptable societal norms. He is drawing in, like moths to a flame, those who most want to act out on their animosities, drives and beliefs. It is the kind of climate where someone will eventually get killed.
I realize it sounds deeply cynical to conclude that a person getting seriously injured or killed would be used as a campaign tactic, but I’ve worked around enough political campaigns and know that they factor in worst-case scenarios such as this. It’s part of the DNA of a plan to consider potential risks/benefits to a candidate.
This is one of the reasons why the Trump story stopped being funny a long time ago.