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“If Trump Wins, Will There Be Blood?”: Maybe It’s Time To Take Crazy At Face Value

That question has gone conspicuously unasked as we enumerate the possible outcomes of November’s election. The potential impact on the nation’s economy, its foreign policy and its standing in the world have all been duly analyzed. But there has been little, if any, discussion of the potential for violence.

It is, of course, Donald Trump’s name on the ballot that necessitates the discussion. His rallies have erupted into brawls with depressing frequency; his followers assaulting demonstrators while he eggs them on.

And then, there’s this: Last year, two South Boston brothers — Scott and Steve Leader — were arrested after allegedly peeing in the face of a homeless, 58-year-old Mexican immigrant sleeping on a bench. They beat him with a metal pole, breaking his nose. Authorities say Scott Leader explained himself thusly: “Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported.”

Trump’s initial response was simply to note that his followers “love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” If that is the sort of “passion” a few rallies and speeches incite, how much worse would it be in the event — God help us all — of an actual Trump victory? How emboldened in their bullyboy behavior would people like the Leader brothers become with one of their own in the White House?

And that’s not even the worst-case scenario. What if the far more likely thing happens? What if Trump loses? His followers are already filled with fury and an exaggerated sense of their own victimhood and entitlement. What happens if an embarrassingly emphatic repudiation is added to that mix?

Hate crimes might be the least of our problems. The greater worry might be terrorism.

In a nation conditioned to think of terrorism as the exclusive province of Muslim fanatics with difficult names, the idea will strike some as ridiculous. But to be sanguine about the danger of radical right violence is to pretend Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff in Nevada and the armed takeover of federal property in Oregon never happened. And it is to ignore a litany of radical right terror plots enacted or interdicted in recent years.

From the Oklahoma City bombing to the Atlanta Olympics bombing to a New York state plot to murder Muslims by radiation poisoning, to a massacre at an African-American church in Charleston, to the attempted bombing of a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, to the crashing of an airplane into an IRS office in Austin to a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs to, literally, dozens more, the radical right has hardly been shy about using violence to frighten people as a means of achieving their political goals — the dictionary definition of terrorism.

Small wonder Mark Potok, editor of Intelligence Report, the magazine of the Southern Poverty Law Center, does not laugh off the possibility of violence from aggrieved supporters of Donald Trump. Radical right terror, he says, “is a worry anyway, as we go through this huge demographic transition in the United States. But the thing about Trump’s voters is that they are angry, they are riled up, and they are expecting to win.” If and when they don’t, he says, terrorism might well be their response.

It’s not as unthinkable as some of us will want to believe. Too often, as the right has descended into tribalistic incoherence, the rest of us have underestimated the crazy, baselessly reassuring ourselves that they’ll go this far, but surely no further. And too often, we’ve been wrong. Maybe it’s time to abandon baseless reassurance. Maybe it’s time to take crazy at face value.

Will there be blood? Here’s a better question:

Will you honestly be surprised if there is?

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, May 11, 2016

May 12, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Trump Supporters, Violence | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Behind Trump, The GOP Really Is Becoming The Racist Party”: It’s Time For The GOP Leaders To Make It Clear Where They Stand

Let me offer some friendly advice to the Republican Party that I learned firsthand as a Muslim American: You don’t want to be defined by your most extreme members. And here’s a little more advice. The longer the GOP leadership remains silent as Donald Trump garners increasing support from white supremacist organizations, the more likely the GOP will become known as the party of racists.

I know, some of my progressive friends will say that’s already the case. But that’s not fair. Sure, there are racists drawn to the GOP, just like we have seen psychopaths attracted to Islam. I’m sure not all Republicans are racists and I bet some are even disgusted by bigotry.

We are, however, seeing a bone-chilling attraction to Trump by white nationalist groups. It’s almost like they view Trump’s candidacy as their last stand against the changing demographics of America. He’s become the poster child for their philosophy that “White Lives Matter More.”

For example, just last week David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux, publicly praised Trump as the best Republican candidate in the 2016 field because he “understands the real sentiment of America.” Duke applauded Trump’s views on immigration that call for mass deportation of families, saying that Trump is ”speaking out on this greatest immediate threat to the American people.”

Trump’s tepid response to Duke’s glowing praise was troubling to say the least: “I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement. I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.” When pressed by a reporter to repudiate Duke, Trump responded, “Sure, I would if that would make you feel better.”

As the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok explained Saturday on my SiriusXM radio show, this response by Trump was “incredibly weak,” noting that Trump “barely repudiated” Duke. Potok explained that as opposed to Trump saying I’ll condemn Duke if it will “make you feel better,” he should’ve made it unequivocally clear he finds Duke’s views despicable and doesn’t want Duke or his white supremacist followers’ support in any way.

In fact, in 2000, when Trump was considering running for president with a new political organization called the Reform Party, the billionaire publicly stated he wanted nothing to do with the party after he learned that Duke was a part of it. But now, with Trump actually running for president, he’s far less vocal in denouncing Duke.

Duke, however, is far from the only person tied to white supremacist or hate groups publicly endorsing Trump. Last week, white nationalist radio host James Edwards, a man who has warned against interracial marriage, called slavery “the greatest thing that ever happened to” blacks, and featured a “roster of white supremacists” on his show, publicly endorsed Trump.

Trump has also been touted by neo-Nazi websites such as The Daily Stormer with articles like, “We are all Donald Trump Now.” And as Media Matters set forth in detail a few days ago, the list of white nationalist leaders supporting Trump is alarmingly long.

The issue is not just that these hate groups see something they like in Trump. These groups have the right to endorse anyone they like. The more alarming issue is Trump’s failure to publicly to condemn them.

Since Trump is not willing to make it clear he wants nothing to do with these hate groups or their followers, it’s time for the GOP leadership to step up and do just that. Trump is currently far and away the leader in the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Consequently, his actions will increasingly define the Republican Party. And the longer the GOP leaders remain silent, the more likely the Republican Party will be defined by the white supremacist groups publicly endorsing Trump.

Luckily, the GOP is in a far better position than Muslim Americans to denounce its extremists. In our case, we are a small minority group with very limited media contacts. Getting the message out that we despise terrorists like ISIS and al Qaeda has been challenging to say the least despite our best efforts to do just that.

In contrast, the GOP has extensive media connections. In fact, the No. 1 cable news network, Fox News, showcases the party’s leaders on a daily basis. It won’t take much for the Republican leaders to get the media to cover their condemnation of the white nationalist and neo-Nazis supporting Trump.

For example, look what happened last year when we learned that the third-highest ranking member of the House Republican leadership, Steve Scalise, had given a speech to a white supremacist group in 2002 when running for office. House Speaker John Boehner simply issued a press release noting that he stood with Scalise because Scalise had acknowledged his actions were “wrong and inappropriate.” That press release was covered by media outlets nationwide.

Now just imagine the media coverage if RNC chair Reince Priebus held a press conference, along with some of the GOP leadership in the House and Senate, to denounce the white nationalist groups supporting Trump. It would make headlines nationwide and send a clear message to all.

Isn’t it time for the GOP leaders to make it clear where they stand on white supremacists supporting their party’s front-runner for the presidential nomination? I, for one, very much look forward to hearing what they have to say on this issue.

 

By: Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, August 31, 2015

September 8, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP, White Supremacists | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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