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“Trump Doesn’t Really Mean It About The Riots?”: The Aftermath Is Sure To Be Messy If Trump Is Denied

Well, you can relax. It turns out that when Donald Trump said there would be riots in Cleveland if he is denied the nomination, he was only speaking figuratively. So says the Republican National Committee’s chief strategist and spokesman, Sean Spicer:

“Well first of all, I assume he’s speaking figuratively,” Sean Spicer, the RNC’s chief strategist and spokesman, told CNN. “I think if we go into a convention, whoever gets 1,237 delegates becomes the nominee. It’s plain and simple.”

CNN host Carol Costello pushed back, remarking that she did not think Trump was speaking figuratively when he told the network’s morning show that in the event he comes up short of the nomination, “I think you’d have riots. I think you’d have riots.”

Spicer disputed the assessment, remarking, “It’s the left, and the people on the left that have disrupted events are trying to go in and undermine people’s First Amendment rights,” a possible allusion to protesters supporting Bernie Sanders who forced the cancellation of Trump’s rally in Chicago last Friday.

Given the definition of figuratively, we have to assume that Spicer doesn’t believe Trump meant it when he said that there would be riots. Maybe he thinks whatever fisticuffs occur among foaming-mad delegates won’t rise to the level where the term “riot” would “literally” apply.

If Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot, the question will be whether the riot occurs right then and there in an effort to intimidate those intriguing against him, or if the riot only breaks out after Trump has been outmaneuvered and sidelined.

I’m pretty sure that it will prove impossible to have a “plain and simple” second ballot vote, but the aftermath is sure to be messy if Trump is denied. Will Trump’s delegates file peacefully out of the convention hall in protest? Will Trump take to the podium and promise to pay their legal fees if they assault opposing delegates?

It’s not going to be orderly. I’m sure of that.


By: Martin Longman, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, March 16, 2015

March 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Republican National Committee | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Trump’s Brand Is Chaos”: Riots-R-Us, Straight Out Of The WWE “Wrestlemania” Playbook

It’s not for nothing that Donald J. Trump was inducted into the professional wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013. The billionaire braggart’s entire presidential campaign is straight out of the WWE “Wrestlemania” playbook—all preposterous boasts, racialized taunts and simulated mayhem that threatens to turn into the real thing. And wouldn’t TV news networks just love it?

Back last summer, when this column first took note of his uncanny impersonation of 1950s charismatic bleach-blonde bad guy Dr. Jerry Graham (“I have the body that men fear and women adore”) I was unaware of Trump’s enshrinement. Having outgrown pro-wrestling after eighth-grade, I’d never witnessed the 2007 “Battle of the Billionaires” between Trump and WWE impresario Vincent McMahon.

Anyway, if you want a laugh, Google the fool thing. Sure, it’s several minutes of your life you’ll never get back, but watching Trump posing, preening and throwing what a Rolling Stone reporter accurately characterized as “some of the worst punches in wrestling history” might wise you up to the game.

Alternatively, you could be a chump and show up at one of his campaign events to scream insults at some similarly deluded fool, or even get cold-cocked by a 78 year-old patriot and watch it being broadcast in an endless loop by CNN.

“I’d like to punch him in the face,” Trump said of a protestor at an earlier event, one of several similar incitements.

Yeah, well, the guy would probably survive.

For all The Donald’s penchant for sleeping with friends’ wives and bragging about it (Chapter 11, “The Art of the Deal”) I doubt he’s had much pugilistic experience. Very few guys with full-time butlers also have educated left-hooks. Surrounded by bodyguards most of his life, Trump appears to enjoy watching them bully people. But could things get out of hand as the campaign proceeds? Sure they could. This is the USA. Riots-R-Us. Scaring people into supporting a strongman is Trump’s only real hope of running this scam all the way to the White House.

“For the Manhattan billionaire,” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough commented in the Washington Post, “manufactured chaos is just as profitable for his brand as Paris Hilton’s sex tape was for hers.”

Never mind that Scarborough and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski until quite recently fawned over Trump almost daily. He followed former Obama White House chief of staff (and son of Chicago Mayor-for-Life Richard J. Daley) in suggesting that the candidate scheduled a campaign event on the inner-city University of Illinois-Chicago campus precisely “for the purpose of provoking protests that would energize Trump’s own supporters.”

Let’s you and him fight. Worked perfectly too. Does it matter that the students who boasted of their ability to shut the Trump rally down are Bernie Sanders supporters? No, but it figures.

As Scarborough also correctly observed, they’re political naïfs who got played, giving Trump a fine opportunity to whine “on cable news channels about how his First Amendment rights were being violated. He was doing all of this while reaching a far larger audience than he could have ever done while actually speaking at a rally.”

Sanders would do well to emphasize to supporters his own reverence for free speech rights, which I do not doubt. Why give the bully a chance to play at being the REAL victim?

On his Esquire Politics blog, my man Charles P. Pierce addressed the issue with characteristic understatement: “let’s all stipulate that chanting for Bernie Sanders while you’re shutting down a Trump rally is just about as stupid a political move as there is.”

You want to protest? Fine. Pierce suggested setting up picket lines outside the arena. “Stop being played for such suckers. Stop enlisting yourself in his bloody vaudeville.”

Meanwhile, let’s remain calm, shall we? This is nothing close to 1968, that annus horribilis in American life. No Vietnam War, with its hundreds of conscripted dead every week. No cities in flames, and prayerfully nothing like the Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy assassinations that broke the nation’s heart.

A handful of hotheads at Trump rallies shouldn’t blind us to the fact, as President Obama recently pointed out, that the angriest people in America are those without a clue about what’s actually going on.

Asked if he bore responsibility for the nation’s “incredibly polarized political climate,” Obama was scathing.

“I have been blamed by Republicans for a lot of things,” he said “but being blamed for their primaries and who they’re selecting for their party is novel.”

“Think about it: if somebody told you seven years ago we’d have 4.9% unemployment, 20 million newly insured, gas is $1.80, deficits cut by three-quarters, marriage equality a reality, bin Laden out of the picture, Wall Street reform in place you wouldn’t have believed me….Imagine what Trump would say if he actually had a record like this—instead of selling steaks.”

And shadow-boxing with college kids.


By: Gene Lyons, The National Memo, March 16, 2016

March 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Protestors, Trump Supporters | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Riots And Results”: The Next Time A Suspect Dies, People In The Community May Now Be More Likely To Take To The Streets

Yesterday, I wrote about how the explanation Baltimore police gave for the death of Freddie Gray was almost impossible to believe, and apparently, state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby felt the same way after her investigation, because she announced today that she is charging six officers with crimes ranging from negligence to second-degree murder (you can watch her statement here). In a post at the Plum Line this morning, I raised the question of whether you could argue that the violence that occurred in Baltimore on Monday led to this prosecution and therefore produced some of the accountability people in Baltimore want so desperately. Here’s a piece of that post:

The violence led to a huge increase in media attention, and even if much of that coverage was sensationalistic, there was also a lot of attention paid to the substantive issues involved. Those included the Baltimore police’s record in dealing with the public generally, and in particular the use of “rough rides” as a method of abusing suspects, which is a likely explanation for how Freddie Gray came to have his spine broken in the back of a police van.

All that national attention put every public official under pressure to not only bring calm but also to confront the issues that have the people of Baltimore so angry: The police commissioner, the mayor, the governor, and yes, the state’s attorney. While every official would like to believe that he or she would make all the same decisions regardless of whether there are people chanting in the streets and news cameras parked outside their office, they can’t possibly be immune.

I have to confess I’m not completely sure what the answer to the basic question is. I’m not at all comfortable endorsing violence as a political tactic, particularly since it not only claims innocent victims, it also tends to be less effective than nonviolent protest over the long run. But there’s no question that Monday’s rioting instantly made Baltimore and Freddie Gray a national issue.

On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that if the nonviolent protests had simply continued and grown, there would still have been a prosecution. Though I know very little about Mosby, she doesn’t seem like she’s being forced into this against her will. One important question is how the rest of the Baltimore officials who are also under a microscope respond. What kind of police reforms are they going to initiate, and how effective will they be? We probably won’t know the answers until long after the national media’s attention has shifted elsewhere.

There’s also the question of whether the events in Baltimore, including this prosecution, have any impact on what happens in police departments around the country, with regard to both police abuse and accountability for it. Suspects die in police custody all the time, after all, and prosecutions are pretty rare. Changing both of those things will take a long time, but the next time a suspect dies, the people in the community where it happened may now be more likely to take the streets, and the prosecutors are going to be asked why they aren’t issuing an indictment like the prosecutor in Baltimore did.


By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect, May 1, 2015

May 2, 2015 Posted by | Baltimore, Baltimore Police Dept, Police Brutality | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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