Society

Blame Critics, Not Trump, For Political Violence

| by Nik Bonopartis
Donald TrumpDonald Trump

Donald Trump's opponents can't stop him the proper way -- by defeating him in the primaries -- so they've turned to hitting him below the belt.

Don't want the Republican front-runner speaking in your city? Organize a disturbance, rush the stage, make the candidate fear for his life, and get the gig canceled. If any Trump supporters misbehave, blame the candidate.

Don't like the things that Trump says? Invoke Godwin's Law, call Trump the new Adolf Hitler, and compare a not-so-well-spoken businessman to the Nazi fuhrer responsible for tens of millions of deaths.

Frustrated that Trump is likely headed toward the Republican nomination? Advocate for the disenfranchisement of millions of Republican voters, throw their votes in the garbage, and let a handful of political elites hand pick a candidate in secret over cigars and steaks.

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While Trump's opponents fling figurative feces at the real estate mogul, the irony is that Trump is running a legal campaign, accumulating delegates the way every other candidate has done en route to the nomination, while his opponents try everything -- even underhanded tactics -- to stop him.

The latest charge is that Trump is inciting violence, so he should be... what? Stopped? Thrown out of the race? Told to go home? Arrested? Trump should not be held accountable for the behavior of a handful of his supporters any more than Bernie Sanders should be held accountable for his supporters organizing raids on Trump campaign stops.

And why are there organized groups trying to pick fights with his supporters in the first place? Could it have to do with the increasingly unhinged rhetoric we hear coming from the anti-Trump quarter?

Here's Jeff Jarvis, blogger and journalism professor, advocating for a news outlet to drop its objectivity and oppose Trump: "Really, NPR, really? Yes, we don't want to seem biased regarding f*cking Hitler."

Here's CNN's Sally Kohn, a columnist who never met a position she couldn't contort, saying Trump's campaign resembles "the early moments of Adolf Hitler's rise in Germany."

Here's the usually astute and hilarious Louis CK on Trump's campaign: "It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s."

And these are the same people who blame Trump for lowering the level of discourse in American politics.

To hear Trump's critics tell it, the Republican candidate is working on growing out a little Hitlerstache, funneling his real estate profits into the construction of gas chambers, and readying a new Auschwitz on Manhattan's upper west side, right next to his luxury residential towers.

Attorney Mike Godwin, writing in the Washington Post, explained how he invented Godwin's Law: "In its original form, Godwin’s Law goes like this: 'As an online discussion continues, the probability of a reference or comparison to Hitler or Nazis approaches 1.'"

When Hitler and/or Nazis are invoked, the argument is called; rational discussion is over.

"I couldn’t help but notice how often comparisons to Hitler or Nazis came up in heated exchanges," Godwin wrote, "usually as a kind of rhetorical hammer to express rage or contempt for one’s opponent."

That rhetoric hammer has become the blunt instrument of Trump's opponents. When you compare a political candidate to one of the worst human beings in history, people will respond accordingly.

So the next time protesters storm a Trump rally and throw things at the candidate, or start fights with his supporters, people who feel the need to assign blame should look to those who make glib comparisons to humanity's most prolific murderer.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Jeff Jarvis/Twitter, CNN, USA Today / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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