Trump’s Offensive Defense

Trump is doing the opposite of trying to calm things down.

donald-trump-microphoneThere is so much to be said about Donald Trump, his candidacy, campaign, and adherents, it is hard to know where to begin.  However, in the context of his violent rhetoric and the behavior of some of his followers at his rallies, let’s start with two stories.

One via TPM News:  Trump Claims Man Who Tried To Rush Stage Connected To ISIS

Speaking at a rally later Saturday in St. Lois, Trump told the crowd about the incident and said that, after learning the man’s name, one of his “Internet people” discovered something shocking: alleged evidence that linked Dimassimo to Islamic State militants.

“It was probably ISIS or ISIS-related. Do you believe it?” Trump asked the crowd. He said that an online search had revealed “the guy is playing all sorts of, let’s say music that you wouldn’t be liking, dragging an American flag along the sidewalk, making all sorts of gestures, having all sorts of things on the Internet. And he’s probably or possibly ISIS-related.”

The other is a video from Fox News’ FB page wherein Trump calls Bernie Sanders a “communist.” To which I will add a relevant Tweet by The Donald:

There is a lot going on here, but in simple terms it boils down to this:  linking anti-Trump protesters to America’s current big boogieman (ISIS) and to the specter of Boogiemen past (communists).  At the base of it all is falsehood:  the individual who tried to get on stage with Trump was not linked to ISIS and Bernie Sanders is not a communist.  The very way he says things “It was probably ISIS or ISIS-related” smacks of pure BS, and yet it will be taken as true by far too many.  That fact that Dimassimo is linked online to Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter means that I will not be surprised to see Trump try to link BLM to ISIS.

This is all especially disturbing because it comes in the wake of clear racially motivated violence against anti-Trump protesters at Trump rallies and amid growing attention to Trump’s own violent rhetoric.  Does Trump try to calm the situation?  No.  Instead he a) deflects blame (watch the clip linked above–how blames Bernie supporters and talks about his supporters are all “nice people”), b) he links opposition to ISIS and communism (which provides further excuses for violence), and c) makes threats.

Trump is not only doing nothing to quell the obviously problematic behavior of some of his supporters, he is actively courting it. He is currently demonstrating a severe lack of the temperament needed in a president.  Instead he is behaving with a remarkable level of irresponsibility.

Indeed, beyond trying to quell it, he is literally “look[ing] into” defending it (Trump looking into paying legal fees in sucker punch incident):

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said he is looking into paying the legal fees for the man who allegedly sucker-punched a protester last week during a Trump rally.

“I’m going to look at it. I’m going to see, you know, what was behind this, because it was a strange event. But from what I heard, there was a lot of taunting and a certain finger was placed in the air. Not nice,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes,” he said.

As a protester was being escorted out of a North Carolina rally, a 78-year-old man allegedly punched the protester in the face. The man was arrested and charged the next day with assault and disorderly conduct.

Trump said Sunday he doesn’t accept responsibility for the incident, adding he doesn’t “condone violence in any shape.”

To be honest, I am not convinced Trump has any intention of paying for the guy’s defense and it would not surprise me one iota to learn that he is lying about having his people look into such a defense.  However, there is no doubt that by going on TV and doubling-down on previous promises to pay the legal fees of supporters who get into altercations with protesters that he is encouraging further altercations.

The ever-increasing ugliness of Trump’s campaign is truly disturbing.

(And BTW, I do not condone Dimassimo’s actions:  trying to run up on stage at a political event is foolish a minimum.)

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    The man has a knack for staying in the news, I will give him that. If only somebody would challenge him on substance – maybe we need to wait for the general election for that.

  2. edmondo says:

    To be fair, it was Sen. Claire McCaskill who first implied Bernie was a Communist. Maybe she’s trying to be Trump’s running mate.

  3. Hal_10000 says:

    It’s clear that more and more Republicans are nervous about what they’ve unleashed. Rubio, over the last few days, is clearly appalled by what’s happening. I just don’t know that anything can be done at this point.

  4. An Interested Party says:

    To be fair, it was Sen. Claire McCaskill who first implied Bernie was a Communist.

    As if His Orangeness wouldn’t have made the same slur without her saying it first…

  5. Jeremy R says:

    At his Daytona rally yesterday he approvingly retold that fake and super-offensive “pigs blood bullets” story again:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news-campaigns/272780-trump-resurrects-story-of-muslims-shot-with-pigs

    Presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Saturday resurrected an apparent hoax story about Muslims being executed with bullets “dipped in pig’s blood.”

    The crowd loved it.

    I didn’t see anyone in the media having caught it, but he also did his “Ayers wrote Dreams from my Father”-shtick at the rally. He was really into that conspiracy theory back during his 2011 Birther media blitz. From ~36min into his Daytona rally speech:

    “And they had Bill Ayers there. They had Bill Ayers who probably wrote Obama’s first book, the one that was actually well written. You know? They had a lot of people there that are not really, not really good.”

    Trump back in 2011:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/trump-bill-ayers-wrote-obama-s-book-video

    “Look, he was born ‘Barry Soetero.’ Somewhere along the line, he changed his name,” said Trump — referring to the surname of Obama’s mother’s second husband, Lolo Soetoro, whom she married four years after Obama was born. “I heard he had terrible marks, and he ends up in Harvard. He wrote a book that was better than Ernest Hemingway, but the second book was written by an average person.”

    “You suspect Bill Ayers?” said Hannity.

    “I said, Bill Ayers wrote the book,” Trump replied.
    Trump also added during the discussion: “He was best friends with Bill Ayers. Bill Ayers was a super-genius. And a lot of people have said he wrote the book. Well recently, as you know last week, Bill Ayers came out and said he did write the book.”

    “Barack Obama wouldn’t be president — and, you know, I wrote many best sellers, and also, number one bestsellers including The Art of the Deal. So I know something about writing. And I want to tell you, the guy that wrote the first book didn’t write the second book [The Audacity of Hope]. Obama made a big mistake when he wrote the second book. Because the second book was not Ernest Hemingway, it was about 37 classes below. So, the first book is Ernest Hemingway-plus. The second book was written by somebody that was much more average.”

  6. Bernie Sanders campaign released a statement saying that he “appreciates” his supporters going to Trump Rallies, but that his campaign isn’t actively organizing the protests.

    So there seems to be a double standard here: Bernie Sanders encourages supporters disrupt Trump Rallies, but it’s ridiculous to hold him responsible because they’re independent people who Sanders can’t possibly be expected to have any influence over just because they happen to like him.

    Meanwhile, if any Trump supporters disrupt a Sanders Rally, that’s going to be all his fault because he’s not doing anything to keep his supporters clam.

    The problem is both sides increasingly see political speech as a zero sum game where, instead of engaging their opponents in open debate, people try to silence their opponents so that they can be the only message going out in public. Trump is just the next escalation of this trend, and we’re going to see more people like him in the future unless we address the underlying problem (weakening cultural support for speech) instead of the symptom.

  7. James Pearce says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Rubio, over the last few days, is clearly appalled by what’s happening. I just don’t know that anything can be done at this point.

    There’s only one thing an individual can do, and that’s vote for someone else.

    Roughly half the country are going to do that anyway. Anyone who doesn’t support Trump’s candidacy but fears they may be roped into supporting his nomination should join us.

  8. MBunge says:

    @Hal_10000: Rubio, over the last few days, is clearly appalled

    Rubio is clearly just saying whatever his handlers tell him to say. That’s the whole appeal of Rubio. He’s a more articulate, even emptier-suit version of George W. Bush.

    Mike

  9. MBunge says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Did you not get the memo? Trump is always to blame. His supporters are all racists. No one has done or is doing anything else that matters.

    Mike

  10. @Stormy Dragon: You mean this?

    Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump’s rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests.

    (link)

    I hardly see that as “Bernie Sanders encourages supporters disrupt Trump Rallies, ”

    Further, he is speaking about events in the past. Trump has clearly encouraged violence in advance of recent events.

    The full statement:

    CHICAGO – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders issued the following statement today on disturbances of Donald Trump rallies:

    “As is the case virtually every day, Donald Trump is showing the American people that he is a pathological liar. Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump’s rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests.

    “What caused the protests at Trump’s rally is a candidate that has promoted hatred and division against Latinos, Muslims, women, and people with disabilities, and his birther attacks against the legitimacy of President Obama.

    “What caused the violence at Trump’s rally is a campaign whose words and actions have encouraged it on the part of his supporters. He recently said of a protester, ‘I want to punch him in the face.’ Another time Trump yearned for the old days when the protester would have been punched and “carried out on a stretcher.’ Then just a few days ago a female reporter apparently was assaulted by his campaign manager.

    “When that is what the Trump campaign is doing, we should not be surprised that there is a response.

    “What Donald Trump must do now is stop provoking violence and make it clear to his supporters that people who attend his rallies or protest should not be assaulted, should not be punched, should not be kicked. In America people have a right to attend a political rally without fear of physical harm.”

  11. @MBunge:

    Did you not get the memo? Trump is always to blame. His supporters are all racists. No one has done or is doing anything else that matters.

    Here’s the problem with the dismissive sarcasm: Trump is using racist and xenophobic language on a regular basis. It is part of his campaign. It should not be so lightly downplayed.

  12. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’m sorry this is not a “both sides do it” . Here is Sander’s statement :

    As is the case virtually every day, Donald Trump is showing the American people that he is a pathological liar. Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump’s rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests.

    “What caused the protests at Trump’s rally is a candidate that has promoted hatred and division against Latinos, Muslims, women, and people with disabilities, and his birther attacks against the legitimacy of President Obama.

    “What caused the violence at Trump’s rally is a campaign whose words and actions have encouraged it on the part of his supporters. He recently said of a protester, ‘I want to punch him in the face.’ Another time Trump yearned for the old days when the protester would have been punched and “carried out on a stretcher.’ Then just a few days ago a female reporter apparently was assaulted by his campaign manager.

    “When that is what the Trump campaign is doing, we should not be surprised that there is a response.

    “What Donald Trump must do now is stop provoking violence and make it clear to his supporters that people who attend his rallies or protest should not be assaulted, should not be punched, should not be kicked. In America people have a right to attend a political rally without fear of physical harm.”

    Berni Sanders is certainly not encouraging violence or even disruption here. Let’s leave the “false equivalence” game to conservative pundits.

  13. @Steven L. Taylor:
    @stonetools:

    So the problem, in your minds, is not that political groups are trying to disrupt the activities of other political groups, but rather that Trump has committed a faux pas but not being sufficiently wink-wink-nudge-nudge when discussing it.

    It’s like the political activist version of campaigns coordinating with superpacs. Everyone has, as a matter of course, satellite groups around their campaign devoted to harassing the opponents’ supporters, the candidates themselves just have to pretend they’re shocked that this is all going on.

  14. @Stormy Dragon:

    So the problem, in your minds, is not that political groups are trying to disrupt the activities of other political groups, but rather that Trump has committed a faux pas but not being sufficiently wink-wink-nudge-nudge when discussing it.

    I do not understand how you came to this conclusion.

    The main problem is that Trump is very much encouraging violence against protesters.

    I am not in favor of disrupting political rallies, but people do have the right to do so, and they cane be removed, if not arrested depending on what they are doing.

    I think your interpretation of Sander’s statement is incorrect. If you want to argue that he should ask supporters not to disrupt Trump events, I can understand that position. But you seem to be making a false equivalency between Trump and Sanders that I simply do not see as supportable by the facts.

    It’s like the political activist version of campaigns coordinating with superpacs. Everyone has, as a matter of course, satellite groups around their campaign devoted to harassing the opponents’ supporters, the candidates themselves just have to pretend they’re shocked that this is all going on.

    I am utterly missing your point.

  15. @Steven L. Taylor:

    It is part of his campaign. It should not be so lightly downplayed.

    Agreed, but Trump did not form in a vacuum. Our currently political culture is the kind where candidates like Trump are inevitable. Even if Trump (hopefully) ends up losing this election, the next Trump is going to be here in two or four years.

    If we want to solve a systemic problem, we need systemic solutions

  16. @Stormy Dragon:

    Agreed, but Trump did not form in a vacuum. Our currently political culture is the kind where candidates like Trump are inevitable. Even if Trump (hopefully) ends up losing this election, the next Trump is going to be here in two or four years.

    If we want to solve a systemic problem, we need systemic solutions

    All well and good, and I don’t disagree on balance. However, does Trump not deserve substantial criticism and is not part of the route for systemic solutions pointing out what the current system was wrought (i.e., Trump?).

    I don’t see how criticizing Trump somehow let’s anyone else off the hook.

  17. @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am not in favor of disrupting political rallies, but people do have the right to do so, and they cane be removed, if not arrested depending on what they are doing.

    This is a contradiction. If they have a right to disrupt political rallies, how can they be removed or arrested for it? They can be removed or arrested precisely because they DON’T have a right to do it.

  18. @Stormy Dragon: No, it is combination of the lack of prior restraint on speech and the right to engage in civil disobedience if you face the consequences of your actions.

  19. James Pearce says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Trump is just the next escalation of this trend, and we’re going to see more people like him in the future unless we address the underlying problem (weakening cultural support for speech) instead of the symptom.

    Is that the “underlying problem” though? The weakening cultural support for speech?

    I mean, the left has gone bonkers over political correctness in the late-Obama era, that’s true. But do we have “The Trump Problem” because of “weakening cultural support for speech,” or because we’re willing to tolerate any kind of speech, no matter how stupid, destructive, incorrect or boneheaded?

    Protesters with their poorly-timed rants, pseudoscientists, bullshit woo-woo artists (like Trump), theologians, they all think that because they’re saying something, the things they’re saying have value.

    And Sturgeon’s Law says otherwise.

  20. @Steven L. Taylor:

    the right to engage in civil disobedience if you face the consequences of your actions

    That’s like saying you have to right to murder someone as long as you’re willing to spend 30 years in prison.

  21. @Stormy Dragon: That is ludicrous.

  22. @Stormy Dragon: So, ultimately, your beef is with anyone who disrupts a political event? (Which, btw, is not a new phenomenon).

    Again: I am not supporting it, nor do I think it is productive. But I remain perplexed by exactly what you are trying to argue (and find that you seem to be criticizing Sanders more than Trump, which I really don’t understand in this context).

  23. @James Pearce:

    The right is, in its own way, just as PC as the left. But we’re not willing to tolerate any kind of speech. Increasingly, when people hear something they don’t want to hear, they don’t go “Hey you’re wrong!”. Instead they try to make it impossible for that person to speak, by disrupting their talks or finding out who they work for and trying to get them fired or finding out where they live and harassing them at home. The strategy is increasingly to try an make opposing speech so expensive that your opponents are forced to remain silence for fear of becoming a target.

  24. @Steven L. Taylor:

    That is ludicrous.

    Indeed it is. Saying you have a right to do X as long as you’re willing to endure the state sanction for having done it is nonsense. If you have the right to do something, the state CAN’T sanction you for doing it. That’s what having a right to do something means.

    You don’t have right to civil disobedience, the decision to engage with it is because someone has decided that the benefit for doing it exceeds the cost of being punished for it.

  25. @Stormy Dragon: Political protest and murder are not in the same category, hence the ludicrousness of your comparison.

    Regardless, could you please state directly what you argument is? I honestly do not know what point you are trying to make.

    Are you saying that no one should ever disrupt a political speech and you find that that is the root of the problem and that Bernie should have, therefore, condemned the anti-Trump protest with more vigor?

    Which do you find more problematic: Bernie’s insufficient criticism or Trump’s suggestion that protesters should be roughed up?

    Was the anti-Trump protest outside the arena in Chicago ok with you?

  26. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I would say that. And I think John Locke would too.

    The social contract is that you will face sanctions if you exercise certain rights, generally rights that impinge upon the rights of others.

  27. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I am fully in favor of protesters disrupting political events, being escorted out with minimal force, and either given a slap on the wrist or sent on their merry way.

    Nonviolent protest should be encouraged, and allowed to be disruptive.

    When you put people into Free Speedh Zones far away from what they are protesting, you remove any possible effectiveness to nonviolent protest, and ultimately you encourage violent protest. We saw the consequences of eliminating an effective means of nonviolent protest with the riots over police brutality against black men last year — If you aren’t able to get your message out short of torching a CVS, then you torch the CVS.

    Society is filled with messy compromises.

    Also, I find it amusing that Trump is trying to create a “safe zone” for his Trumpkins, when everyone on the right mocks that in other contexts as Political Correctness.

  28. @Steven L. Taylor:

    My argument that disrupting a political rally is a form of political violence. A mild form of political violence, but violence nonetheless. It’s a form of trespass (in the common law sense), which is why people can be arrested for doing it.

    While you’re correct this has always happened, it’s becoming far more common recently, and it’s progressively gone from something condemned to something winked at or even actually encouraged by society at large. When one form of political violence becomes widely acceptable, it’s inevitable that someone is going to escalate the violence, in this case to assault or battery (which I’d note are also considered forms of trespass in common law).

    I condemn Trump encouraging violence toward his opponents. But I also think other candidates are also encouraging violence toward their opponents (albeit it in a more winking manner) and deserve condemnation as well to a lesser extent.

  29. James Pearce says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The right is, in its own way, just as PC as the left.

    Sure, in their own way, but the right has the common sense to dog whistle a lot of that stuff, while the left turns their racism into a hashtag they openly and proudly advance.

    The strategy is increasingly to try an make opposing speech so expensive that your opponents are forced to remain silence for fear of becoming a target.

    Sure, to an extent. Part of this is because this is how it should work. You should be embarrassed to stay stupid (ie, expensive) things, maybe not embarrassed into silence, but into making sure you’re saying something intelligent and useful.

  30. jpe says:

    people do have the right to do so,

    People have the right to disrupt rallies?

    Good lord.

  31. @Stormy Dragon:

    My argument that disrupting a political rally is a form of political violence.

    That clarifies, and helps me understand our difference on this topic. I find that a problematic definition. I do not see it as violence.

  32. jpe says:

    Are you saying that no one should ever disrupt a political speech

    It’s really not that complicated: concerted attempts at shutting down speech are fascist.

  33. @Gustopher:

    If you aren’t able to get your message out short of torching a CVS, then you torch the CVS.

    Correct. Which is also why violence toward protestors is an inevitable consequence of turning a blind eye toward large scale attempts to disrupt political gatherings.

  34. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’d guess that Stormy simply is unaware that when Bernie says he “appreciates” that his supporters were at the Trump rally, he thinks that means approval and not awareness. English is a tricky language, and it’s pretty easy to misunderstand a word with multiple meanings — especially if that’s the only way you can think to support someone as vile as Trump while pretending not to.

  35. anjin-san says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Our currently political culture is the kind where candidates like Trump are inevitable.

    Really? How come there is no Democratic equivalent to Trump?

  36. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Our currently political culture is the kind where candidates like Trump are inevitable.

    anjin-san: Really? How come there is no Democratic equivalent to Trump?

    Because, at this time, and for the past 25 years or so, Democratic Party politicians have not been the ones pandering to the most base and debased qualities of the electorate.

    Also, in a related side issue – I really think that there is a reflexive need for many people to say, “both sides do it,” irrespective or regardless of obvious facts. It amounts to empty calories, junk food.

    Look, if one side does a negative thing 95 times, and the other side does it 5 times, it is of course technically correct to say ‘both sides do it,’ but it is almost a content-free observation – it enables people to dismiss or avoid a serious discussion of the problem.

  37. An Interested Party says:

    My argument that disrupting a political rally is a form of political violence.

    Oh my, so now free speech is “violence”…that is as ridiculous as arguing that money is “free speech”…that pesky little 1st Amendment is just being twisted all out of shape…

  38. Bruce Henry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Which other candidates are doing this?

  39. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    My argument that disrupting a political rally is a form of political violence

    It depends on the disruption.

    Storming the stage is a threat of violence — one cannot distinguish between someone storming the stage to grab a microphone, and one storming the stage to do physical harm. The former is more likely, but by no means certain. It will be met with a response of force, as the person charging is planning on getting past security either by speed or force, and it is difficult to find the minimal force necessary to stop that so it may reasonably lead a a response of moderate rather than minimal violence from security.

    Unfurling a banner, tearing up a Trump sign and yelling or even using an air horn is not a threat of violence in any way. It is rude, it is disruptive, but it is not violent. It is, in fact, a time honored tradition — you make an ass out of yourself, and are then escorted out, or grabbed and hauled out if you do not wish to be escorted. It disrupts speech, rather than blocking it.

    It has been employed by Republican congress critters during the State of the Union. (I would say that Rep. Wilson’s “You Lie” shout was inappropriate not because he interrupted the President and showed disrespect for the office of the President, but because he showed disrespect for his own office)

    And, if the speaker is classy, he tells the protester to sit down and that he will take a question from him during the question and answer period: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNxVfYOCFuU

    It is inherently non-violent.

    Add a gun because you are demonstrating your 2nd Amendment rights, and your disruption becomes a threat. (And, in some states, a candidate could decide they were threatened, and shoot the protester)

  40. Gustopher says:

    @An Interested Party: Depending on the venue, it may not actually be free speech. It isn’t violence, by any rational definition, whether it falls under free speech or not, of course.

    To claim that yelling at the speaker is only violence is as absurd as saying that taxation is theft.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Is Trump in some way actually unable to get his message out?

    When he cancelled his rally after consulting with imaginary law enforcement, was the danger that protesters would get violent, or that people he had been telling to rough up the protesters would get violent?

    Except for the ISIS protester, of course. He was dangerous. Because we all know that ISIS shows up at political rallies, disrupts them by yelling, and then proceeds to behead the speaker.

  42. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @stormy

    But I also think other candidates are also encouraging violence toward their opponents

    You certainly have the right to think that, however your position might be more persuasive if you had evidence.

  43. Pch101 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    If we want to solve a systemic problem, we need systemic solutions

    False claims that everyone does it, when it is obvious that everyone isn’t doing it, is part of the problem, systematic or otherwise.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Shorter Stormy Dragon: “The solution for violent hateful speech is to Shut the Fvck UP.”

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Hal_10000: You mean that Rubio, who famously repeated,
    “Let’s dispel this notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country.” is appalled that Trump would just say straight out what Rubio dares only dog whistle?

    Can we stop pretending that Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich are any better than Trump on substance? Yet somehow their tone makes them acceptable to establishment types.

    Dr. K addressed this this morning.

  46. Lit3Bolt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Shorter Stormy Dragon and MBunge: “Don’t blame me, I am voting for Hitler on the basis of his domestic economic policy, not all that violent racist stuff.”

  47. Pch101 says:

    @gVOR08:

    We’ve sunk to a point at which a “moderate Republican” is now a right-winger who isn’t shouting.

  48. Joe says:

    @gVOR08:
    I agree that it is disingenuous for Rubio to be appalled by Trump’s rhetoric while Rubio tells everyone (repeatedly, in the New Hampshire debate) that Obama is intentionally and comprehensively sabotaging the nation. I don’t believe I would lay that claim at Kasich’s door. At least I have not heard it. Cruz is somewhere in between on that score.

    If your goal is to keep the conversation about the issues and not the people, it is a difficult but critical distinction to argue that another politician’s policies are wrong, even dangerously wrong, without moving on to mean-spirited. It is nonetheless pretty common for Democrats to argue that Republicans “don’t care about the poor” and for Republicans to argue that Democrats are trying to “reward and buy off special interest groups.”

    Trump should not be president for so many reasons but this is one: for an Office where words and message are of paramount importance (remember Reagan, “the Great Communicator”?), either Trump understands that his approach to issues is unnecessarily incendiary or, worse, he doesn’t.

  49. gVOR08 says:

    @Joe: I live in Ohio. I give Kasich credit for expanding Medicare. Otherwise, his claims to being an architect of the balanced budget in the late 90s is a lie, he’s a founder of ALEC, a bankster, and a crony capitalist. He’s Scott Walker plus ten or twenty IQ points. He backed off trying to break the public sector unions only because the voters rebelled. You want me to think he’s better than Cruz, Rubio, or Trump, point out where his policy positions differ.

  50. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Joe:

    This. Trump, at the very very very LEAST, has pathological communication issues. He really, truly can’t help himself when he get riled up.

    We should expect better of our leaders.

  51. Joe says:

    @gVOR08: I am not suggesting that Kasich is right on all the issues. What I am saying is that Rubio’s rhetoric is a clear attack on Obama’s motives – your President is actively trying to undermine you. I believe that is several steps down the road toward Trump and, in some ways worse than Trump calling Obama stupid or a loser. What I have not heard Kasich do is question Obama’s motives. And, while I find Cruz far more corrosive than Kasich, I have not heard (or gone to look for) instances of him directly impugning Obama’s motives.

    Calling a candidate out on policy as you have Kasich is more than reasonable: It’s the whole point of political discourse. It’s just a far higher and better exercise than centering your argument in the opposing party’s motives (Rubio) or just saying the first 4th grade put-down that comes to mind (Trump).

  52. LaMont says:

    Despite Trump showing his true colors I absolutely hope he wins the Republican nomination outright because that would mean that Bernie’s or Hillary’s chances to win are much better. The main fear I have at this point is that, at this juncture, Trump has succeeded in making the other three Republican candidates look like reasonable candidates. And there are enough low information independent voters out there that will vote for a Republican just for the sake of balance after a two term Democratic President. Within this context, that could be trouble for Bernie and Hillary. The race may not be as easy for Hillary and Bernie as some may think…

  53. al-Ameda says:

    @LaMont:

    And there are enough low information independent voters out there that will vote for a Republican just for the sake of balance after a two term Democratic President.

    “low information independent voters” = Republican voters

  54. LaMont says:

    @al-Ameda: I would have initially agreed with that notion but I’m starting to think otherwise. I had one person say to me “I am leaning towards voting Republican this time because I voted for Obama twice – but Trump is crazy.” I immediately thought, “is he going to vote for Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich simply because they are Republicans?” Of course my opinion is only based on my small network bubble of friends, associates, and family – but I do feel enough of them generally feel the same way. A lot of them do not follow politics enough to really be biased toward the left or right. Heck, many of them don’t even understand the stereotypical nuances of the typical Republican or Democrat. Yet, they’re willing to give Republicans a chance on the simple but false premise that the Democrats had their chance. I know it seems crazy but I have to remember from time to time that I am a political junkie and therefore, I am also in a bubble!

  55. gVOR08 says:

    @LaMont: What this represents is that McConnell’s tactic of total opposition to Obama is working. Do everything you can to make government work badly. Exaggerate how badly it’s working at every turn. Blame everything on the guy who’s actually trying to make stuff work. And then run against the dysfunction. It’s an amazingly brazen scam. It’s basically a protection racket.

  56. LaMont says:

    @gVOR08: Yep, you got it. It didn’t work to make him a “one term president” but I believe it is having an effect on the general elections for 2016. I’ve been trying to get people that are outside the political bubble to understand that fact for a few years now. What I have found is that trying to explain this only makes me look as politically biased as everyone they detest. In their view, I’m clearly taking a side. It doesn’t matter that it is actually true because they really don’t understand what the truth is. In other words – we’re screwed by the fact that Republican talking points exist! It is the only way they can get people to believe President Obama is weak on collaboration, or that there is something seriously wrong with ObamaCare, or that Bernie Sanders shouldn’t be taken seriously because he is a “socialist” (even though they don’t understand what a socialist really is and how Bernie’s views are compared to it), or that Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted even though she is really no different than any other politician and far more honest than Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.

  57. Monala says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I guess you haven’t studied Thoreau, Gandhi or King? That’s exactly the point they made: civil disobedience is the deliberate violation of what one feels are unjust laws. Willingness to accept the consequence in the form of fines, arrest, and/or jail time indicates one’s overall respect for the place of laws in society, even if one disagrees with the given law they are violating.

    I suppose you can find someone who thinks that laws prohibiting murder are unjust laws, but I would wager that those people are far removed from the civil disobedience tradition.

  58. Monala says:

    @Stormy Dragon: You know you sound like the people who criticized Civil Rights protesters back in the 50’s and 60’s, don’t you? MLK was told that he was provoking violence with such tactics as marches, strikes, and sit-ins. He counter-argued that all the CR protesters were doing was revealing the violence that already existed.

  59. anjin-san says:

    Wo ist Stormy Dragon?