Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Foes Should Stay off His Stage

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Foes Should Stay off His Stage

Article excerpt

It's not easy to turn Donald Trump into an object of sympathy, but the hotheads disrupting his rallies are pulling it off. They may see their invasions as a brave effort to stop a frightening, divisive political force. But others - not just Trump followers - see privileged college kids stomping on someone's right to free speech. The "others" are who Trump's political foes should worry about. The optics of Trump under physical attack - and the little people supporting him treated with contempt - move the focus away from the bombast Trump is peddling.

It's true that Trump supporters have roughed up peaceful protesters on the street and should be held accountable. But it's also true that a person renting a hall for a rally has a right to invite or disinvite whomever he chooses - this according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Furthermore, it's disingenuous to assert that Trump is calling for violence when he makes such bellicose-sounding remarks as "I'd like to punch him in the face. Trump is talking New York-ese. In New York, "get outta here means "I disagree. It's not an eviction notice.

Trump's clever responses to disrupters - "go back to mommy, "bye- bye - are delivered in a mocking tone designed to belittle rather than threaten. ("Arrest her, arrest her, meanwhile, was directed to law enforcement, not the mob.)

Some Trump followers obviously fail to view rhetoric through a regional linguistic lens. Populists tend to attract emotional people who identify strongly with their hero. And their trumpeting of dark forces being arrayed against the public interest attracts a good share of paranoids.

So it's not totally surprising when an inflamed Trump supporter lashes back at a heckler. But that's not Trump's fault.

Nor was it Bernie Sanders' fault when an erstwhile follower rushed Trump's stage in Dayton, Ohio, and had to be subdued by the Secret Service. …

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