Donald Trump is now openly inciting violence at his rallies. In Kansas City, he mouthed the words, “I’ll beat the crap out of you,” when describing what he would have done to a protester who charged him in Dayton, Ohio, earlier in the day. “Boom, boom, boom,” he said, mimicking a schoolyard beat down with his fists.
As Trump grandstanded, agitating the crowd, encouraging and condoning physical attacks against protesters, his supporters cheered.
It was an alarming development in this bizarre and unpredictable campaign for the presidency. Presidential words carry real, sometimes severe consequences, and to hear a candidate for the office so glibly stirring up violence is nothing short of startling.
One begins to wonder if a wide swath of American voters have no historical memory at all. If people today think that Trump’s agitation is appropriate, or as he puts it, basically harmless, then they were not alive during the Nixon administration in 1970, when exactly this sort of reckless political hate-mongering held America in its awful grip—and even took a deadly turn.