Courtesy of WaPo:
The question of whether Trump’s rhetoric is inspiring acts of political violence now echoes nationally. Acts of violence in Florida and in Pittsburgh in the run-up to the midterm elections have already been inextricably linked to Trump’s hyperbolic language.
According to Chip Berlet, an expert on the populist right, the phenomenon we’re watching unfold is known to sociologists as “scripted violence.” “If a very popular leader who is high up — it doesn’t matter if it’s political or a political or a movement leader — basically alleges that some group of people is conspiring against the common good, and they harp on that for a long time, it’s only a matter of time before people get killed,” he recently explained.
There’s a long history of this kind of violence, dating from well before the Holocaust and continuing well into recent decades and even the present. In 1990s Rwanda, for example, thousands were massacred when radio talkers targeted communities for lethal violence as part of a tribal/ethnic cleansing campaign. In the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte’s state-condoned death squads follow his cues to target alleged “drug users” for execution, leading to thousands of deaths. Trump has tacitly endorsed the tactic.
His rhetoric at home is part of the same violence for which he is writing the scripts.
“Trump clearly isn’t going to tamp this situation down, and he will likely escalate his anti-immigrant and extremist rhetoric as we move toward 2020,” says Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. “Since the GOP is becoming a bastion of older, white males who are angry, that’s the base they will be moving to turn out. This just follows a trend of more than a decade of increasing numbers of terror plots from the far right. And, at least at this point, it doesn’t seem the feds have a real strategy here, so they will likely be behind the eight ball on these issues as well.”
I would suggest that the evidence to support what this Chip Berlet said is all but overwhelming.
We have seen an uptick in violence in all three years since Trump first announced his candidacy, and there does not seem to be any signs that it will diminish any time soon.
At every opportunity, Trump is seen pouring gasoline on the embers burning in the hearts of his supporters and the result is verbal abuse, angry all capitalized emails to journalists, and actual violent groups roaming the streets looking for victims.
What’s more is that it seems clear Trump not only realizes what he is doing but that the violent responses to his words are what he both wants and what he expects.