The Donald Trump campaign for the US Presidency has now added violence to its mix of confrontation and division.
Trump’s campaign rallies recently included a bloody stop in St Louis, and chaos in Chicago. And far from trying to contain the violence, Trump is exacerbating it further by threatening protestors with comments such as “I’d like to punch him right in the face,” and saying “that’s what we need a little bit more of.”
Trump has also threatened that if the Republication nomination goes to someone else, there could be even more violence. “I think you’d have riots,” he said. “I think you’d have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen.”
Of course, Trump relishes confrontation. In a campaign that’s devoid of policy, and which feeds on racial divide and gratuitous abuse, confrontation itself is the substance. It’s all about grabbing the headlines and forcing your way into the news. This is the politics of showbiz, where success is measured in air time and column inches.
But how much can we blame Trump? America itself is obsessed with celebrities and the silver screen. Accordingly, Trump is now running his own new reality TV show. It's called I, Me, Myself. Trump graduated from The Apprentice, which was on TV only once per week during its season, and he’s now on the news and the talk shows every night.
It’s not only the rest of the world that’s starting to feel uneasy about this megalomania.
The Republican Party itself, which Trump supposedly represents, is now worried about this genie that’s out of the bottle. In Trump’s overblown rhetoric, he claims that “the biggest people in the party are calling. They want to sit down.”
But Republicans quickly distanced themselves from this claim. The only name that Trump dropped was House Speaker Paul Ryan. When contacted, Ryan’s spokesman tweeted that the Speaker had called Trump, but only at Trump’s own request.
It seems like the Republican Party and the American media are now reaping their own whirlwind. This is a voracious whirlwind that has already sucked up and spat out common sense and civility.
More wild times are ahead.