It should not need repeating, but Barack Obama has been one of the most divisive presidents in recent American history. He has set poor against rich; white against black; women against men.
This morning the Wall Street Journal editorialized:
Mr. Obama has shown contempt for institutions that he doesn’t run, and, notably, most of his growth-subtracting policies have been imposed through unilateral executive action. He doesn’t do persuasion and compromise. Some policies were intended to sow division, like his lawless immigration order that inflamed the restrictionist right, divided Republican elites and was only stopped by the courts.
The nature of Mr. Trump’s appeal can be explained by Mr. Obama’s own rule-by-regulation governing methods and polarizing political style. You might even call him The Barack, the more articulate and sophisticated liberal antecedent to The Donald.
Let’s not forget the thugs of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Brown Shirted radicals who are running amok on college campuses. Obama’s demeanor tells people that he is not responsible, but, in effect, he is.
How can right thinking people counter these forms of aggression?
Those who fawn over the Donald believe that he has found just the right response, or, should I say, counterpunch. Trump proposes meeting strength with strength, violence with violence.
A Trump supporter sucker punched a black man at a Trump Rally in North Carolina. The victim was being escorted out of the building. The assailant is being charged with criminal assault and battery.
Yesterday, Trump supporters beat up a black man at a Trump Rally in St. Louis. Let's accept that the victim was there to cause trouble. Aren't there other ways to have him expelled from the meeting? The night before, Trump’s campaign manager manhandled a female reporter in Jupiter, Florida. She was not causing trouble or threatening the Donald.
Yesterday, in St. Louis and in Chicago the radical left turned out in force, looking for a fight. At best, they wanted to shut down Trump’s free speech. In Chicago they succeeded.
One might say, and with considerable reason, that it’s about time that someone fought back against the lawless Obama administration and the forces it has unleashed across the country. Since the administration acts like a rogue and outlaw force, since legislative and judicial action is powerless to stop it, the people are taking things into their own hands.
Obviously, people who come to rallies to harass the speaker should be expelled, by force, if necessary. Too many universities have caved to such threats and have refused to allow conservatives to speak at all.
Of course, agitators ought to be dealt with by security forces, not by mobs. Because, once you answer violence with violence, thuggery with thuggery, bullying with bullying, you are making yourself the instigator. You are taking ownership of the nation’s divisions.
Through it all, beginning with Thursday’s debate, the Donald has refused to take responsibility for any of the violence committed in his name. Even if he was encouraging his supporters to punch out protesters, he does not believe that he is at fault when they do. Like Barack Obama, Donald Trump never apologizes because he does not believe that he can ever do wrong.
Anyway, Trump is made of Teflon, so nothing sticks. At least, that has been the case up to now. We note that the media is now regaling the public with Trump’s statements encouraging violence. Trump might not think he is at fault, but many people, even people inside the Republican Party are holding him accountable. If he becomes, as is increasingly likely, the face of the Party, his principles will define the party. It’s called rebranding.
If Trump had been a Democratic plant, sent to infiltrate and destroy the Republican Party, he could not be doing a better job.
For the record, here are a few of the Donald’s greatest hits:
I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.
Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, Okay?
I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you that.
Maybe he deserved to be roughed up.
If you believe that political disagreements should be settled by fist fights, you have your candidate. Just because the other side is engaging in violent confrontation, nothing says that you ought to be responding in kind. Remember the line: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It does not say: Do unto others as others have done unto you.
And then there is the strange case of Michelle Fields. The conservative reporter for Breitbart News Fields accused Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of having manhandled her after a press conference in Jupiter, Florida. Lewandowski has both admitted that he did it and denied that he did it. Trump says that it never happened. Fields has filed a criminal complaint for misdemeanor assault.
A reporter for the Washington Post witnessed the event and corroborated Fields’ story.
It would have been easier for Lewandowski to admit his mistake and apologize. But the Trump signature, like the Obama signature, is never saying you are sorry. For weak people, it feels like strength.
Note well: Michelle Fields is not a Democratic operative. She is not part of the Black Lives Matter movement. She is not a looming presence who might have threatened the Donald. She is a demure, even petite young woman, a bona fide conservative working for a conservative new organization.
New York Magazine describes what happened:
The whole fiasco began Tuesday night, when Fields was walking alongside Trump’s entourage as they exited his golf club in Jupiter, Florida. Fields pointed her recording device toward the presidential candidate and asked if he still opposed affirmative action. Before Trump could answer, Fields felt someone grab her by the arm and yank her toward the ground. According to audio of the incident obtained by Politico, Fields was initially uncertain who had assaulted her and relied on Post reporter Ben Terris for confirmation.
Fields: “Holy sh*t."
Terris: “Yea, he just threw you down."
Fields: “I can’t believe he just did that, that was so hard. Was that Corey?"
Terris: “Yeah, like, what threat were you?"
According to sources who spoke with the Daily Beast, Lewandowski confessed to “manhandling” Fields in a conversation with Breitbart reporter Matthew Boyle late Tuesday night. Fields shared images of bruises she sustained from the incident over social media.
Rather than apologize for what may have been inadvertent, the Trump campaign, and especially Lewandowski attacked Fields again, calling her delusional and an attention seeker and a liar. The Donald himself declared that she must have made the whole story up.
One should not need to say it, but strong men do not go around manhandling women. And strong men do not beat up on women, in any sense of the word. They do not threaten women and do not try to destroy their reputations. It’s not a sign of strength; it’s Clintonian.
If you ask yourself where in American politics we have seen such behavior, the answer that comes to mind is: the Clinton machine’s reaction to the women who stepped forth to blame Bubba for having molested, assaulted or raped them.
Michelle Fields is not an isolated case. Consider the way Trump treated Megyn Kelly after the first presidential debate. Michelle Goldberg describes the attacks:
Conservative women step out of line, and the Trump organization mobilizes to try and destroy them, painting them as irrational, slutty, and hysterical. Consider what happened after Trump’s contretemps with Megyn Kelly last summer.* Furious that she’d asked him about his frequently misogynist language during a Fox News debate, he suggested that she must have been menstruating. Online, his fans went ballistic; Kelly recently said she still can’t go on Twitter. In January, after Trump refused to participate in a Fox News debate that Kelly was co-moderating, he and his supporters launched what the Washington Post described as “a campaign to demean, diminish and critique Kelly.” At one point, Trump retweeted someone who wrote, beneath a sexy photograph of Kelly from a GQ photoshoot, “And this is the bimbo that’s asking presidential questions?”
Offensive and insulting, of course. Lacking decorum, of course. It was an all out attack on a woman, as a woman. Some women will happily vote for this kind of behavior, because the Donald can do no wrong, but, seriously….
Obviously, Kelly has a mammoth institution behind her, so she has defended herself and even won out over the Donald’s smear machine.
The same, Goldberg continues, cannot be said of Cheri Jacobus, another female Republican consultant. Examine what happened to her when she dared to challenge the Donald:
The same can’t be said for Cheri Jacobus, a Republican strategist who criticized Trump’s debating skills on CNN in January. As the New York Times reported, Trump attacked her on Twitter, and Lewandowski described her as a disappointed job-seeker on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. (In fact, the Trump campaign had made overtures to Jacobus, not vice versa.) “Mr. Trump’s Twitter followers, who number about six million, piled on,” the Times said. “For days, they replied to his posts with demeaning, often sexually charged insults aimed at Ms. Jacobus, including several with altered, vulgar photographs of her face.” One Trumpian meme depicts her as the Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction.
As I said, strong men do not beat up on women. Men who are pretending to be stronger and more powerful than they are do like to show off their strength by beating up people who are considerably weaker than they are. Candidates who make their bullying and thuggery the centerpiece of their campaigns are often sorely deficient when it comes to experience and policy.
True enough, the nation’s discourse has been corrupted by Barack Obama. But, once you undertake the same tactics, once you encourage people to commit assault and battery… not against the left, but against people who are sympathetic to you, you are buying responsibility.
You are absolving Barack Obama of responsibility and are taking responsibility for the violence that your supporters are committing. When violence breaks out at a Trump rally after Trump encourages his supporters to assault and batter people… the press and even many members of his own political party will hold him accountable.
Remember Hosea 8:7:
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: