Wherever Donald Trump goes, protests follow.
The media is only interested in these protests when violence or riots erupt — “If it bleeds, it leads” remains the guiding principle of the national press.
But if a protest passes more or less peacefully, as most do, the media tends to ignore it — which is a tragedy, because this dismissiveness hides the sobering reality that 2016’s anti-Trump protests, even when nonviolent, have already escalated into kaleidoscopic circuses of unhinged hysteria.
This report reveals what a typical anti-Trump protest is really like, in all its bizarre end-times glory, for once setting aside who punched whom or which window got smashed.
The protest under analysis here took place on April 29 outside the California Republican Convention where Trump was speaking at a Hyatt Regency in the city of Burlingame. Never heard of it? That’s unsurprising: This event was largely overshadowed by an anti-Trump riot the previous night in southern California. No riots erupted in Burlingame, so the national press mostly ignored it — although a couple outlets exaggerated the protest’s few minor incidents so they could claim it was “violent” nonetheless.
But that doesn’t mean the Burlingame protest was any less important than the previous night’s riot — nor are any of the nonviolent Trump protests less significant than the violent ones. Each and every protest is a carnival of narratives, incidents, themes and lessons. Yes, violence is one narrative, but it’s not the only one, and not necessarily the most important one. As we are about to learn.
Unlike other media outlets, which invariably highlight one aspect of the story and ignore all others, I’m going to report on this protest as it actually was: a wide-ranging panoply of narratives, all happening at the same time, often overlapping and competing against each other.
Want to experience the 2016 political season on a personal, visceral level? Read on. I’ll be your guide.
Protest outside Donald Trump’s appearance at the California Republican Convention, Burlingame, CA, April 29, 2016
This Trump detractor (on the left) lunged at an unsuspecting young Trump supporter (wearing the backpack on the right) and had to be physically restrained. As far as I witnessed, the Trump supporter had neither said a word nor done anything to provoke such an outburst, other than a few minutes earlier silently declare his support for Trump by standing near a small band of pro-Trump protesters. I guess simply being pro-Trump is justification enough to have your safety threatened.
“If Trump Elected — Hell Toupee!”
Early frontrunner for “Political Pun of the Year.”
Most Transparent Attempt to Get Laid:
The Picture That Most Succinctly Sums Up the Entire Election Season:
A silver-haired Cruz supporter (this photo was taken shortly before Cruz dropped out of the race) watches with a combination of pity and bemusement as fellow anti-Trump “Chicano Power” protesters prance about throwing “Fuck you!” gang signs.
Cleverest Anti-Trump Campaign Slogan:
“Yes We Klan,” a riff on Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, “Yes We Can.” This one’s sure to go viral.
Least Controversial Protester:
“Trump = Nazi” Is Already Mandatory
Normally, a debate only descends to “Godwinization” (comparing your opponent to a Nazi) as a final desperate measure when all other arguments have failed and all lesser insults have been exhausted. In contemporary politics, calling someone a Nazi is the most extreme position you can take.
But when it comes to Trump’s opponents, their starting point is to call Trump a Nazi; the general election hasn’t even yet begun, and the anti-Trump rhetoric is already turned up to 11.
It’s kind of hard to imagine where the conversation will go from here. How can you amplify your rhetoric when the very first thing you say is the most extreme put-down you can conjure?
A textbook example of the logical fallacy known as Reductio ad Hitlerum.
Clear enough for you? (Notice that this particular attempt at a swastika has an intriguing extra bend in its lower leg. Is this a tentative experiment at designing a new kind of ultra-swastika which applies only to Trump — or mere sign-making incompetence?)
Sometimes the Trump=Nazi theme was as concise as possible.
While other times it was incorporated into a longer message.
You don’t even need to actually spell out the word “Nazi” in your anti-Trump message: a simple swastika will get the same point across.
Some protesters, trying to think outside the Nazi box, got creative and called Trump a mere “Fascist,” but on the political insult scale, “Fascist” is actually a slight step down from “Nazi.” It’s truly quite a conundrum; once you’ve gone full Nazi, any further elaboration of your argument only softens the insult. So you’re stuck saying “Nazi Nazi Nazi” over and over with no variation.
Bingo! Here’s a solution: The term “KKK” is the only political insult nearly on a par with “Nazi,” so expect to see a lot of this in the upcoming months.
Aww him getting picked on lets take him under our wing and protect and vote for him, we hate bullies All he wants to be is treated fair, this started slow. His opposition was just for Hillary and didnt want him to be president ganging up on him. Once this started trending his accusations became more and more insane and being desensitized to his weirdness by the compliant media looking for ratings, all predicting his downfall only to be astonished by his numbers going up.
Now his fight is to find someone with so little self respect that they would agree to be VP his best bet some old politician that has no political future left.
@kitt: “Old pol with no future or self respect.”–Newt—how bout Giuliani
Turned him down already–Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Haley and many more. Few want that tarnish.
Has he asked John Miller or John Barron?
@Richard Wheeler: Geez, it’s nice, two peas in a pod trying to help the repubs against the liberals. Just go and be spokespersons for the Dims, that’ll help the Repubs.
@Richard Wheeler: Those men have only great things to say about Donnie. 😛
Ironically, that guy in red from the ”Scariest Moment” photo later saved an American flag from being set on fire.
You just never can tell from just one snapshot.
As weird as some of those folks are, there are Trump supporters who are LGBT.
There are Hispanic Trump supporters.
There are black Trump supporters.
There are Muslim Trump supporters.
There are plenty of women Trump supporters.
Hillary thought she owned the white working man vote so completely that she could ignore them.
Now that group is trending to Donald Trump.
The circus of the anti-Trump crowd doesn’t hurt Donald Trump.
It helps him.
“Seventy-seven percent of Hispanics and seven in 10 women view him unfavorably, according to recent Gallup polls. A whopping 86% of black voters viewed him unfavorably in an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll. Meanwhile, just 7% of Muslims surveyed said they would support him, per a February poll from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
A small but very vocal minority, however, has boarded the Trump Train.
Some have alienated friends in supporting the bigoted bloviator; others didn’t want to be pictured here.
Well, that certainly explains why Trump got more votes in the Republican primaries than anyone ever got previously. Obviously ‘no one’ is voting for Trump.
No, it doesn’t. Part of the numbers in the primary come from a kind of “Operation Chaos”. In my own county, over 10% of the votes in the Republican primary were cast by Democrats who never voted R in their lives. They voted for Trump but those Dems will support Hillary in the General. Our local Dem Chair was telling his party members to vote Trump in the primary because he was considered the easiest for Hillary to defeat.
I have to laugh when Trump politicos think they are so smart but don’t have a clue when it comes to the real dynamics involved in an election.
I don’t know any of those, so I don’t get to laugh much.
And that has never happened before? So with 17 candidates to split the votes and with 10% of the voters Dimocrats, that means the millions more that voted for Trump doesn’t mean anything? Why did he get so many more votes than Romney or McCain when they were not splitting their votes with 16 others? I would predict that many more than 10% of the people that vote for Trump will be Dimocrats that have better sense than to vote for Hillary or Bernie.
Sounds like he is ate up with dumb ass. Any party chair advocating his party vote for the other party should remain in the Dimocrat party.
A good many of the protesters are Bernie supporters. Once Hillary snatches the nomination away from Bernie, a good many of them will go home.
Many of the Bernie supporters are anti establishment. They will not go to Hillary. They will either stay home or vote for Trump.