The Week (US)

Talking points

‘Mobs’: The rise of political violence


President Trump just endorsed “political violence against journalist­s,” said Adam Serwer in TheAtlanti­ At a Montana rally last week, Trump praised GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte for picking up a reporter, slamming him to the ground and punching him last year—an assault to which Gianforte pleaded guilty. “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my guy,” Trump said, pantomimin­g the wrestling move. Wait...haven’t Trump and his supporters been complainin­g that Democratic protesters were acting like a “violent mob”? Yes, but “one of the core principles of Trumpism is that the rules only apply to others.” The rallygoers cheered and laughed while Trump gloated over the journalist’s beating, said Jack Holmes in “These were the laughs of people who relish cruelty,” who feel “power coursing through their veins” now that their party is “explicitly pledging to meet its opposition with violence.”

Trump was absolutely wrong for laughing about Gianforte’s body slam, said Debra Saunders in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, but liberal mobs are not imaginary. Last week, a progressiv­e activist was arrested on suspicion of battery against the campaign manager for the Nevada GOP gubernator­ial candidate. Liberals have used “intimidati­on tactics” to harass senators who voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, with one unhinged woman recently demanding that Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana “apologize to my children for ruining their lives.” The reality is that there are truly violent elements on both the Right and the Left now, said Noah Rothman in Commentary .com. There have been violent confrontat­ions between proto-fascists and left-wing demonstrat­ors in Chicago, Sacramento, St. Paul, Berkeley, Portland, Ore., and most recently New York City, where a far-right group called the Proud Boys battled antifa protesters in the streets last week. Incidents of political violence are rapidly becoming “part of the political landscape,” with extremists trying to ignite a cultural civil war. Each brawl brings us closer to “the precipice of the abyss.”

If you doubt that, said Rich Lowry in National, listen to Proud Boy founder Gavin McInnes. The right-wing provocateu­r says that “justified violence feels great,” and that “fighting solves everything.” These are fraught times, but for conservati­ves and for the country, such sentiments are “poisonous.” Both conservati­ves and liberals need to be reminded that “one mob does not justify another.”

 ??  ?? McInnes (in white shirt) and his boys
McInnes (in white shirt) and his boys

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