Violence Feels Good
In The Imitation Game, the often-bullied Alan Turing character says, “Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes… hollow.”
At a recent rally in North Carolina, a group of black protesters were being ejected, and one young man gave the middle finger to the crowd with both hands – which didn’t reflect well on his opposition and escalated a bad situation. On SNL’s Weekend Update, Michael Che showed a clip of an elderly Trump supporter sucker-elbow-punching that man, then said, “Look at this guy. He’s been dreaming of punching a black dude since the first time he heard jazz on the radio.” But ‘this guy’ went even further than Che, reflecting on Trump and his supporters perfectly by saying, “You bet I liked it. Knocking the hell out of that big mouth. … Yes he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.” He was arrested for assault, but he probably won’t have to buy a drink for the rest of his life. In an interview Trump acknowledged that he has instructed his people to look into helping that man with his legal fees. [Update 20160305, On ABC’s morning show Trump denied offering such help, but I heard him say it.]
An interesting Talking Points Memo piece suggests that Trump may be motivated after being roasted by President Obama at a White House Correspondents Dinner. But his followers are just getting warmed up. Violence feels good to them.
A friend posted Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC timeline of escalating violence at Trump rallies. This Week, Meet the Press and Face the Nation all presented shorter but similar versions. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich all choked out that they stood by their pledge to support the Republican nominee, but Rubio admitted that it was getting harder every day. Both Cruz and Kasich dodged by insisting Trump is not going to be the nominee.
The Republican pundits all realize that their party is dancing with the devil. On This Week, Donna Brazile laid the blame on Republican dogwhistle politics. Other guests tried to blame the media coverage, but Stephanopoulos pointed out that the press covered Trump, people knew exactly what he was and chose him anyway.
On Meet the Press, Alex Castellanos raised eyebrows by saying that Bernie Sanders is going to be the Democratic nominee, then said, “Whether he’s wearing a man suit or whether he’s wearing a pant suit. … The campaign belongs to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. It’s not Hillary’s campaign. She’s the figurehead. … She’ll end up being the nominee. But it doesn’t fit her at all. How can she sell that in the general?” That was an obvious lead-in to the SNL skit with Hillary morphing into Bernie.
We have two fractured parties, and as I’ve written before, we’re going to have two weak candidates no matter who gets nominated. I’m pulling for Sanders, but he will be weak without the party moderates fully behind him, and because of the Socialism word. Clinton will be weak without the Sanders supporters, who will probably just stay home, or vote Green. Trump will be weak because of his polarizing behavior. Any other Republican will be weak because of the outraged Trump supporters.
But one of them will win.