April 30, 2016

I've argued in the past that there might not be much unrest at the Republican convention in the event of a convention challenge to Donald Trump -- I don't think the pro-Trump forces, as tough as they think they are, want to mix it up with riot cops using military-grade weapons. On the other hand, I could imagine foolishly riot-minded (but unarmed) anti-Trump lefties showing up in Cleveland with mayhem on their minds. In that case, the pro-Trump tough guys might have foes they don't fear.

I say that after reading this:

Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County [California] amphitheater where Donald Trump held a rally Thursday night, stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate.

Traffic came to a halt as a boisterous crowd walked in the roadway, some waving American and Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car.

One Costa Mesa police officer was struck in the head by a rock thrown by a protestor, authorities said. The officer wasn't injured because he was protected from by his riot helmet.

And this:

When Chris Cox rolls into Cleveland in mid-July with other motorcycle-riding supporters of Donald Trump, he plans to celebrate the billionaire's coronation as the Republican presidential nominee. He also counts on joining protests if a battle over the nomination ensues....

Bikers For Trump is part of a diverse array of groups coordinating to hold thousands-strong protests and marches if the real-estate mogul is denied outright victory at the Republican Party’s nominating convention in Cleveland.

The risks of confrontation and violence surrounding Trump events were highlighted again on Thursday, when around 20 people were arrested following clashes between anti-Trump protesters and police outside a rally for the candidate in California....

Citizens for Trump co-founder Tim Selaty says he will have activists filming events inside the convention center and broadcasting them live on social media "to document every move." ...

Truckers for Trump says it has 4,000 members and that more than 1,000 are committed to driving their big rigs to Cleveland.

The pro-Trump groups say they are not seeking confrontation but fear that opponents of their candidate might start trouble.

I don't get the point of anti-Trump riots. Even top officials of Trump's own party think he's going to lose the general election. Protest him, sure -- but is violence necessary? Make your point and let him lose.

If anything, unrest makes his voters more inclined to turn out for him:

Monmouth University was polling Republicans in Florida as the events in Chicago unfolded, and so they added a question to their survey. “As you may know, Donald Trump cancelled a rally in Chicago Friday night where protesters and his supporters got into confrontations,” Monmouth asked. “Does what happened there and Trump’s response to it make you more likely or less likely to support Trump, or does it have no impact on your vote for the Republican nomination?”

The responses? Eighty-eight percent of those who replied said it either made no difference or made them support Trump more.

And the general public is somewhat more likely to blame the anti-Trump side than Trump himself, as a March CBS poll noted:

Most registered voters overall have heard a lot about these incidents of violence, and they are more likely to blame the protesters and Trump supporters equally. Forty-three percent of registered voters blame both sides, while 29 percent of voters think it's the protesters who are mostly to blame for these incidents and 23 percent mostly blame Donald Trump's supporters.

The public is wary of Trump, so he'll share the blame for any unrest. But violence doesn't help the anti-Trump side -- at best, the public feels disgust at both sides. Oh, and also: You're taking your life in your hand and putting others, possibly including innocent people, at risk. So what's the point?

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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