Last night a group of anti-Trump protestors in San Jose seemed to go out of their way to reinforce Donald Trump’s narrative that the U.S. is being overrun by alien forces intent on its demise.
In the early evening a couple of hundred protestors had gathered outside the San Jose Convention Center where Trump was addressing his supporters. Periscope feeds showed that it began as a garden-variety anti-Trump protest. Some shouting and chanting. Nothing violent or alarming.
But that changed when the Trump rally ended and his supporters left the convention center.
Small groups of protestors chased Trump supporters and surrounded them. They taunted the Trumpsters and, in a few cases, physically attacked them with eggs and bottles.
Better yet, (from Trump’s perspective) many were waving Mexican flags or wearing sombreros. (That’s right: sombreros.) Some held pro-Bernie signs.
Curiously, the San Jose Police were nowhere to be seen for nearly a half hour after the violence began and was broadcast on national television.
Neither the Trump campaign nor the RNC could have planned a better spectacle to support the the story they’re peddling to America’s voters.
The San Jose Protests Were Stupidly Counter-Strategic
Here’s how Trump will use the violence to his advantage:
1) Mexicans, he will claim, are as dangerous as he’s been saying since his announcement speech last June. They are indeed rapists and murderers—just watch the footage! Even those here legally and native born Americans of Mexican decent are, in fact, a fifth column intent on “destroying our country.”
2) Their violence, he will continue, is orchestrated by the “radical left” backed by the Hillary campaign or the DNC. (Republican operative Rick Tyler already began hawking this line last night on MSNBC.)
3) Whereas Hillary did a great job yesterday of positioning Trump as “dangerous,” the Donald will flip this argument on its head: “You’re calling me dangerous; your people are the dangerous, violent ones!”
4) Trump will implicity (or explicitly) call for vigilante forces to “protect” his supporters. “If the police aren’t there to protect us, we’ll have to do it ourselves.” This will, of course, lead to more violence.
5) Amidst increasing violence Trump will stress the need for law and order and position himself as the Strong Man who can provide it. This is a classic right-wing strategy used by everyone from Adolph Hitler to Richard Nixon.
As someone terrified of a Trump presidency, it blows my mind and breaks my heart to see such political idiocy on display.
This is not to say that the protestors aren’t justified in their anger against Trump and his worldview.
But violence doesn’t work. And if we are serious about preventing neo-Fascism from taking hold in America, we must do all we can to resist it.