A Donald Trump supporter dragged a protester out of a rally in Miami today. A large man in a red polo knocked Ariel Rojas, a senior at Florida International University and a pro-immigration activist, to the ground and dragged by force out of the room before walking back into the crowd with his arms raised. Onlookers shouted “USA! USA!” rather than stopping the violence.
Many Trump supporters come from the same constituency that responded to Republican dog-whistle politics and the Southern Strategy (welfare queens, state’s rights). They like him because he says out loud what they believe – that immigrants come here to commit crimes while abusing the US social safety net. Other conservative candidates dog-whistle this message with rhetoric about makers and takers and sanctuary cities. Trump backers want it said more openly and clearly.
It’s not just immigrants and foreigners. At a Mobile, Alabama rally supporters yelled “White Power” during Trump’s speech. This of course does not make Trump himself a racist, though his campaign manager said of the incident “I know there were 30-plus thousand people in that stadium. They were very receptive to the message of ‘making America great again’ because they want to be proud to be Americans again.” He also praised the “passion” of two men in Boston who responded to his message by beating and urinating on a homeless Hispanic man. And in 1991 he said “Laziness is a trait in blacks.”
Now Trump’s goons – really can’t think of another word – have begun to violently suppress speech in opposition to their views.
I wonder how this would have turned out had Mr. Rojas been armed. Under Florida’s “stand your ground” law he might have defended himself by shooting the man in the red polo without having to worry about prosecution. Except for one thing: Mr. Rojas is not white, and his assailant was not black.