I have been having fun with some of the strange emails that I have received from presidential candidates with their offers and commentaries on the state of the campaign. But I happen to think that a couple that arrived this week are more serious.
I am not a Ted Cruz fan, but his missives certainly gave rise to serious thought. This one arrived on Monday:
Violent rallies, verbal assaults, social media intimidation, personal harassment…and now DEATH THREATS:
Vote Trump Or Else: Roger Stone Threatens Angry Trump Fans To Visit Delegate HOTEL ROOMS – Red State
Delegates face death threats from Trump supporters – Politico
GOPers face Wave of Threats from Trump Fans Incensed by Delegate Counts – Talking Points Memo
If you don’t support Donald Trump — and you have the guts to speak out against him — you are a prime target of Donald Trump and his henchman. That’s why I’ve asked my campaign to establish a Delegate Defense Fund — and I’m asking you to help me fund it.
Here’s the simple truth: instead of playing by the rules, Donald Trump and his allies have decided their best path to power is to intimidate opponents and harass our delegates. … I’m creating the Delegate Defense Fund — to support any delegates and alternates who finds themselves under attack from Donald Trump and his political bullies. … The threats are so serious, that part of the convention plan now has to include security at the hotel of every delegate!
And here is Tuesday’s edition:
Reports keep coming in from across the country of bullying phone calls, frightening emails, and threatening social media posts… You see: Donald Trump has a consistent pattern of inciting violence. This election is unlike any we’ve ever seen…the future of our nation is at stake and tensions are high. So, we have no choice but to take these threats seriously.
Please if you have any information — call the Delegate Defense HOTLINE at (832)-290-7368 to report any harassment or potential attacks.
Instead of playing by the rules, Donald Trump and his goon squad have decided their best path to power is to intimidate opponents and harass our delegates.
These Cruz solicitations come with requests for money to support the “Delegate Defense Fund.” Given that nearly all emails from the presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican, ask for money, it is hard not be jaded about this stuff. The Cruz campaign may take whatever money they raise off of the threats issue for election purposes like ads or G-O-T-V. A lot of spending options, I suppose, might come under the heading of “delegate defense.”
But be that as it may, the threat of violence has been reported often enough by the media to have some credibility. Trump himself suggested that there would be riots in Cleveland if he was denied the nomination. He has since recanted, but that came in the weaselly sort of manner he has a way of doing.
Perhaps now that his glide path to the nomination is becoming more apparent, the threats by Stone and unnamed others will dissipate. Recent Trump rallies seem to have experienced a reduced level of protest and violent reaction that marked earlier events. Maybe they have learned something.
There was another story this week about “Bikers for Trump.” Nothing against bikers. They have their right to free speech too. But the story was about how at least some in that group, which claims 30,000 members, consider themselves a back-up force for police departments at Trump rallies. Most of us would want that sort of work left to law enforcement professionals.
It is a free country and people should be able to exercise their rights without intimidation. But Trump affirmatively or with a wink-and-a-nod condones these intimidation tactics, and he has made no public attempt to tone things down and let the political debate proceed in a rational and civil manner. The fish stinks from the head.
I don’t think he has any interest in toning things down. The name calling continues. The vitriolic attacks continue.
The Clinton-Trump campaign of 2016 is going to be just awful, and the after-effects will last for years to come. Let’s hope there is a way to pick up the broken pieces of democracy when this is all over with.