Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Shutting Trump down in Chicago was a bad idea

The heckler's veto is a dangerous temptation, especially for the left. Heckler's veto is when people shout someone down, keeping them from speaking. It's a really tempting thing for liberals to do. It feels like the things liberals once used to the end of social progress protesting, and speech, and civil disobedience.

But shouting down speech you don't like is not actually fighting for justice. It's technically nonviolent civil disobedience, but what's being protested in this case is not protesting Trump, it's letting Trump speak. Trump is frightening and disgusting, but he gets to speak.

And beyond those ivory tower philosophical concerns, it also won't actually stop Trump in the general. While his reaction this weekend shows it is delaying Trump from pivoting to moderation, I don't think that was ever really going to happen in a credible way. Instead shutting him down has done him a great service: feeding into the ridiculous conservative victim narrative gives right-wing purists a rout back to supporting him. Now they can rationalize supporting Trump while keeping their own pride intact - it's no longer about this insufficiently conservative Trump, it's about the principle of giving the increasingly dangerous liberals what for! As it was, a Trump nomination would have fractured the GOP. Now, that is less clear to me.

Is Trump's increasingly violent rhetoric towards legitimate protesters largely responsible for the growing violence we're seeing? Absolutely - and he is morally accountable for whatever happens. But these protestors are not covering themselves in glory. Just because Trump is asking for it does not mean liberals should give it to him.

OK. Rant over. Now back to Freepers, who are pretty stoked about this whole growing violence thing. At last, they can argue that liberals hit them first! Onward to righteous beatings/shootings of many a black protester!


  1. Kudos on a well-reasoned post! I am very concerned about speech which festers underground when it can't be aired openly.

    1. Agreed ... "shouting someone down" is ultimately counter-productive.

  2. Trump's own worst enemy is Trump. The protesters should have let him sabotage himself, and not take the spotlight off of him and subsequently make asses out of themselves.

    It's one of the benefits of free speech: wingnuts channel all their anger into shouting at the wind.

  3. Trump needs the protesters, so that he can play his little game of yelling "OUT!!!". By not protesting it takes away his biggest appeal to the Neanderthal RWNJ base he has amassed.

  4. Every so often, I'll get an activism email asking me to sign a petition to denounce Trump or some other Republican for saying something outrageous. My response? Delete. I want them to keep thinking that saying those outrageous things is just fine right up until they lose the election.