Trump and Political Violence

In his two 4th of July speeches, President dipshit really upped the insanity.  As others have reported it seems that Trump has now turned his culture war ire from immigrants and foreigners to who he thinks of as “domestic enemies.”  This is specifically targeted at Black Lives Matter protestors and the vague and ill defined “cancel culture” but can also be broadened to include anyone not on the nationalist right.  Trump’s dehumanization of protestors and his claim to be standing up for all that is good and great for America is not just a pathetic attempt to revive his failing re-election campaign, but I believe his rhetoric will get people killed.  I have been thinking for awhile now that we will probably see a steady increase in right wing violence as the Black Lives Matter protests continue, Trumps campaign continues to falter and he keeps amping up the rhetoric and the COVID-19 pandemic keeps raging.  This is a perfect storm for the paranoid fringe to move from words to action.

This also got me thinking about past episodes of political violence as a Presidential election nears.  Using the Global Terrorism Database I looked at the number of terrorist incidents 3 months prior to a Presidential election in the U.S. going back to 1972

Screen Shot 2020-07-05 at 6.14.26 PM

A couple things jump out to me from this chart.  First, the very low number of incidents in the 2000s and the huge jump from 2012 to 2016 where there were 30 different terrorist incidents (the data includes failed attacks and well as successful attacks).  Trump’s rhetoric is likely to cause more stochastic terrorism as we approach November and I wouldn’t be surprised if we achieve another dubious milestone during his presidency – record levels of political violence.

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