Phew! That’s a Relief! “Only 10 Percent of Americans, Equally Divided Between Right and Left, Condone Political Violence”

Dana Milbank shares the good news with us:

Preliminary new research from political scientists at the University of Maryland and Louisiana State University suggests that neither side is inherently more violent; about 10 percent of Americans, equally divided between right and left, condone political violence, and only a tiny fraction of them are actually violent.

But the researchers also found that when those prone to violence were read a statement by either Biden or Trump condemning violence, they became 20 percent less likely to support political violence. The more partisan, the greater the effect. “Without a message of anti-violence, the strong partisans are more violent,” Lilliana Mason, an associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, tells me. …

Trump, who likes to say his supporters are “much tougher” than the other side, has routinely spouted violent notions. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” “Vicious dogs.” “Dominate the streets.” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” “Knock the crap out of them.” “Very fine people on both sides.” “I’d like to punch him in the face.” “Enemy of the people.” “Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type.” “The audience hit back. That’s what we need a little more of.”

The potential for political violence has grown as parties polarized by race and racial attitudes. Only leaders’ restraint has avoided a conflagration up to now. But Trump has unleashed the hellhounds, and it won’t be easy to stop.

Socialist Rag Forbes Magazine Joins Far Left WSJ Editorial Board: No, the Violence Isn’t Helping Trump, It’s Hurting Him

Forbes, Does Trump Benefit From Civil Unrest? That’ Not What Polls Show

The unspeakable Kellyanne Conway spoke thusly: “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.”

But Socialist rag Forbes Magazine doesn’t see it that way:

When George Floyd protests began in late May and early June, some pundits similarly speculated that Trump would benefit from the violence; instead, Joe Biden’s lead doubled in the RealClearPolitics averagefrom 5 points in late May to 10 points in late June.

That fits with polling in which a majority of the public was sympathetic to the protesters and their cause and dissatisfied with Trump’s response, which consisted of a hard crackdown, including threats of military intervention and park police gassing protesters outside the White House.

Even now, as protests have raged in the U.S. for months, voters still disfavor Trump’s hardline approach compared to Biden’s message of unity and cooperation; a YouGov poll of 1,001 U.S. adults released Saturday found that 61% prefer “bringing people together” as the solution for unrest, while 39% say “law and order.” 

In that same poll, Biden is favored over Trump by an 8 point margin to handle the protests, which echoes several other polls in recent months that have shown him leading Trump on issues like law and order, crime and civil unrest.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Would Like Orange Man to Stop Inciting the Nutjobs

Addressing the Portland violence, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board begins with eight paragraphs damning the Democrats to hell, in general and in particular, and then adds,

Mr. Trump should tell his supporters to stay away from Portland, Kenosha, Wis., and other cities where rioters reign. Democrats and Mr. Trump’s media opponents will take any opening they can to make alleged vigilantism the story rather than the failure of progressive Democratic governance.

The Editorial Board then sweetens the medicine for Orange Man by adding two more paragraphs, damning the Democrats to hell some more.

Apparently, inciting the nutjobs is bad for Trump’s reelection and, accordingly, bad for the plutocrats.

E.J. Dione Takes Aim at the Garment Renders, While Jennifer Rubin Offers Some Advice

On WaPo’s internet front page, Dione’s piece is titled 2020 Trump looks like a man who knows his show is about to be canceled. If you click the link, the title becomes Don’t let Trump’s distractions bury his record. In fact, the gravamen of the piece is to take issue with other pundits—including more than one of Dione’s own Washington Post colleagues—who have publicly fretted that Trump’s appeal to fear “may be working.”

If, right now, you are feeling a strong urge in your right arm to begin rending your garments, please take a look at what Dione has to say, and you may feel better.

As for me, I take comfort in the polls. I take a lot of comfort in knowing that there are more of us than there are of them.

But the polls are far from 100 percent reliable. And, while there are more of us than there are of them, we still have to show up and vote. I believe we will, but that belief comes down to a matter of faith, which, as we all know, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Rubin sagely advises, “Democrats will not win by cowering in fear that Trump will blame them for the violence he provoked. They win by making the case that Trump has made America more violent and increased racial tension for his own political benefit.”

Even in the age of Trump, it’s easier to sell a true argument than to sell a false argument. The position that Ms. Rubin espouses has the great virtue of being true. 

The Cultists Have Their Martyr: Democrats Need to Get Smart Fast

San Sebastian, by Liberale da Verona (1445-1529), oil on wood, 198×95 cm

His name is not publicly known, as I write, but he was found dead in the Portland disorders last night, wearing the insignia of a far right group.

Violent Trump supporters rolled into Portland last night, spoiling for a fight. They got the fight they wanted.

Desperate to encourage mob violence, Trump tweeted 90 times in the early morning hours.

Meeting violence with violence is counterproductive.

Meeting violence with non-violence works every time. Ask Gandhi. Ask Dr. Martin Luther King. Ask John Lewis. 

Our side needs to get smart.

And that right soon. 

Actually, There Are Two More Key Traits As Well

Thomas F. Pettigrew, Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Social Psochological Perspectives on Trump Supporters

Psychology Today, An Analysis of Trump Supporters Has Identified 5 Key Traits (summarizing the above study)

In case you are wondering, the five identified key traits are

  • authoritarian personality syndrome
  • social dominance orientation
  • prejudice
  • [low] intergroup contact
  • relative [perceived] deprivation

All true, but incomplete, I would submit. My proof is that I have known many intelligent, sophisticated authoritarians, devotees of social dominance, embracers of prejudice, persons living within a social bubble, and folks who thought they were terribly aggrieved and persecuted because they only made half a million dollars a year.

This, I would submit, demonstrates that people with the five characteristics don’t also have to be stupid and gullible. These additional qualities, along with the others, are required to turn people into compleat Trump cultistsL kow intelligence and gullibility.

It has something to do, I think, with the “idiocy of rural life” that results from the fact that the smarter people tended to leave and the less intelligent people tended to stay.

Pollyanna’s Take on the Convention

Pollyanna called today, to tell me she watched the shit show, because she knew I couldn’t take it. I responded that that was mighty white of her.

After a long to-do over my objectionable language, Pollyanna–who has trouble with sarcasm and irony– returned to the main issue, and shared four points.

The TV Ratings

Trump’s “profoundly accepting” speech last night scored 14.1 across six networks: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, MSNBC, and CNN. The comparable number for Biden’s speech—apples to apples—wa 17.5.

That means, BTW, that out of every hundred TV sets watching something at the relevant time, 14.1 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively, were watching the speeches.

Dementia Cured

Joe Biden has apparently achieved the miraculous cure for his dementia.


The Repubs apparently decided to take a pass on passing out obvious Russian propaganda against Biden.

But Over the Top Claims Remained

Despite the dementia and Ukrainegate developments, Trump and the rest of his Merry Men continued to attack Biden in multitudinous ways, all untethered to any reality. It has not occurred to them that this is a counterproductive form of argumentation.

Keep Your Hand Upon the Throttle and Your Eye Upon the Rail

Skipped the climactic part of the shit show, just as I had skipped the earlier parts of it. The talking heads will tell me all about it in the morning. 

At this point, we have it on good authority—and it’s probably even true—that the major danger lies in Trump’s demagoguing the violence at some of the protesters and scaring the shit out a fairly small percentage of the remaining persuadables. See, for example, Sarah Longwwell, Is Kenosha a Warning for the Biden Campaign? Listening to swing state voters in Arizona and North Carolina.

But, so far, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, both flaw candidates, both flawed candidates who needed to rise to the occasion, have risen to the occasion. They have kept their hand upon the throttle and their eye upon the rail. They need to keep it up. 

Ron Brownstein Exhaustively, Persuasively Enumerates the Unhatched Poultry

So, here’s a read for the second night of the shitshow:

Ronald Brownstein, Trump’s coalition is narrowing

I could quote it at length. But just read it for yourself, if so inclined. 

As Brownstein writes, the Republican Party’s “steady losses in municipal, gubernatorial and congressional elections since [2016]—a retreat centered on the rejection of the Trump-defined GOP in suburbia—has pointedly demonstrated the limits of the combative vision the President is celebrating at this week’s convention.”

RESOLVED, We Stand for Nothing

As Adopted by the Republican National Committee


WHEREAS, The Republican National Committee (RNC) has significantly scaled back the size and scope of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte due to strict restrictions on gatherings and meetings, and out of concern for the safety of convention attendees and our hosts; 

WHEREAS, The RNC has unanimously voted to forego the Convention Committee on Platform, in appreciation of the fact that it did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement; 

WHEREAS, All platforms are snapshots of the historical contexts in which they are born, and parties abide by their policy priorities, rather than their political rhetoric; 

WHEREAS, The RNC, had the Platform Committee been able to convene in 2020, would have undoubtedly unanimously agreed to reassert the Party’s strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration; 

WHEREAS, The media has outrageously misrepresented the implications of the RNC not adopting a new platform in 2020 and continues to engage in misleading advocacy for the failed policies of the Obama-Biden Administration, rather than providing the public with unbiased reporting of facts; and 

WHEREAS, The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today; therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention; 

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention calls on the media to engage in accurate and unbiased reporting, especially as it relates to the strong support of the RNC for President Trump and his Administration; and 

RESOLVED, That any motion to amend the 2016 Platform or to adopt a new platform, including any motion to suspend the procedures that will allow doing so, will be ruled out of order.