It’s not unusual to hear about random, unfortunate terminology being used during an election cycle. Somebody will say something about getting somebody in their crosshairs and the other side will seize the moment to say their opposition was inciting violence.
It happens. In politics, you grab whatever you can to gain an advantage.
However, when speakers decide to make statements that conjure specific images in the minds of those in attendance, it lapses beyond irresponsible, especially in light of how contentious and nasty this election cycle has been.
Conservative commentator Wayne Allyn Root, describing his fantasy of a made-for-TV movie about Clinton and aide Huma Abedin, said, “We all get our wish. The ending is like ‘Thelma and Louise.” In the 1991 film, the title characters drive over a cliff to their death. Root’s line drew cheers from rally attendees.
Root’s call is the latest elevation in the increasingly extreme and violent rhetoric directed by Trump and his surrogates at Clinton at campaign events.
I would really like to see a return to a day when campaigns are about promoting ideas and laying out policy, not this divisive, ignorant rhetoric that is now more common than not.
Trump’s campaign, in particular, has been investigated several times because of the tendency of those speaking for Trump to step outside the bounds of responsible communication.
Trump adviser and regular rally speaker Al Baldasaro was investigated by the Secret Service this summer after saying in an interview, “Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” In August, the Secret Service reportedly spoke to the Trump campaign multiple times about the Republican nominee’s suggestion that “Second Amendment people” could prevent Clinton from stocking the federal bench with her appointments should she be elected.
On Wednesday, a Trump supporter brought an effigy of Clinton with a noose around her neck to a campaign rally in North Carolina.
And none of that was called for.
At this point, I’m not completely convinced that Trump has the intellectual capacity to understand why there are certain things that should never be said, or that if there is a point to be made, it can be made without inflaming the uglier emotions in his loyal fan base.
We’re eight days away from stopping all of this.
Then the real pain begins.