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Donald Trump fuels resentment and violence

Photo: Jeff Dean Associated Press At a March 16 political rally in Ohio, Donald Trump predicted a “bloodbath” if he is not elected president again next November.

Fabien Deglise

March 19, 2024 Analysis

  • United States

The insurrection led on January 6, 2021 by supporters of Donald Trump against the Capitol did not allow the populist to remain in power after his electoral defeat confirmed by the polls in the previous weeks. But that doesn’t stop the Republican from continuing to want to take advantage of it.

What should have become a blemish on his resume is now being used as one of the fuels of his new election campaign, becoming the embodiment of the patriotism he claims to want to defend. This exploitation confirms the violence that Donald Trump has decided to infuse into his new attempt to return to the White House, a return that he seems to want to place on a bumpy road paved as much by his resentments as by the electoral fraud that he imagined.

“During his visit to Ohio [last Saturday], Donald Trump's speech had all the incendiary characteristics of his statements originally made on January 6,” summarizes political scientist Robert Pape, specialist, in an interview in political violence at the University of Chicago.

The Republican's political rally has generated a lot of ink since the start of the week, after he predicted a “bloodbath” if he is not elected president again next November. “It will be a bloodbath for everyone, to say the least. This is going to be a bloodbath for the country,” he said. Donald Trump's assertion was part of a tirade on the American auto industry, which he promised to protect against imports of Chinese electric vehicles.

“By preparing his radicalized supporters for a bloodbath, he did the same thing as in 2021 in front of the Capitol when he called on his troops to “fight like animals””, specifies Mr Pope. The expert believes that Donald Trump undoubtedly hopes that his words will produce the same result on November 5 and that they will once again plunge the United States into chaos.

Authoritarianism and dehumanization

In front of the same crowd, in Ohio, he added more by warning that American democracy would simply disappear if he lost. “I don't think there will be other elections, and even less meaningful elections,” he declared, while paradoxically delivering for weeks a speech with authoritarian and anti-democratic overtones announcing above all, if he is re-elected, a new presidency much more violent, more threatening to democratic institutions, more vindictive and more revanchist than the previous one.

“Trump's voice and intentions have become darker since 2016” and his entry onto the American political scene, summarizes Don Moynihan, professor of political science, joined at Georgetown University, in the Washington region. At the time, the former reality TV star promised to “drain the swamp” — meaning: wipe out the Washington elite, who he says are working against the interests of the people. He also attacked immigration from Mexico without skimping on xenophobic remarks to justify the construction of a wall between the two countries.

“Today, his speech is based more and more on a conspiratorial vision of the world, such as that of the “great replacement” of Americans by immigration which he now presents as a source of poisoning the blood of the nation” , continues Mr. Moynihan. The concept refers to Hitler's theories aimed at the beginning of the last century to dehumanize Jews by accusing them of endangering German identity.

In Ohio, Donald Trump gave it a new form by calling “certain immigrants” “animals” and saying they were not “people, in [his] opinion.” This discursive mechanism was exploited by several genocidal regimes during their rise and before their act over the last 80 years.

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Conditioned partisans

“This language is so far removed from that of the United States presidential candidates that it defies easy explanation,” adds Don Moynihan. But it is true that Donald Trump has been conditioning his supporters to this for years, with the help of right-wing media that have normalized the idea that extreme measures are necessary to save the republic. And, in this context, the logical conclusion for him, to all these plots in which he seems to sincerely believe, is that radical action is now justified and that it can go as far as political violence. »

On Sunday, Donald Trump supported this perspective by demanding that former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who co-chaired the congressional commission of inquiry into the January 6 insurrection which demonstrated the responsibility of the ex-president in this riot and having called for his indictment to be dragged to court for having “illegally destroyed [evidence]”, he shouted on his social network. These accusations are made by a former employee of the Trump government, without proof however.

The attack on Ms. Cheney follows Trump's “death penalty” for former Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley after revelations about the work of this military official who, on January 6, 2021, ensured behind the scenes that America's democracy resisted Donald Trump's attempt to undermine the electoral process that day.

Since his defeat, the ex-president has increased threats of prosecution, imprisonment and execution against his detractors. He regularly also asserts that the political and social climate in the United States could ignite if he does not obtain what he wants, namely a return to the White House and an end to the legal proceedings against him. .

In January, he warned of “chaos in the country” if the criminal charges he faces result in convictions. A few days earlier, he had described attempts to remove his name from the ballot because of his participation in the riots against the Capitol as dangerous for the country. The Supreme Court rejected the matter in the last days. “If we are not treated fairly, our country is going to end up with very big problems. Does everyone understand what I'm saying ? I think so. »

Calls for violence which are accompanied by the minimization of the violence of its own, including the rioters of January 6, particularly those who were convicted and thrown in prison by the American justice system. There are 460 of them, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Justice. The ex-president now presents them as “hostages” and promises to give them their freedom once re-elected. “They were treated terribly and very unfairly,” he said in Ohio last Saturday. “You know it, everyone knows it. And we will fix it soon, from the first day we take power. »

A first day which always remains within the framework of possibilities.

During the last week, three polls, including one conducted by Ipsos among 3,356 voters for Reuters, predicted the victory of Joe Biden over Donald Trump, just a few days after the name candidates for this presidential election had been mathematically sealed by the primaries of their parties. But all the polls also keep the Democrat's tiny lead within the margin of error.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116