Trump Protesters: Agent Provocateurs or Punches for Peace?

Inside the Protest That Stopped the Trump Rally, Politico

Donald Trump’s baffling explanation for violence at his campaign rallies, Washington Post

I’m wondering about the purpose of protesting at Trump rallies. It certainly seems unlikely to make a statistically significant number of Trump supporters change positions. Same for anyone who doesn’t already see Trump as “risky” (for the country, the GOP, for whomever).

Even if the point is to agitate against Trump supporters (i.e. provoke a response), I have to raise the same questions.

Maybe the point is to provoke Trump and Trump’s more extreme supporters into behavior that publicly destroys the Trump “brand”, i.e. makes his campaign toxic for donors, career campaign staff, etc. Get more video/audio of protesters being punched, of racist/sexist language/gestures from Trump supporters.

If *that’s* the goal, then I hope the protesters are well-organized, well-disciplined and strongly motivated, because they will need to take punches while not throwing them. And they’ll need excellent PR/journalism support.

I’m comparing this in my head to the protests and rallies (and boycotts) of the Civil Rights movement and opposing American involvement in Vietnam. There, the protests had a more measurable impact because (a) they created discomfort for politicians and voters, (b) these protests/rallies/boycotts were tied to a set of successful PR/outreach campaigns (see the history of the Rosa Parks story), and maybe most importantly, (c) they were working *against* something that was directly and tangibly at odds with widespread American values.

That’s not the case with the Trump rallies. So if the purpose of the Trump protests is not to provoke the Trump Campaign into a public relations meltdown, what does one do with a protest at a Trump rally?

What does one even protest? Certainly not the legality of Trump’s campaign: his right to run for office, his followers’ right to support him, even his right to voice his most extreme campaign platforms.

What about protesting Trump’s campaign and rallies as inciting violence? One can point to inflammatory rhetoric. Especially at Trump rallies, the Trump campaign (personnel, narrative, etc.) either tolerates or at times even condones aggressive physical confrontation with any non-White/non-female persons openly opposed to Trump.

Is that the goal — to dissuade the Trump campaign from its open tolerance of those who abuse non-Whites/non-Males (physically, verbally, through economic/social discrimination, etc.)?

If so, they’d have to follow up with a Chicago-style disruption at most major Trump rallies. That kind of coordination and effort is hard. And unlike the Civil Rights/Vietnam protests, it’s hard to link the protests to a PR-appropriate legal or moral issue.

And if that’s the only approach available, that will *certainly* bring out the more verbally/physically extreme Trump supporters. That may already be happening, depending on whether you believe Russia Today (“Twitter group vows to protect Donald’s supporters following clashes & stage attack”)

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