Donald Trump was forced to cancel a political rally tonight in Chicago, and it has exacerbated the rift between the conservative and progressive viewpoints in this country to the detriment of all.
Some on the right are starting to point fingers at MoveOn.org in a typical effort to demonize the group, and some on the left are doing the same for Donald Trump, blaming him for the atmosphere permeating his rallies. With one protester punched in the face earlier this week, the situation is only going to escalate in the future.
Neither side is fully correct, and, as usual, the issue is more complex and multi-faceted than it might first appear. Many of the people attending Trump rallies are genuinely interested in hearing what he has to say. They should be commended for their political interest and participation in the democratic process.
Protesters have been genuinely upset at some of the blunt statements by Mr. Trump, often going right to the edge of bigotry, without crossing any red lines. His “telling it like it is” approach does not shy away from observations usually hinted at but never spoken out loud.
One wonders how this will play out in the future. What happens if future Trump rallies are shut down? On the other hand, what if they are held, and real violence breaks out? How do Mr. Trump’s political interests intersect with this new situation?
With Mr. Trump poised to become the nominee of the Republican Party will he try to tamp down the controversy and become less scary for independent voters and the general electorate?
These developments offer a real chance for Mr. Trump to transcend his political base and show responsible leadership. If he can successfully navigate these political shoals, he could even make himself more acceptable to the establishment wing of the Republican Party. The next couple of days will be critical.