Trump protests and media exploitation

For the Globe and Mail, I wrote about anti-Trump protests and the potential danger of cable news exploitation as they become increasingly violent. An excerpt:

Mr. Trump’s seeming encouragement of riots, along with inflammatory remarks like offering to pay the legal fees of fans who attack demonstrators, had led some to condemn anti-Trump protesters as playing into the GOP front-runner’s hands. “Black Lives Matter protesters may help elect Donald Trump president,” argued James Robbins in USA Today. Other pundits stated that demonstrations were a waste of time and energy, a botched election strategy that only gives Mr. Trump fodder to demonize his opponents.

What those who condemn anti-Trump protests miss is that the protests are about more than Donald Trump. They are not about electoral strategy, but everyday survival. They reflect concerns and grievances from those who are already suffering under local officials whose practices mirror Mr. Trump’s proposed policies: aggressive police who persecute black citizens, xenophobes who cry for Latino workers to leave the U.S., bigots who see every Muslim as a potential terrorist.

It is not a coincidence that the first major Trump disruptions were in St. Louis and Chicago, cities that have been in near constant protest for two years against sanctioned acts of local brutality.

At the St. Louis rally, which I attended, the faces were familiar. They were the same protesters who took to the streets in Ferguson: a diverse array of activists – black, Muslim, Latino, white – who saw in Mr. Trump a familiar threat elevated to a national level. They protested not only against Mr. Trump, but for each other – to proclaim that his hateful rhetoric would not be tolerated and that citizens would protect each other were he to come to power. Theirs was not an act of aggression, but a declaration of defence.

Read the whole thing, The trump card for U.S. cable news: Riots, ratings and rallies, at the Globe and Mail.

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