San Jose’s riot tells us about the Left, Trump, & the coming violence

Summary: The violence after the recent Trump rally reveals so much about our America. Let’s start with the facts, and then look at the even more interesting reactions by the Left. It’s a story of political theory, myopia, and hypocrisy.

Bloody Trump supporter, after the San Jose event
From video by journalist Tim Poole. Also seen by Melanie Woodrow (ABC7).

Journalists watching the riot at Trump’s event in San Jose reported with photos and videos.

“Donald Trump supporters were mobbed and assaulted by protesters on Thursday night … The violence broke out after the event in San Jose wrapped up just before 8 p.m. Some Trump supporters were punched. One woman wearing a “Trump” jersey was cornered, spat on, and pelted with eggs and water bottles. Police held back at first but eventually moved in. …several protesters were arrested and one officer was assaulted in the melee.” {NBC News.}

Protesters waved Mexican flags and one could be seen burning an American flag, with another burning Trump’s “Make America Great Hat.” Some chanted “F— Donald Trump” and “Donald Trump has got to go” … As Trump supporters exited the rally, protesters shouted insults at them and accused them of being racists …At one point, a man was sucker-punched and knocked to the ground and police arrested his assailant. In another instance, demonstrators closed in on a Trump supporter and started punching him in the face… {CNN’s report.}

Katrina Pierson, national spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, gave us one perspective on this: “Media complained that I say anti-Trump protesters are anti-American. They are flying the Mexican flag & burning the American flag tonight.” {Source: Twitter.}

Bien pensant Vox journalist Emmett Rensin gives us a liberal’s perspective on these events. It tells us much about their view of America, and what they consider the boundaries of free speech and political thought.

“Advice: If Trump comes to your town, start a riot.” on June 3, 2016.

“Let’s be clear: It’s never a shame to storm the barricades set up around a fascist.” on June 3, 2016.

After people followed Rensin’s advice, he justified his statements.  First, it’s everyone’s fault! He gives passive aggressive support to the rioters.

“What, we can’t repeat every day that a man is a unique threat to the fabric of society without some people taking us up on that?” {June 3, 2016.}

“And listen: I do tend to agree Trump is atypically threatening. That’s why I’m not going to condemn rioters.” {June 3, 2016.}

Rensin conflates “protest” with “violent riots”, a standard line of defense for liberal hypocrites.

“This is the same thing. Instinct is to concern troll people protesting as an affront to democracy and the rule of law. It’s a bad instinct.” {June 3, 2016.}

It’s ok for Rensin’s team to wreck other people’s property. Again, he doesn’t say if the right can also legitimately do so.

“It’s very simple: All violence against human lives and bodies is categorically immoral.
Property destruction is vastly more negotiable.” {June 3, 2016.}

Rensin explains that conservatives pointing at inconvenient facts are wrong (that’s the essence of political correctness).

I am looking for a charitable interpretation of this tweet {June 3, 2016.}:


The Left’s power to designate someone as “Hitler” justifies violence!  Can the Right designate someone as “Stalin”, justifying political violence? Rensin doesn’t say.

“Listen, if Trump is Hitler then you’ve got no business condemning rioters. If he isn’t, you’ve got no business pretending normal is better.” {June 3, 2016.}

Other perspectives on the San Jose riot

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo gave the “blame the victims” defense:  “At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign.” (Source: AP.) But perhaps the best analysis of Rensin’s thinking was by Maximilian Forte (Prof anthropology, Concordia U, Montreal).


For more about the Left’s role as the unique wielder of domestic violence, see Michael Tracey’s “A quick thought on Trump and the justifiability of political violence, drawing on earlier discussions” (he’s a professor of media studies at U CO-Boulder). Also see this leftist paean to violence by the left: “Riots are destructive, dangerous, and scary — but can lead to serious social reforms” by German Lopez at Vox, 30 April 2016. He doesn’t mention if violence by those on the right also leads to “serious social reforms”.

He trots out the hoary “the American Revolution was good, so my violent riots are justified” defense. He doesn’t mention if that justifies violent protests by the right.


Many on the Left casually support violence to advance their goals, often without clear thought about how limits, the likely responses by their foes and the government, or the effect on society if political violence becomes commonplace.

The big question (so far ignored): are we starting a new cycle of political violence in America?

For more about the Left’s use of violence in Campaign 2016: The Left disrupts Trump’s rally. More of this might put him in the WH and The Left attacks US politics by shutting down Trump’s events.

Some consequences: a statement by Vox

On Thursday night, Emmett Rensin, the deputy editor of Vox’s first person section, sent a series of tweets that, among other things, urged people to riot if Donald Trump comes to their town. We at Vox do not take institutional positions on most questions, and we encourage our writers to debate and disagree. But direct encouragement of riots crosses a line between expressing a contrary opinion and directly encouraging dangerous, illegal activity. We welcome a variety of viewpoints, but we do not condone writing that could put others in danger. In this case, Emmett’s tweets violated Vox’s standards and Emmett has been suspended as a consequence.

For More Information

This is a follow-up to The Left attacks US politics by shutting down Trump’s events.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See these posts about political violence, about Campaign 2016, and especially these…

  1. How to stage effective protests in the 21st century.
  2. Martin Luther King Jr’s advice to us about using violence to reform America.
  3. Why America has militarized its police and crushes protests.
  4. Why don’t political protests work? What are the larger lessons from our repeated failures?
  5. About civil disobedience: Thoreau reminds us about one of the few tools we have to control the government.

4 thoughts on “San Jose’s riot tells us about the Left, Trump, & the coming violence”

  1. Pingback: San Jose’s riot tells us about the Left, Trump, & the coming violence | Rifleman III Journal

    1. DC Kinder,

      “Massive” protests in Ireland? I’m skeptical that many in Ireland have any idea what policies Trump advocates, and have even the slightest knowledge of American populism.

      If they do get thousands to march (I’m skeptical of that, too), it will show that they’re sheep — doing what they’re told. Bet that will get Ireland’s aspiring tyrants thinking…

      Also, got to love the unnamed “Gael insider” who said “mad as Donald Trump”. Yep, those who disagree with him must be “mad”! The buzzwords of Left and Right are fun substitutes for thinking. What are all those brain cells for, when one can just hear, obey, and march on command!

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