Most of America’s 50 states do not have laws prohibiting side arms at polling stations. There was no surprise then when one man was arrested at a voting precinct in South Florida Tuesday for pulling his gun out on another voter as the argument they were having, escalated. The perpetrator, later identified as a Trump supporter, was arrested and charged. One witness reported that he was encouraging the other voter to vote for Donald Trump.
This particular case reported by the WPTV is perhaps less important that the greater narrative of mal-behaviour by supporters of the Republican candidate, and incitement of violence by the man himself. Trump has repeatedly called for the incarceration of Mrs Clinton; ‘Lock Her Up’ has become somewhat of an unofficial slogan for his campaign, making its way onto the hats and t-shirts worn by his supporters. It even trended as a hashtag.
He caused a uproar in August when he allegedly suggested that “the second amendment (the constitutional clause sanctioning the baring of arms) people” could ‘take care’ of Clinton, in protest to her stance on gun control. To which he was wholesomely applauded.
‘Lock Her Up’ has become somewhat of an unofficial slogan for his campaign
Testament to the hatred and disaffection generated in this election campaign, are the altercations between supporters of each camp, and even within parties. It was widely covered in January when Trump called upon his supporters at a rally to “knock the crap” out of hecklers. These aren’t the only controversies Donald J. has had to traverse by any means but it provides a flavour of his inflammatory nature, that he either cannot avoid or simply revels in. Surely these actions and discourse are not conducive with American democracy?
But violence is nothing new to US presidential elections. It bears remembering that the Civil War was catalysed by the Southern states refusing to accept the results of the 1860 election. Trump may come across as an extremist of sorts, but contemporary standards of political discourse, but elections are emotional times, especially when your entire campaign hinges on the disaffection of the working class. In this sense, nothing is new.
Will anything come of Trump’s furied campaign? If he wins then perhaps this will herald a new age. Campaigns are long and bloodied, but the security of taking office and reality of responsibility often calms rhetoric and attitude. It is difficult to assume that Trump would follow this trend however. He is not a politician. He has not been polished by years in political office. Trump’s new America would be different, but not alien.