Seeing the way Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump treats people when there’s a crowd around reminds me of a school bully.
(And thanks, in part, to TV news networks, that’s always the case now. Never has the news media covered a candidate so closely and given a campaign so much free publicity. When this foolishness started, remember, Trump had to hire unemployed actors to fill the room when he announced his candidacy.)
It was the kid in school who’d shove someone around or call a smaller kid a name when surrounded by his buddies before the first bell rang. Or, if it was in elementary school, maybe it occurred during recess.
That, in effect, is what Trump does at his rallies. He picks on a protester or a member of the press and then incites the crowd into either shouting at the person who has “offended” Trump’s sensibilities or even shoves or hits her. Yes, in three cases that I’ve seen, the victim of the bullying has been a woman.
Trump supporters have ganged up on people who don’t care for him on social media, too, but GOP voters are not alone there.
Instances of Hillary Clinton backers lashing out at her Democratic primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, and his supporters on Facebook are easy to find. The Vermont senator yells loudly at debates and rallies and can take care of himself.
But some of the former first lady’s ardent advocates seem enraged when they notice a Sanders fan trying to engage them in a discussion. Others seem to think it’s their job to decide who should be a “Hillary” supporter and verbally tear the hide off people they place on that list.
I’m not blaming former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem for all the boorish behavior — Albright since has apologized for her early statements that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” She and Steinem occasionally have directed remarks toward young women, whom most polls indicate prefer Bernie Sanders, that seem to imply that those newer voters don’t appreciate their opportunity to help elect the first woman to the U.S. presidency. Steinem, after receiving a backlash for some of her statements, later apologized, saying she didn’t want her remarks to be taken to mean women supporters of Sanders weren’t taking their politics seriously.
On the other hand, I haven’t seen any apologies on Facebook from Hillary Clinton supporters I know who have been downright mean and ugly about Democrats who support Sanders. But I do understand the feeling that some “Bernie” voters may be experiencing when they say they may not back Clinton if she wins the nomination.
I think the 2016 general election is much too important to let the behavior of some Clinton voters keep a Sanders backer from voting Democratic. But I do understand that initial feeling — it’s almost like being at a Trump event.