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Popularizing Politics: The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
3

The Meta-violence of Trumpism

Samira Saramo

Abstract

The rise of Donald Trump in United States politics relied on violence. This article examines uses of physical and rhetorical violence in the context of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election campaign to analyze the emergence of a new social movement: “Trumpism.” Though its meaning and utility are fluid and contested, Trumpism offers a useful lens for viewing a new phase of U.S. pop politics. Defined in terms of populism, strongman politics, and identitarianism, Trumpism employed emotional evocations of violence—fear, threats, hatred, and division—which at times erupted into physical displays of aggression. The article argues that the impact of Trumpism can be understood through the lens of meta-violence, evidenced by extreme emotions, social antagonisms, and international tensions.

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  • i Full transcript available at “Read the Full Transcript of Donald Trump’s ‘Second Amendment’ Speech, (...)
  • ii Julian Zelizer, “The scary road that Donald Trump is walking,” CNN Online, August 10, 2016, accesse (...)

1On August 9, 2016, in the thick of the United States presidential election campaign, Republican candidate Donald Trump warned supporters at a North Carolina rally that his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s election and her following Supreme Court appointments would result in strict gun control. He cautioned, “nothing you can do, folks.” After a slight pause, he continued: “Although the Second Amendment people—maybe there is, I don’t know.”i The statement made many media and election watchers gasp: What did he say? Did Trump suggest that “Second Amendment people”—meaning gun activists and enthusiasts—could or should stop Hillary Clinton and Democratic judges from limiting gun rights, presumably with their guns and force? Or did Trump simply mean that these people would peacefully, democratically organize to oppose such measures? Although there is ambiguity and disagreement about Trump’s meaning, as Julian Zelizer observed at the time: “what’s most notable is that at this point in the campaign so many people don’t have confidence that he didn’t mean to refer to the threat of assassinating her.”ii

  • iii Johan Galtung, “Cultural Violence” in Journal of Peace Research 27, no. 3 (August 1990): 291–305.
  • iv Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, (...)

2Why did masses of people around the world interpret Trump’s words as a threat of violence? The rise of Donald Trump and the popular movement that surrounds him has relied on emotional evocations of violence—fear, threats, aggression, hatred, and division. In order to better understand this phenomenon and the development of pop politics more broadly, this article analyzes the emergence of “Trumpism” in the United States through the lens of violence. I frame Trumpism as a social movement characterized by populism, strongman politics, and identitarianism. At times during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election campaign, political tensions resulted in outbursts of physical violence and aggression. More often, however, election violence took on more discrete forms. Trump utilized subtle and not-so-subtle rhetorical violence, which served to mutually strengthen populism and cultural violence.iii In addition to these raw and dramatic moments, I argue that the impact of Trumpism can be understood through the lens of a prevailing meta-violence, evidenced by extreme emotions, social antagonisms, and international tensions. The article pairs an analysis of meta-violence with “slow violence,”iv or the long-term consequences of a divided nation and far-right politics espousing nativism and environmentally hostile policies. While centering on Donald Trump’s character and his support movement, Trumpism can only be understood in the context of broader U.S. and global socio-politics. In order to begin to untangle the magnitude of the rise of Trumpism, it is essential to examine violence that is explicitly said and done, as well as violence that remains just out of grasp but affective.

1. Feeling Violence

  • v Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny” (1919), in The Complete Psychological Works, 17 (1917–1919): An Infant (...)
  • vi Sarah de Leeuw, “Tender Grounds: Intimate Visceral Violence in British Columbia’s Colonial Geograph (...)
  • vii Nixon, 3.
  • viii Ibid.

3The notion of “meta-violence” evokes a multifaceted violence that looms over a moment, a space, or a phenomenon. However, meta-violence has not been integrated sufficiently into the vocabulary and theory of violence studies, as pursued by social scientists and humanists, among them cultural studies scholars, political scientists, geographers, and historians. I argue that the concept well serves the study of political, social, and cultural movements, such as Trumpism. Meta-violence, as conceived of here, is closely bound to emotion. It harkens to a Freudian uncanny feeling of fear, threat, and danger, and the unsettling convergence of dark pasts and presents.v Meta-violence in its omnipresence is also closely related to the concept of “slow violence” proposed by Rob Nixon and built upon effectively by Sarah de Leeuw.vi In 2011, analyzing the long-term impact of environmental calamity, Nixon emphasized the urgent need to “complicate conventional assumptions about violence as a highly visible act that is newsworthy because it is event focused, time bound, and body bound.”vii Meta-violence, like slow violence, can be hard to put your finger on. Nixon argued, “we need to account for how the temporal dispersion of slow violence affects the way we perceive and respond to a variety of social afflictions.”viii We need to look carefully at the workings of Trumpism and trace its trajectory through society and the environment to identify its subtle, compounding violences. de Leeuw has taken Nixon’s framework further, analyzing slow, discrete violence on the lived experiences of people in the context of neo-colonialism. Such an approach reminds us of the intimate and overarching impacts of sociocultural division, structural violence, and inequities, befitting a study of Trumpism.

  • ix Galtung, 291.
  • x Ibid.

4Meta-violence also incorporates “cultural violence,” defined by Johan Galtung as “those aspects of culture, the symbolic sphere of our existence – exemplified by religion and ideology, language and art, empirical science and formal science (logic, mathematics) – that can be used to justify or legitimize direct or structural violence.”ix The danger of such subtle violence and consistent messaging is that “it makes direct and structural violence look, even feel, right – or at least not wrong.”x The meta-violent culture of the Trumpist social movement appears in its ideas, rhetoric, and science, dividing the United States into “Americans” and others, upholding Christianity above other religions, dictating control over women’s bodies, and thwarting efforts to protect and nurture the environment. In this way, meta-violence fuels the populism and popular culture of Trumpism. While bloodshed in a violent clash can be sensationalized and manipulated for political gain, probing into the deeper levels of violence that permeate daily life in thoughts and behaviors, we begin to see the shaping of culture and society. The emergence of Trumpism has revealed a window into the development and production of meta-violence.

2. Trumpism: Populism, Strongman Politics, and Identitarianism

5Though Donald Trump ran in the 2016 election as the Republican candidate, his strategy, support, and style were far from mainstream politics. Beyond Trump’s personality, “Trumpism” came to represent the movement and ideas driving his election. As a new phenomenon, however, varied definitions and uses of the concept have been employed by voters and pundits. Though the definition of Trumpism is in flux and contested, it offers a useful lens for viewing a new phase of U.S. politics and for analyzing Donald Trump’s political ascendance. In order to begin to untangle meta-violence, we can identify three key characteristics of Trumpism: populism, strongman politics, and identitarianism. First, a look at the origins of Trumpism situates this analysis.

  • xi Katie Glueck, “Rick Perry: Donald Trump will destroy the Republican Party,” Politico, July 22, 2015 (...)
  • xii Donald J. Trump Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration, December 7, 2015, accessed January 2, 2 (...)

6Before Donald Trump stepped onto the mainstage of national politics, “Trumpism” had already entered English lexicon and the realm of Twitter hashtags, referring to his unique expressions and analogies, as featured on The Apprentice and in The Art of the Deal. A month after Trump’s escalator entry into the presidential race, however, the term began to shift in meaning. This is made evident, for example, through a survey of uses of #Trumpism on Twitter from January 1, 2015, to January 1, 2016. “Trumpism” began to be used to describe his brand of political vision. In late July 2015, Rick Perry, then still a vocal opponent of Trump, denounced “Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition.”xi As Trump’s Republican nomination campaign progressed, the notion of Trumpism began to be discussed more widely. A watershed moment for the ideology came in December 2015, following Donald Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”xii The extreme objective and its reception among supporters signaled that something “huge” was at hand. Recounting Trump’s announcement at a rally on the U.S.S. Yorktown in South Carolina, Anand Giridharadas captured the spirit of the moment and the movement:

  • xiii Anand Giridharadas, “Trumpism After Trump,” The New York Times, December 11, 2015, accessed January (...)

The roar came when Trump read his press statement aloud. It was a long, full-bodied roar — hands clapping, fists stabbing the air. The roar you give when things that you and your family and your friends have long believed are suddenly utterable on what is arguably the greatest stage on earth: the American presidential election. It was a roar of relief: These were no longer notions that had to be muttered under your breath. Trump wasn’t just “saying what he means” … He, the freest of men, was saying what they meant.xiii

7Though Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy was still taken lightly by many pundits and reporters, from this point on, Trumpism became an undeniable force to contend with, not only in the election, but in socio-cultural political analysis.

  • xiv Jane Caplan, “Trump and Fascism. A View from the Past,” History Workshop, November 17, 2016, access (...)
  • xv Ibid.
  • xvi David Edward Tabachnick, “The four characteristics of Trumpism,” The Hill, May 1, 2016, accessed Ja (...)

8In attempts to define burgeoning Trumpism, comparisons to violent early twentieth-century fascism have proven popular. Jane Caplan, a leading historian of fascism, has identified many parallels between the rise of Donald Trump and German and Italian fascists of the past, including the manipulation of “systemic crises of national identity and security.”xiv Caplan’s understanding of fascism, past and present, highlights the significant role of meta-violence in its production and maintenance. Caplan argues: “Fascism is not just the big bang of mass rallies and extreme violence; it is also the creeping fog that incrementally occupies power while obscuring its motives, its moves and its goals. It is about inserting demagoguery, violence and contempt for the rule of law into the heart of popular politics.”xv The movement surrounding Donald Trump, however, requires careful analysis on its own unique terms. In David Tabachnick’s words, Trumpism “intertwin[es] contemporary and traditional political trends in such a way that makes it both uniquely American and of the 21st century, distinct from the European Fascism of the last century.”xvi An examination of Trumpist populism, strongman politics, and identitarianism reveals its contemporary U.S. context.

  • xvii Among an extensive list, see, for example, Robin Meyer, “Donald Trump Is the First Demagogue of the (...)
  • xviii Nicholson and Segura have studied attitudes toward the Republican Party. Their findings, challengin (...)
  • xix Ben Tarnoff, “The triumph of Trumpism: the new politics that is here to stay,” The Guardian, Novemb (...)
  • xx Alec Tyson and Shiva Maniam, “Behind Trump’s victory: Divisions by race, gender, education,” Pew Re (...)

9The election primary season saw an unprecedented surfacing of populist activism, which most strongly drove the campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Both figures spoke to the emotions, but instead of Obama’s campaign of “Hope,” the 2016 election touched on people’s sense of displacement and outrage. Both Trump and Sanders supporters were mad. They were angry at the power of the political establishment. They were angry at the changes they saw as corrupting their lives, values, and idealized version of U.S. society, though framed differently by the two camps. They were ready for a radical change and turned to what they saw as “anti-establishment” figures like Trump and Sanders to lead the movement. The populist support for Donald Trump, specifically, owed to his status as a non-politician, as a (falsely assumed) “self-made man” and shrewd businessman, and as someone not afraid to speak for his supporters. Trump has consistently been characterized as a demagogue. His supporters viewed him as an advocate for the everyman (note the gendered specification), perhaps in the ancient tradition, while Trump’s critics viewed his demagoguery as a dangerous path of lies and incitement.xvii Though running as the candidate of the GOP, Donald Trump fashioned a campaign that appeared on the surface to reject Republican fiscal conservatism, shifting the Republicans’ resonance as a “Party of the People”—something the mainstream GOP had failed to do, despite its intentions.xviii The voter swing in the Rust Belt demonstrated Trump supporters’ demand for economic stability and their discontent with an elite growing richer while their own standard of living degraded. Donald Trump, “by breaking with Republican orthodoxy on the economy, … more effectively exploit[ed] the anxiety and frustration felt by the vast majority of Americans who still live in the long shadow of the Great Recession.”xix Despite being a self-proclaimed billionaire, he was accepted as “of the people” and for the people by his largely white, male, non-college-educated, and rural supporters.xx

  • xxi David Edward Tabachnick, “The four characteristics of Trumpism,” The Hill, May 1, 2016, accessed Ja (...)
  • xxii Donald Trump speech in Sioux City, Iowa, January 23, 2016.

10As the nomenclature makes clear, Trumpism is a personality-driven movement, fueled by Trump’s celebrity power. Trump utilized his widely recognizable persona brand to engage reality TV spectators with federal politics—and significantly, the vote. xxi With this attention, Donald Trump positioned himself as the savior of “America” and millions responded enthusiastically. Exploiting fear as a collectivizing tool, Trump assured his supporters that he—and only he—could single-handedly fix all that stood in the way of the “American Dream.” With unfaltering confidence, he made it clear that nothing would stop him and that he would not be bound by rules to achieve what the movement desired. In January 2016, Trump exclaimed: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”xxii Robert Kagan, opining for the Washington Post in May 2016, captured without restraint the emotional strength of Trump’s cult of personality:

  • xxiii Robert Kagan, “This is how fascism comes to America” in The Washington Post, May 18, 2016, accessed (...)

What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger.xxiii

  • xxiv Meghan Keneally, “5 Controversial Dictators and Leaders Donald Trump Has Praised,” ABC News, July 6 (...)
  • xxv Gideon Rachman, “Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and the lure of the strongman” in Financial Times, Ma (...)

11Trump’s strongman politics were part of a broader global course, characterized by the leadership of Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orbán, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, and Rodrigo Duterte, among a growing list. Trump has personally expressed sympathetic support for leaders (read: dictators) such as Mussolini, Kim Jong-un, and Putin.xxiv Adding Trump to the strongman ranks, Gideon Rachman summarizes: “All these men have promised to lead a national revival through the force of their personalities and their willingness to ignore liberal niceties. In many cases, the promise of decisive leadership is backed up by a willingness — sometimes explicit, sometimes implied — to use illegal violence against enemies of the state.”xxv

  • xxvi See Sara Ahmed’s pertinent examination of the emotional politics of creating collective identities (...)
  • xxvii Gregory Krieg, “14 of Trump's most outrageous ‘birther’ claims -- half from after 2011,” CNN Politi (...)
  • xxviii Donald Trump interview on Laura Ingraham Show, March 30, 2011, accessed January 2, 2017, https://ww (...)
  • xxix CNN/ORC poll findings, September 4–8, 2015, 32–36. Report file available through http://edition.cnn (...)
  • xxx New York Times, “Transcript of the First Debate,” September 27, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, htt (...)
  • xxxi Donald Trump interview on Laura Ingraham Show, March 30, 2011, accessed January 2, 2017, https://ww (...)

12Trumpism has many enemies. Trumpism defines the “we” it seeks to protect through racial and nativist lines.xxvi Preceding its labeling, the movement can be seen as having been born out of the earlier “birther” movement. In 2011, Donald Trump started publicly calling into question the birthplace and religion of Barack Obamaxxvii and, thereby, the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency. Trump solidified support among many “birthers,” who he referred to in March 2011 as “great American people… unbelievable salt of the earth people.”xxviii The birther conspiracy movement has made a significant impact on public opinion. In September 2015, 33% of Whites and almost half of Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Party supporters surveyed believed that Obama was Muslim, and approximately 16–22% believed he had been born in Africa.xxix After years of pressure from journalists and critics, Donald Trump admitted that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period” on September 16, 2016. Shortly after, however, he maintained that he had “done a good job” and was “satisfied” with his role in the birther movement.xxx By suggesting there was something “very bad” about being Muslimxxxi and highlighting Obama’s Africanness by alleging he had been born in Kenya, Donald Trump established parameters for what he and his early supporters accepted as “American”—and an African American president with the middle name Hussein did not fit.

  • xxxii Richard Spencer, “Identitarianism—A Conversation Starter” in Radix Journal, June 6, 2015, accessed (...)
  • xxxiii Ibid.

13Donald Trump’s rhetoric awakened underground identitarian movements that found mainstream platforms for espousing hatred and division. While “identitarianism” is still most often connected with European extreme-right organizations, in the United States, the self-coined “alt-right” movement and organizations such as the white supremacist National Policy Institute (NPI) think tank also frequently frame their identity politics as identitarianism. The term, referring to the prioritization of “identity” over all else, refers most often to white supremacy and misogyny, but can also be used to uphold Christianity and heterosexuality. In 2015, Richard Spencer, a frequent public face of the “alt-right” and NPI president (also known for his “Hail Trump” declaration in the wake of Trump’s election win), has argued for the adoption of the term “identitarianism,” citing it “to be powerful, evocative, and useful on a number of fronts.”xxxii Identitarianism, as understood by Spencer, “posits Identity as the center—and the central question—of a spiritual, intellectual, and (meta) political movement. … And Identity is not just the call of blood, though it is that.”xxxiii

  • xxxiv Richard Spencer quoted by James Kirchick in “Among the Thugs: Donald Trump, white nationalists, and (...)
  • xxxv Quoted in Jeet Heer, “Republic of Fear” in New Republic, May 2016, 44.

14The “call of blood” was very loud during the rise of Trumpism. Trump has been described as an “icebreaker” for public discussion of racial identity politics and has drawn immense support from identitarian ranks.xxxiv The chair of the American Nazi Party, for example, wrote: “We have a wonderful opportunity here folks… Donald Trump’s campaign statements, if nothing else, have shown that ‘our views’ are not so ‘unpopular’ as the political correctness crowd have told everyone they are!”xxxv Trump drew much controversy when he failed to denounce the endorsement of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke in February 2016. While Trump’s personal views and affiliations with white supremacy in the United States are not clearly known, he has drawn support and surrounded himself with known racists, anti-Semites, and nativists. The appointment of Steve Bannon, executive chair of extreme-right Breitbart News, to Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor of Trump’s administration was a troubling sign of Donald Trump’s investment in the “alt-right.”

  • xxxvi Pankaj Mishra, “The Globalization of Rage: Why Today’s Extremism Looks Familiar,” Foreign Affairs, (...)
  • xxxvii Jia Tolentino, “Donald Trump’s Unconscious, Unending Sexism” in The New Yorker, October 10, 2016, a (...)
  • xxxviii The Telegraph compiled an ongoing list of Trump’s sexism and misogyny. Claire Cohen, “Donald Trump (...)
  • xxxix Jared Goyette, Julia O’Malley, and Nicole Puglise, “The Republican women unfazed by Trump’s sexism: (...)
  • xl Goyette, O’Malley, and Puglise.
  • xli Daniella Diaz, “3 times Trump defended his ‘locker room’ talk,” CNN.com, October 10, 2016, accessed (...)
  • xlii For an overview of impacts of Trumpist sexism, see Olga Khazan, “The Lasting Harm of Trump-Style Se (...)

15Pankaj Mishra has identified a recurring “hypermasculine dream of grandeur, heroism, self-sacrifice, power, and conquest… shared today by aggressive men across racial, ethnic, national, and religious lines who believe that the quickest path to self-empowerment is through the domination and degradation of anyone they see as vulnerable.”xxxvi Like other global extremist movements, the world of Trumpism is also a masculinist one. The extent to which misogyny and violence against women would be tolerated became clear during Trump’s campaign.xxxvii Donald Trump has an extensive record of making sexist and cruel remarks about women. Furthermore, he was accused of several counts of sexual assault and predatory behavior just weeks before the election.xxxviii However, many Trump supporters, including women, were able to turn a blind eye to Trump’s comments about women, not seeing the cultural violence in his attitudes.xxxix Patriarchal values also allowed others to maintain their commitment to Trump. For example, one supporter, interviewed by journalist Nicole Puglise, expressed her view that women should not be one of the “three Ps”: police officer, preacher, or president.xl While sexist comments about women’s appearances and emotions are daily fare, they represent significant meta-violence. Trump dismissed his vulgar descriptions of sexual assault as “locker room talk,”xli but such casual rhetorical violence can trigger serious trauma and insecurity in women’s daily lives.xlii The impact of political and cultural hypermasculinization is felt even more acutely by those who are also targeted for their skin color, ethnicity, religion, and/or sexuality. Through misogynistic rhetoric and the normalization of nonconsensual contact, the meta-violence of Trumpism was strengthened.

  • xliii Peter Beinart, “‘Trumpism’ and the Rift Between Belief and Truth” in The Atlantic, August 15, 2016, (...)
  • xliv BBC News. “‘Drug dealers, criminals, rapists’: What Trump thinks of Mexicans,” BBC.Com, August 31, (...)
  • xlv Rebecca Savransky, “Trump points to plane, says it could be Mexico ‘ready to attack,’” The Hill, Ju (...)
  • xlvi For example, Jamelle Bouie, “Trump Declared War on American Muslims on Monday,” Slate, June 14, 201 (...)
  • xlvii For example, http://whitegenocideproject.com and #whitegenocide.
  • xlviii Lisa Mascaro, “David Duke and other white supremacists see Trump's rise as way to increase role in (...)
  • xlix Lisa Mascaro, “David Duke and other white supremacists see Trump's rise as way to increase role in (...)
  • l Jeet Heer, “Republic of Fear,” New Republic, May 2016, 43.
  • li Galtung, 292.
  • lii David Mulchinski, “Electoral Violence and Donald Trump: What Can Conflict Research Teach Us?” Expla (...)

16Peter Beinart provocatively argued that “[w]hat distinguishes Trump supporters is not their economic vulnerability. It’s their cultural, religious, and racial resentment.”xliii In the Trumpist world, Mexican rapists, criminals, and murderers are rampant.xliv In the Trumpist world, Mexican planes are “ready to attack.”xlv And, as the narrative of fear continued, ISIS extremists are hiding behind every hijab and in every Muslim home.xlvi Through Trump’s rhetoric and political platform, a clear division was drawn between the we who represent Trump’s “Great [white] America” and those who don’t belong: Latinxs, Blacks, Muslims, and those who promote “political correctness.” Trumpism for identitarians calls attention to the plight of the white man in the United States and to what white nationalists refer to as “white genocide.”xlvii Richard Spencer has reflected on “a deep visceral, you could say emotional connection between the alt-right and [Trump’s] campaign.”xlviii David Duke has explained how white nationalist politics operate in Trumpism: “He’s talking about it in a visceral way… Donald Trump is talking implicitly. I’m talking explicitly.”xlix The visceral messaging of Trumpism is its meta-violence. As Jeet Heer argued in May 2016, Trumpism is “a transformation that transcends politics and bleeds deeply into our culture.”l Trumpism enacts cultural violence by “changing the moral color of an act from red/wrong to green/right or at least yellow/acceptable.”li Trumpism has broken down social taboos of hatred, racism, and violent confrontation.lii

3. Violent Eruptions

  • liii Galtung, 295.
  • liv Juan Hernandez, “I’m voting for Donald Trump, so I went to see him speak. Protesters broke my nose, (...)
  • lv Aaron Adelson, “69-year-old woman punched in face by Trump supporter outside NC rally,” WLOS ABC Ne (...)
  • lvi For example, see Jennifer Jacobs, “Black students ejected from Trump rally in Ga.,” USA Today, Marc (...)
  • lvii For example, see Justin Wm. Moyer, “Trump protester sucker-punched by supporter in brutal video of (...)

17Galtung’s explication of cultural violence proves informative for analyzing the meta-violence of Trumpism: “The culture preaches, teaches, admonishes, eggs on, and dulls us into seeing exploitation and/or repression as normal and natural… Then come the eruptions.”liii Physical violence became a hallmark of the battle over Trumpism during the election. Trump rallies—inside and out—became arenas for pitting supporters against protestors, especially during the primaries. Perhaps because of the emotion and fervor driving both campaigns, violent clashes during the presidential election were most often framed as Trump supporters facing off against Sanders supporters. In March 2016, tensions boiled over when a Chicago Trump rally was canceled and Trump protestors clashed with supporters. In June, fighting erupted in San Jose. A protest outside of a Trump rally resulted in anti-Trump protestors throwing eggs, spitting on people, and burning Trump merchandise. At least one Trump supporter went home with a broken nose.liv On September 12, 2016, in Asheville, South Carolina, hostilities again flared and a 69-year-old woman with an oxygen tank was punched in the face by a Trump supporter.lv Trump protestors were a constant, though unwelcome, presence inside Trump rallies. Both peaceful and taunting protestors—as well as those who simply did not look the part of a Trump supporterlvi—found themselves caught in aggressive ejections, roughly handled by security and supporters. Numerous videos of confrontations circulating on the internet, from rallies across the United States, depict the charged atmosphere and the crowd’s cheering and chanting: “U.S.A., U.S.A.”lvii The patriotic chant chillingly suggests the equation of violence with “Americanness” and a clear drawing of the line between those who belong and those who do not.

  • lviii Jeet Heer, “Republic of Fear,” New Republic, May 2016, 44.
  • lix America’s Voice, “Trump Hate Map,” accessed January 2, 2017, http://americasvoice.org/trumphatemap/(...)
  • lx FBI, 2015 Hate Crime Statistics, accessed January 2, 2017, https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/home (...)
  • lxi For example, see Gabe Ortiz, “‘Trump Hate Map’ Continues To Expand Following Donald Trump’s Victory (...)
  • lxii Southern Poverty Law Center, “Ten Days After: Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the E (...)
  • lxiii Justin Wm. Moyer, “‘Trump! Trump! Trump!’ attacker allegedly yelled as he beat Hispanic man, Muslim (...)
  • lxiv Chris Boyette, “Alleged Trump supporters who beat homeless immigrant plead guilty,” CNN, May 17, 20 (...)

18Political talk of removing illegal immigrants, blocking out Mexicans with a wall, and banning Muslims encouraged many supporters of a “Great America” to take policy ideas to the streets. Or, in Jeet Heer’s words, “Donald Trump is a big bully who is enabling many little bullies.”lviii America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy organization, has been mapping specifically Trump-inspired hate crimes since June 2015.lix Their findings are being corroborated by other sources. For example, recently released FBI 2015 hate crime statistics show an increase in incidents from 2014 and reveal that Muslims have been the primary target.lx In the days following Trump’s election win, a surge of hate crimes was reported across the United States:lxi 867 such incidents were reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) between Election Day on November 8 and November 29, 2016.lxii While many incidents certainly remain unreported to the authorities, SPLC, or to the “Trump Hate Map” and only a few gained significant media attention during the election campaign, the reported incidents suggest a serious violent trend. In one example, in March 2016, two students of color in Wichita were randomly beaten by a man yelling “Trump will take our country from you guys!”lxiii In another example, from May 2016, two men in Boston were charged—and since found guilty—with brutally beating a Latino homeless man while allegedly proclaiming “Donald Trump is right.”lxiv

  • lxv For example, see “Sanders Statement on Nevada,” May 17, 2016 accessed January 2, 2017,. Available a (...)
  • lxvi For example, see Dara Lind, “Donald Trump’s appalling reaction to a hate crime committed in his nam (...)
  • lxvii Donald Trump, rally in Warren, Michigan, March 4, 2016.
  • lxviii Donald Trump, rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, February 1, 2016.
  • lxix Donald Trump, rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 22, 2016 and rally in Saint Louis, Missouri, Mar (...)
  • lxx Donald Trump, rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 22, 2016. Also, Donald Trump, rally in Oklahoma (...)

19Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton distanced themselves from election-provoked violence, reproaching such tactics.lxv Donald Trump, however, chose a different course. Rather than denouncing violence, Trump frequently praised the “passion” and “energy” of his supporters, and he even promised to pay the legal fees of supporters caught in violent altercations.lxvi At a March 4, 2016 rally, he commented on a protestor’s removal: “Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it.”lxvii At times, Trump explicitly condoned the use of violence against protestors. On February 1, 2016, he stated: “If you see someone getting ready to throw tomatoes knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK. Just knock the hell… I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.”lxviii Though Trump himself wished he could “punch [a protestor] in the face,” he recognized that such tactics were unpopular: “Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long [to remove protestors] is that nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.”lxix Trump praised violent action against protestors: “I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There’s a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches. We’re not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”lxx

  • lxxi Tom Liddy, “Trump Says He Wants Protesters Arrested, Pepper Spray Used Outside,” ABC News, March 12 (...)
  • lxxii Donald Trump, Twitter, March 13, 2016.
  • lxxiii Sarah Childress, PBS Frontline, “Why Trump’s Violent Rhetoric Is Protected Speech,” March 14, 2016, (...)
  • lxxiv Jeff Howard, “The ‘Brandenburg test’ for incitement to violence,” Free Speech Debate, April 29, 201 (...)

20Such behavior was justified in the Trumpist logic, as protestors were enemies. After clashes in San Jose, Trump told supporters in Kansas City, “We’re going to take our country back from these people… These are bad, bad people.”lxxi After the Chicago riot, blaming Sanders supporters, Trump tweeted, “Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!” lxxii This tweet had an ominous air of threat and violent encouragement, similar to the later threat regarding the Second Amendment people. With Trump’s strong words and the spread of Trumpist violence, many have asked whether Donald Trump can or should be personally held accountable for inciting violence through his speech. Freedom of expression and political speech, in particular, are vehemently protected in the United States and legally proving incitement is difficult.lxxiii The 1969 case which remains as the precedent for incitement reveals similarities with the Trump campaign. Clarence Brandenburg, the leader of the Ku Klux Klan’s Ohio branch, held a rally in the summer of 1964, declaring: “if our president, our Congress, our Supreme Court, continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race, it’s possible that there might have to be some revengeance [sic] taken.”lxxiv While he was charged under Ohio law for inciting violence, the Supreme Court overturned his conviction, resulting in the “Brandenburg test,” which is upheld today. The court found that freedom of speech can only be suppressed when there is proof of inciting “imminent lawless action.” Therefore, while Trump has bordered on incitement—especially in the tomato case—his speech has not yet been legally challenged and has been accorded the right of First Amendment protection.

4. The Rhetorical War

  • lxxv Galtung, 292.
  • lxxvi CBS News, “Full Video: Hillary Clinton says ‘words matter’ while talking Trump in Des Moines,” Augu (...)

21To understand the meta-violence of Trumpism, we must acknowledge, as Johan Galtung has reminded us, that “threats of violence are also violence.”lxxv In response to Trump’s threat of Second Amendment protectors in August 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton responded: “words matter.” She further stated: “if you are running to be President or you are President of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences.”lxxvi Politicians—more than most people, perhaps—know that words matter. Through their crafted words, politicians motivate people. Most often, this has meant getting people out to vote for them or to inspire nationalism and civic duty in times of war or hardship. But political words can also motivate hostility and violence. The meta-violence of Trumpism is bolstered through rhetorical violence. Though mocked by critics for his rough mannerisms, plain talk, and avoidance of big words, Trump has demonstrated a keen employment of the power of rhetoric. Trump uses the power of words to strengthen fear, hate, and anger, fueling his political career and driving a wedge in U.S. society.

  • lxxvii For example, see Paul Bedard, “Spooked: Clinton claims Trump fans chant ‘Hang her in the streets,’” (...)
  • lxxviii Andrew Kaczynski, “Donald Trump’s Favorite Bible Teaching Is ‘Eye For An Eye,’” Buzzfeed, April 14, (...)

22On August 10, 2016, just one day after making the ambiguous remarks about “Second Amendment people,” at a rally in Florida Trump proclaimed that Obama was “the founder of ISIS,” repeating, “He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder. He founded ISIS.” He added, “I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.” One can see that calling the President and Democratic nominee founders of the most feared and despised terrorist organization serves as a rhetorical device that calls into question both policy and management. However, by not complicating the claim, and leaving a direct link between horrific acts of terrorism and the U.S. administration, Trump succeeded in implicating his enemies in a violence and otherness that was meant to stand in contrast to the society his campaign promoted. This tactic was also employed against Hillary Clinton with the “Trump card” of Benghazi. Trump and followers—as well other Clinton opponents—characterized her as a criminal, needing punishment and even—as the Trump crowds heckled—to be put to death.lxxvii However, Trump’s rhetoric went even further, calling Clinton a murderer. Instead of elaborating on how Clinton’s mismanagement led to the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya in 2012, Trump utilized the rhetorical power in claiming that she murdered the victims. I argue that by rhetorically placing smoking guns in his enemies’ hands, Trump set up a twisted game of logic. That is, the founders of ISIS, the killer of American diplomats, just like violent illegal immigrants, were to be fought—as Trump’s “favorite” Bible verse says— with “an eye for an eye.”lxxviii

  • lxxix Theodore Schleifer, “Donald Trump on reporters: ‘I would never kill them,’” CNN, December 22, 2015, (...)
  • lxxx Infowars, “Hillary Clinton, Stop Killing People,” August 28, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, availa (...)
  • lxxxi See http://www.infowars.com/donate/, accessed January 2, 2017.

23Trump supporters do not trust the mainstream media and Trump uses this distrust to build these violent narratives. In December 2015, he joked at a rally in Michigan about whether or not he might murder members of the media.lxxix Calling the media liars and proclaiming his hatred, Trump garnered support and found allies in extreme-right outlets, like Alex Jones’s Infowars. Jones complemented the meta-violent framework with conspiratorial accusations, such as that the Clintons had murdered hundreds of Democratic staffers and others.lxxx Alternative media narratives often frame U.S. politics and society in terms of war. For example, the Infowars tagline exclaims, “There’s a war on for your mind!” while Jones declares that donating to the program is “literally buying war bonds.”lxxxi These alternative Trumpist narratives collectively built and supported a framework of meta-violence that asked supporters which side of the ideological war they would choose. The slow violence, emotional toll of such anxiety, distrust, and hostility will reveal itself in time.

5. Trumpism in the World

  • lxxxii See, for example, Daniel M. Shea and Alex Sproveri, “The Rise and Fall of Nasty Politics in America (...)
  • lxxxiii For example, Thad Dunning, “Fighting and Voting: Violent Conflict and Electoral Politics,” The Jour (...)
  • lxxxiv For example, see Electoral Violence Project, http://www.electoralviolenceproject.com/.
  • lxxxv Human Rights Watch, “United States: Events of 2016,” World Report 2017, accessed January 2, 2017, h (...)

24In the United States, so-called “nasty” and often violent politics have been a regular occurrence throughout the nation’s history.lxxxii Indeed, as researchers of peace and conflict studies show us, globally, violence and elections go hand in hand all too often.lxxxiii The United States has rarely been considered at major risk, but in 2016, the election was closely watched and analyzed.lxxxiv In World Report 2017, Human Rights Watch outlined the national and international dangers of the new Trumpist era: “The election of Donald Trump as president in November 2016 capped a campaign marked by misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist rhetoric and Trump’s embrace of policies that would cause tremendous harm to vulnerable communities, contravene the United States’ core human rights obligations, or both.”lxxxv

  • lxxxvi Gideon Rachman, “Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and the lure of the strongman,” Financial Times, May (...)
  • lxxxvii Full statement transcribed in Shehab Khan’s “UN’s human rights chief compares ‘demagogues’ Donald T (...)
  • lxxxviii For example, see Ben Jacobs, “Donald Trump renews support for waterboarding at Ohio rally: ‘I like (...)
  • lxxxix Pamela Engel, “Donald Trump is the ‘preferred candidate’ of ISIS, experts warn,” Business Insider – (...)

25Trumpism in the United States should be viewed as part of the international far-right populist movement, which has been highly visible in the U.K., France, Denmark, Austria, and the Netherlands, for example. Like Trumpism, these national movements feed on people’s sense of insecurity, fostering fear of terrorism and fear of “the other.” Constant online editorializing and a 24/7 media stream complement the work of the populist leaders, creating an atmosphere of urgency and allowing meta-violence to settle. Rachman has reflected: “The alarming truth is that the impact of strongman leaders is rarely confined within national borders. All too often, the undercurrent of violence that they introduce into domestic politics spills over on to the international stage.”lxxxvi In September 2016, the United Nations’ Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, issued a statement that sharply criticized leaders who are activating division and hatred. Trump was specifically singled out. Al Hussein warned “how effectively xenophobia and bigotry can be weaponized,” at which point we “can descend rapidly into colossal violence.”lxxxvii He went further to outline tactical commonalities between ISIS and the Western populists. With Trump’s history of pronouncing support for the use of torture and bombing campaigns,lxxxviii Al Hussein’s critique seems eerily accurate. During the election period, global security experts warned that Donald Trump was the “preferred candidate of ISIS,” as his election would signal severe U.S. instability.lxxxix These factors, and now Trump’s presidency, all raise questions about global stability.

6. The Normalization of Meta-violence

26The 2016 presidential election revealed deep dissatisfaction with the U.S. social and political status quo across the political spectrum. Discontent, anger, and a harshly fractured society encouraged increases in rhetorical and, at times, physical violence. Diverse grassroots actions were outlets for airing frustrations. Trumpism was able to take root in this climate and it became a part of the U.S. social and political fabric. During contentious elections, people get pulled into political debate and discourse, which can benefit the democratic process. However, as Shea and Sproveri argue, another result of such times is that “many people are left with a bad taste in their mouth and ill feelings about their fellow citizens.”xc More bluntly, Pankaj Mishra warns: “Lynch mobs and mass shooters thrive in a climate where many people think only in terms of friends and foes and where sectarian loyalty or nativist hatred override civic bonds.”xci

  • xcii Slavoj Zizek was also very vocal during the election. In November 2016, Zizek spoke publically at s (...)
  • xciii Slavoj Zizek, Violence: Six Sideways Glances (London: Profile Books, 2008), 1.
  • xciv Ibid., 2.
  • xcv Bruce B. Lawrence and Aisha Karim, eds, On Violence: A Reader (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007) (...)

27Meta-violence gains a hold in this void of empathy and atmosphere of division. In Violence: Six Sideways Glances, cultural theorist Slavoj Zizekxcii reflects on the “fundamental violence” embodied in our language which allows the “imposition of a certain universe of meaning.”xciii Zizek’s postulation resonates with the cultural violence of Trumpism, which makes way for a vertical society, delineated by race, sex, and religion, and characterized by emotions of fear, hatred, and anxiety. These inconspicuous social “contours of the background,” then,xciv are meta-violence normalized. There is a danger in normalization. Bruce Lawrence and Aisha Karim warn: “At its first eruption, violence is always experienced as unique. If given time and repetition, however, it becomes routine, part of the air, and one learns to breathe it without being asphyxiated. One no longer seeks to eliminate it, nor even to understand it.” xcv To counter meta-violence, already so difficult to pin down, keen attention must continually be paid to how it impacts social relations and people’s sense of in/security.

28The lens of meta-violence allows us to take seriously the long-term, slow-violence consequences of fear and division. With Trump’s election and presidency, there is an opportunity to reflect on how violence was employed during the campaign and in the establishment of the Trumpist social movement. Serious questions, furthermore, arise about what the continuing role of structural, physical, and rhetorical violence may be during the course of the Trump administration, both domestically and internationally. By naming and prodding the meta-violence of Trumpism, we can stay alert to its ongoing development and better understand the new popular politics arising from the 2016 election.

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Notes

i Full transcript available at “Read the Full Transcript of Donald Trump’s ‘Second Amendment’ Speech,” Time, August 9, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://time.com/4445813/donald-trump-second-amendment-speech/.

ii Julian Zelizer, “The scary road that Donald Trump is walking,” CNN Online, August 10, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/10/opinions/trump-remarks-fit-a-pattern-zelizer/index.html.

iii Johan Galtung, “Cultural Violence” in Journal of Peace Research 27, no. 3 (August 1990): 291–305.

iv Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011).

v Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny” (1919), in The Complete Psychological Works, 17 (1917–1919): An Infantile Neurosis and Other Works, eds. James Strachey et al. (London: Hogarth, 1955): 217–252.

vi Sarah de Leeuw, “Tender Grounds: Intimate Visceral Violence in British Columbia’s Colonial Geographies,” Political Geography 52 (May 2016): 14–23.

vii Nixon, 3.

viii Ibid.

ix Galtung, 291.

x Ibid.

xi Katie Glueck, “Rick Perry: Donald Trump will destroy the Republican Party,” Politico, July 22, 2015, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/rick-perry-criticizes-donald-trump-destroy-republican-party-120482.

xii Donald J. Trump Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration, December 7, 2015, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-on-preventing-muslim-immigration.

xiii Anand Giridharadas, “Trumpism After Trump,” The New York Times, December 11, 2015, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/magazine/trumpism-after-trump.html?_r=0.

xiv Jane Caplan, “Trump and Fascism. A View from the Past,” History Workshop, November 17, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/trump-and-fascism-a-view-from-the-past/.

xv Ibid.

xvi David Edward Tabachnick, “The four characteristics of Trumpism,” The Hill, May 1, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/presidential-campaign/264746-the-four-characteristics-of-trumpism.

xvii Among an extensive list, see, for example, Robin Meyer, “Donald Trump Is the First Demagogue of the Anthropocene,” The Atlantic, October 19, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/10/trump-the-first-demagogue-of-the-anthropocene/504134/; Zocalo Public Square, “What History Teaches Us About Demagogues Like The Donald,” Time, June 20, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://time.com/4375262/history-demagogues-donald-trump/; Chauncey DeVega, “Frankenstein’s monster: Donald Trump was a rampaging paranoid demagogue yesterday — just ask the people who enabled him,” Salon, October 14, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.salon.com/2016/10/14/frankensteins-monster-donald-trump-was-a-rampaging-paranoid-demagogue-yesterday-just-ask-the-people-who-enabled-him/; Michael Signer, “The Electoral College Was Created to Stop Demagogues Like Trump,” Time, November 17, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://time.com/4575119/electoral-college-demagogues/; Stephen Stromberg, “In his acceptance speech, Trump displays his demagoguery,” The Washington Post, July 22, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/07/22/in-his-acceptance-speech-trump-displays-his-demagoguery/?utm_term=.53c2013b15a6; and Jonathan Martin, “Meg Whitman, Calling Donald Trump a ‘Demagogue,’ Will Support Hillary Clinton for President,” The New York Times, August 2, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/03/us/politics/meg-whitman-hillary-clinton.html?_r=0.

xviii Nicholson and Segura have studied attitudes toward the Republican Party. Their findings, challenging Thomas Frank’s argument about a shift from economic class to values-driven class, found that the GOP was largely not seen as a “party of the people,” even if the Party itself has hoped for this end. The rise of Donald Trump and Trumpism, I would argue, offers a possibility to revisit the problematics raised by Frank and Nicholson & Segura. See, Stephen P. Nicholson and Gary M. Segura, “Who’s the Party of the People? Economic Populism and the U.S. Public’s Beliefs About Political Parties,” Political Behavior 34 (2012): 369–389 and Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2004).

xix Ben Tarnoff, “The triumph of Trumpism: the new politics that is here to stay,” The Guardian, November 9, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/09/us-election-political-movement-trumpism.

xx Alec Tyson and Shiva Maniam, “Behind Trump’s victory: Divisions by race, gender, education,” Pew Research Center, November 9, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/behind-trumps-victory-divisions-by-race-gender-education/; Rich Morin, “Behind Trump’s win in rural white America: Women joined men in backing him,” Pew Research Center, November 17, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/17/behind-trumps-win-in-rural-white-america-women-joined-men-in-backing-him/; BBC News, “Reality Check: Who voted for Donald Trump?” November 9, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37922587.

xxi David Edward Tabachnick, “The four characteristics of Trumpism,” The Hill, May 1, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/presidential-campaign/264746-the-four-characteristics-of-trumpism.

xxii Donald Trump speech in Sioux City, Iowa, January 23, 2016.

xxiii Robert Kagan, “This is how fascism comes to America” in The Washington Post, May 18, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-is-how-fascism-comes-to-america/2016/05/17/c4e32c58-1c47-11e6-8c7b-6931e66333e7_story.html?tid=hybrid_collaborative_2_na&utm_term=.2f91e86df7a1.

xxiv Meghan Keneally, “5 Controversial Dictators and Leaders Donald Trump Has Praised,” ABC News, July 6, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/controversial-dictators-leaders-donald-trump-praised/story?id=40373481; Jarvis DeBerry, “Donald Trump quotes Mussolini, praises Saddam Hussein,” The Times-Picayune, March 14, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2016/03/donald_trump_dictators.html.

xxv Gideon Rachman, “Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and the lure of the strongman” in Financial Times, May 16, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.ft.com/content/1c6ff2ce-1939-11e6-b197-a4af20d5575e.

xxvi See Sara Ahmed’s pertinent examination of the emotional politics of creating collective identities in The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014, 2nd edition).

xxvii Gregory Krieg, “14 of Trump's most outrageous ‘birther’ claims -- half from after 2011,” CNN Politics, September 16, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/09/politics/donald-trump-birther/.

xxviii Donald Trump interview on Laura Ingraham Show, March 30, 2011, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqaS9OCoTZs.

xxix CNN/ORC poll findings, September 4–8, 2015, 32–36. Report file available through http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/18/politics/trump-obama-muslim-birther/.

xxx New York Times, “Transcript of the First Debate,” September 27, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/27/us/politics/transcript-debate.html?_r=0.

xxxi Donald Trump interview on Laura Ingraham Show, March 30, 2011, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqaS9OCoTZs.

xxxii Richard Spencer, “Identitarianism—A Conversation Starter” in Radix Journal, June 6, 2015, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.radixjournal.com/journal/2015/6/15/identitarianisma-conversation-starter.

xxxiii Ibid.

xxxiv Richard Spencer quoted by James Kirchick in “Among the Thugs: Donald Trump, white nationalists, and the politics of the crowd” in National Review, April 11, 2016, 30.

xxxv Quoted in Jeet Heer, “Republic of Fear” in New Republic, May 2016, 44.

xxxvi Pankaj Mishra, “The Globalization of Rage: Why Today’s Extremism Looks Familiar,” Foreign Affairs, November/December 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2016-10-17/globalization-rage.

xxxvii Jia Tolentino, “Donald Trump’s Unconscious, Unending Sexism” in The New Yorker, October 10, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.newyorker.com/culture/jia-tolentino/donald-trumps-unconscious-unending-sexism.

xxxviii The Telegraph compiled an ongoing list of Trump’s sexism and misogyny. Claire Cohen, “Donald Trump sexism tracker: Every offensive comment in one place” in The Telegraph, November 9, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/politics/donald-trump-sexism-tracker-every-offensive-comment-in-one-place/.

xxxix Jared Goyette, Julia O’Malley, and Nicole Puglise, “The Republican women unfazed by Trump’s sexism: ‘I don’t think it matters’” in The Guardian, October 2, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/02/donald-trump-alicia-machado-republican-women-sexism.

xl Goyette, O’Malley, and Puglise.

xli Daniella Diaz, “3 times Trump defended his ‘locker room’ talk,” CNN.com, October 10, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/09/politics/donald-trump-locker-room-talk-presidential-debate-2016-election/index.html.

xlii For an overview of impacts of Trumpist sexism, see Olga Khazan, “The Lasting Harm of Trump-Style Sexism” in The Atlantic, November 4, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/11/how-trump-style-words-hurt/506456/.

xliii Peter Beinart, “‘Trumpism’ and the Rift Between Belief and Truth” in The Atlantic, August 15, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/trumpism-and-the-rift-between-belief-and-truth/495836/

xliv BBC News. “‘Drug dealers, criminals, rapists’: What Trump thinks of Mexicans,” BBC.Com, August 31, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37230916.

xlv Rebecca Savransky, “Trump points to plane, says it could be Mexico ‘ready to attack,’” The Hill, June 30, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/286179-trump-points-out-mexican-plane-theyre-getting-ready-to.

xlvi For example, Jamelle Bouie, “Trump Declared War on American Muslims on Monday,” Slate, June 14, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/06/donald_trump_declares_war_on_american_muslims.html.

xlvii For example, http://whitegenocideproject.com and #whitegenocide.

xlviii Lisa Mascaro, “David Duke and other white supremacists see Trump's rise as way to increase role in mainstream politics,” Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-david-duke-20160928-snap-story.html.

xlix Lisa Mascaro, “David Duke and other white supremacists see Trump's rise as way to increase role in mainstream politics,” Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-david-duke-20160928-snap-story.html.

l Jeet Heer, “Republic of Fear,” New Republic, May 2016, 43.

li Galtung, 292.

lii David Mulchinski, “Electoral Violence and Donald Trump: What Can Conflict Research Teach Us?” Explaining and Mitigating Electoral Violence Blog. March 29, 2016.

liii Galtung, 295.

liv Juan Hernandez, “I’m voting for Donald Trump, so I went to see him speak. Protesters broke my nose,” The Washington Post, June 10, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/06/10/im-voting-for-donald-trump-so-i-went-to-see-him-speak-protesters-broke-my-nose/?utm_term=.b0dd518b257d.

lv Aaron Adelson, “69-year-old woman punched in face by Trump supporter outside NC rally,” WLOS ABC News, September 13, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://wlos.com/news/local/69-year-old-woman-punched-in-face-outside-rally-by-trump-supporter.

lvi For example, see Jennifer Jacobs, “Black students ejected from Trump rally in Ga.,” USA Today, March 1, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/02/29/donald-trump-georgia-rally-valdosta/81129964/; Jake Anantha, “I was a Donald Trump supporter. Then I got booted from his rally,” The Washington Post, August 22, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/08/22/i-was-a-donald-trump-supporter-then-i-got-booted-from-his-rally/?utm_term=.bede3684165a; and Siobhan Fenton, “Donald Trump rally: Black student ‘thrown out after crowd confuse him for a protester,’” Independent, March 11, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/black-student-thrown-out-of-donald-trump-rally-after-crowd-confuse-him-for-a-protester-a6924716.html.

lvii For example, see Justin Wm. Moyer, “Trump protester sucker-punched by supporter in brutal video of Tucson rally,” The Washington Post, March 21, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/21/white-trump-protester-sucker-punched-by-black-trump-supporter-in-brutal-video-of-tucson-rally/?utm_term=.b6aa5cb64f62; The Blaze Now, “Trump Rally Protester Punched in the Face,” March 10, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq1jFA38xLA; Tom Cahill, “Trump Supporter Assaults Protester at North Carolina Rally, Crowd Cheers,” U.S. Uncut, October 14, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://usuncut.com/politics/trump-supporter-assaults-protester-north-carolina-rally/; Ben Jacobs, “Fresh violence at Trump rally as supporter allegedly punches protester,” The Guardian, September 13, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/12/donald-trump-rally-protester-punched-north-carolina; and Chris Hedges, “The Lie of Patriotism,” Common Dreams, April 4, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/04/04/lie-patriotism.

lviii Jeet Heer, “Republic of Fear,” New Republic, May 2016, 44.

lix America’s Voice, “Trump Hate Map,” accessed January 2, 2017, http://americasvoice.org/trumphatemap/

lx FBI, 2015 Hate Crime Statistics, accessed January 2, 2017, https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/home/topic-pages/incidentsandoffenses_final.

lxi For example, see Gabe Ortiz, “‘Trump Hate Map’ Continues To Expand Following Donald Trump’s Victory,” America’s Voice News, November 15, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://americasvoice.org/blog/trump-hate-map-continues-expand-following-donald-trumps-victory/.

lxii Southern Poverty Law Center, “Ten Days After: Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the Election,” November 29, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/20161129/ten-days-after-harassment-and-intimidation-aftermath-election.

lxiii Justin Wm. Moyer, “‘Trump! Trump! Trump!’ attacker allegedly yelled as he beat Hispanic man, Muslim student,” The Washington Post, March 14, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/14/trump-trump-trump-yells-attacker-as-he-beats-hispanic-man-muslim-student/.

lxiv Chris Boyette, “Alleged Trump supporters who beat homeless immigrant plead guilty,” CNN, May 17, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/16/us/trump-supporters-immigrant-beating/.

lxv For example, see “Sanders Statement on Nevada,” May 17, 2016 accessed January 2, 2017,. Available at https://berniesanders.com/press-release/statement-nevada/; and Nolan D. McCaskill, “Clinton condemns attacks on Trump supporters,” Politico, June 3, 2016 accessed January 2, 2017,. Available at http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/clinton-trump-rally-violence-223885.

lxvi For example, see Dara Lind, “Donald Trump’s appalling reaction to a hate crime committed in his name,” Vox, August 21, 2015, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.vox.com/2015/8/20/9182169/trump-hate-crime.

lxvii Donald Trump, rally in Warren, Michigan, March 4, 2016.

lxviii Donald Trump, rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, February 1, 2016.

lxix Donald Trump, rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 22, 2016 and rally in Saint Louis, Missouri, March 11, 2016

lxx Donald Trump, rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 22, 2016. Also, Donald Trump, rally in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, February 26, 2016.

lxxi Tom Liddy, “Trump Says He Wants Protesters Arrested, Pepper Spray Used Outside,” ABC News, March 12, accessed January 2, 2017, 2016. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-interrupted-times-kansas-city-rally-calls-protesters/story?id=37607094.

lxxii Donald Trump, Twitter, March 13, 2016.

lxxiii Sarah Childress, PBS Frontline, “Why Trump’s Violent Rhetoric Is Protected Speech,” March 14, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/why-trumps-violent-rhetoric-is-protected-speech/.

lxxiv Jeff Howard, “The ‘Brandenburg test’ for incitement to violence,” Free Speech Debate, April 29, 2013, accessed January 2, 2017, http://freespeechdebate.com/en/case/the-brandenburg-test-for-incitement-to-violence/.

lxxv Galtung, 292.

lxxvi CBS News, “Full Video: Hillary Clinton says ‘words matter’ while talking Trump in Des Moines,” August 10, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/full-video-hillary-clinton-says-words-matter-while-talking-trump-in-des-moines/.

lxxvii For example, see Paul Bedard, “Spooked: Clinton claims Trump fans chant ‘Hang her in the streets,’” Washington Examiner, October 13, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/spooked-clinton-claims-trump-fans-chant-hang-her-in-the-streets/article/2604448#! and Robert Mackey, “Violence against Hillary Clinton becomes a theme at Trump rallies,” The Intercept, October 23, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://theintercept.com/liveblogs/trumpdown/violence-hillary-clinton-becomes-theme-trump-rallies/.

lxxviii Andrew Kaczynski, “Donald Trump’s Favorite Bible Teaching Is ‘Eye For An Eye,’” Buzzfeed, April 14, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/donald-trumps-favorite-bible-teaching-is-eye-for-an-eye?utm_term=.cpqbEVvql#.qiqY0V6yx.

lxxix Theodore Schleifer, “Donald Trump on reporters: ‘I would never kill them,’” CNN, December 22, 2015, accessed January 2, 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/21/politics/trump-putin-killing-reporters/.

lxxx Infowars, “Hillary Clinton, Stop Killing People,” August 28, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bemC4oAQEaw.

lxxxi See http://www.infowars.com/donate/, accessed January 2, 2017.

lxxxii See, for example, Daniel M. Shea and Alex Sproveri, “The Rise and Fall of Nasty Politics in America,” PS: Political Science and Politics 45, no. 3 (July 2012).

lxxxiii For example, Thad Dunning, “Fighting and Voting: Violent Conflict and Electoral Politics,” The Journal of Conflict Resolution 55, no. 3 (June 2011): 327–339.

lxxxiv For example, see Electoral Violence Project, http://www.electoralviolenceproject.com/.

lxxxv Human Rights Watch, “United States: Events of 2016,” World Report 2017, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/united-states.

lxxxvi Gideon Rachman, “Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and the lure of the strongman,” Financial Times, May 16, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.ft.com/content/1c6ff2ce-1939-11e6-b197-a4af20d5575e.

lxxxvii Full statement transcribed in Shehab Khan’s “UN’s human rights chief compares ‘demagogues’ Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and Geert Wilders to Isis,” Independent, September 6, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/un-s-human-rights-chief-compares-donald-trump-nigel-farage-and-geert-wilders-to-isis-a7227486.html.

lxxxviii For example, see Ben Jacobs, “Donald Trump renews support for waterboarding at Ohio rally: ‘I like it a lot,’” The Guardian, June 29, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/28/donald-trump-ohio-rally-isis-torture-tpp-rape and Pamela Engel, “DONALD TRUMP: ‘I would bomb the s--- out of' ISIS,” Business Insider, November 13, 2015, accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-bomb-isis-2015-11?r=US&IR=T&IR=T

lxxxix Pamela Engel, “Donald Trump is the ‘preferred candidate’ of ISIS, experts warn,” Business Insider – Nordic, September 3, 2016, accessed January 2, 2017, http://nordic.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-isis-candidate-analysts-2016-9?r=US&IR=T.

xc Shea and Sproveri, 421.

xci Mishra, “The Globalization of Rage” https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2016-10-17/globalization-rage.

xcii Slavoj Zizek was also very vocal during the election. In November 2016, Zizek spoke publically at several points about the U.S. election, his dislike of Hillary Clinton, and how Donald Trump, despite his crude and violent demeanor, represented center-liberal policies and offered an opportunity for a “great awakening.”

xciii Slavoj Zizek, Violence: Six Sideways Glances (London: Profile Books, 2008), 1.

xciv Ibid., 2.

xcv Bruce B. Lawrence and Aisha Karim, eds, On Violence: A Reader (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007), 5.

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References

Electronic reference

Samira Saramo, « The Meta-violence of Trumpism », European journal of American studies [Online], 12-2 | 2017, document 3, Online since 10 August 2017, connection on 17 October 2017. URL : http://ejas.revues.org/12129 ; DOI : 10.4000/ejas.12129

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