I’m supposed to write an introduction about how Donald Trump has shocked the nation by implying that Clinton should be shot. [Insert shock.] I should review the long litany of other bombastic things he has said. [List goes here.]
But you know.
And you’re not really shocked.
My first reaction hearing about this upon waking up was not shock. It was to thin it was old news. I checked the time stamp and figured that we’re just at the point that Donald Trump can say this and it does not shock me. After I stretched and ingested some caffeine, I realized it was only sort of old news. I was remembering Sharron Angle.
It’s cool if you’re not—I actually had to Google for her name. The search term I used was “Second Amendment Remedies” and the top hit, from Huffington Post, will tell you why. Here is the quote:
Angle: I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who’s in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical…
Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.
Angle: Well it’s to defend ourselves. And you know, I’m hoping that we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.
The echo is unmistakable.
But this was not the first time I’d noticed this happen. In fact, the last two times he was echoing Bernie Sanders. He has taken aim at Clinton by suggesting that the election will be rigged, another echo. He has also suggested that the debate schedule is rigged, something that Sanders himself was more tacit about but widely* circulated by his supporters. In both cases, this was a deliberate attempt to call out to Sanders supporters.
So there you have it. This is a deliberate strategy by Trump. He is trying to call out to people who his campaign thinks he can or needs to woo. Yes, this is corrosive to electoral norms and potentially deadly. But let’s stop feigning shock.
Plenty of people in this country still think our democracy needs a “second amendment remedy”.
*At risk of litigating this after it matters, it was probably more the case that the DNC knew there would be no major challengers from inside the party and did not schedule many debates. That they were unwilling to accommodate Sanders was likely bias and the simple fact that he was never a Democrat.