Trump’s Influence

Mass shootings and hate crimes have both increased since Donald Trump was elected. It is not a coincidence.

According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, the United States is continuing to experience a steady rise in hate crimes in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

The report compiles data collected at the city level for hate crimes as well as extremist activity, providing what Levin described as a “proxy” for information around the country.

Levin found that American cities are experiencing decade-high rates in hate crimes, after an eight percent increase in 2018 compared to the previous year.

The rise is occurring amid a broader decrease in crime and homicide rates, with white nationalists and far-right extremists continuing to be the “most ascendant” group behind violent extremism, the report found. The “overwhelming majority” of extremist domestic homicides in 2018 were committed “by white nationalist/far right sole assailants who attacked around the mid-term elections,” per the report.

“The overwhelming majority of declining extremist domestic homicides in 2018 were by white nationalist/far right sole assailants who attacked around the mid-term elections,” the report reads.

The data on hate crimes comes from 30 U.S. cities, assembled to provide a top-down view of the situation. Fourteen out of the 30 experienced decade-high rates of hate crime occurrences last year.

It no longer surprises us to learn, in the wake of a mass shooting, that the perpetrator was a member of one of America’s proliferating rightwing groups. In a post following the killings at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, Ed Brayton commented on the predictability of the discovery.

Here’s a shocker. The guy who shot up the Gilroy Garlic Festival (which I’ve attended before and it’s amazing) turns out to be a white supremacistwho posted anti-immigrant rhetoric on his social media and told everyone to read a book from the late 1800s that advocated violence based on eugenics and is a popular book among other white supremacists.

The shooter had posted diatribes asserting that only “strength and violence” determine morality, and referencing a book –“Right is Might”–that Brayton notes is “filled with misogynistic and anti-Semitic rhetoric, and is a staple among neo-Nazis and white supremacists on extremist sites.”

This is not the least bit surprising. In 2018, 50 people were killed by domestic terrorists and the ADL reports that those acts of terrorism were “overwhelmingly linked to right-wing extremists” and that “White supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings, which is typically the case.” In fact, all but one of those acts in 2018 was committed by a right-wing extremist and that one terrorist used to be a white supremacist and converted to Islamic extremism shortly before he went off.

Bloggers and political pundits have linked this increase in white supremacist mayhem to Trump and his rhetoric. Scholarship confirms the accusation. Recently, The Brookings Institution published an analysis well worth reading in its entirety. Noting that many observers have questioned the connection, they consulted the data.

It would be naïve to think that data will change many individuals’ minds on this topic, but nonetheless, there is substantial evidence that Trump has encouraged racism and benefitted politically from it….

There is a clear correlation between Trump campaign events and incidents of prejudiced violence. FBI data show that since Trump’s election there has been an anomalous spike in hate crimes concentrated in counties where Trump won by larger margins. It was the second-largest uptick in hate crimes in the 25 years for which data are available, second only to the spike after September 11, 2001….

The association between Trump and hate crimes is not limited to the election itself. Another study, based on data collected by the Anti-Defamation League, shows that counties that hosted a Trump campaign rally in 2016 saw hate crime rates more than double compared to similar counties that did not host a rally.

Bottom line: 2020 will be a referendum on hate.

At this point, the Democrats could nominate a potted plant and it will have my vote.


  1. The appointment of Donald Trump to the presidency is proof of that old adage, “Anyone in America can grow up to be president.” Little did we know the ugly turn that could…and did…take.

    There is no way to study or calculate the influence Trump has had on splits between close family members, ending lifelong friendships and neighborhood civility to one another. This phenomena happened leading up to, during and after the Civil War; at this time the Trump divisive influence is throughout this nation and has worked its way into other nations at a dangerous level. The mass shootings and hate crimes began at the “grassroots” level within our homes, neighborhoods and workplaces and has spread to religious denominations and our school children.

    “Mass shootings and hate crimes have both increased since Donald Trump was elected. It is not a coincidence.”

    I have said before and will say again; we NEED to know why the Republican party dropped SIXTEEN viable and actual Republican presidential nominees and foisted Trump on this nation to know why they sit idle as he destroys what being an American once meant to America and the world.

  2. Well … I hope the Democrat Primary yields someone better than a potted plant. I have a feeling this metaphor will take root today with the choir.

  3. Trump needs to clear up his rhetoric. As President in this situation needs to stay on task and continually denounce these shootings and white nationalist
    As Trump is polling almost 20 % of the minority vote pundits are hitting the air waves. Gov Einsley called him a white nationalist on CNN Saturday as he is running for President.
    Political pundits are concerned the economy is still good and jobs are being produced. Some are actually hoping for a recession and mull over how people losing jobs is almost okay with them.
    Policies changes need to be addressed and the electorate is tired of the pundits as polls show a lack of interest in the rhetoric as we head into the official start of the 2020 race after Labor Day.

  4. JoAnn,

    To answer your question, read Tim Alberta’s book, “American Carnage”. It shows how pathetically immoral, weak and self-serving the Republican party is and has been for a long time. We have been beating this dead horse for a couple years on this blog.

    The crime statistics of hate cannot be any big surprise in view of all the issues discussed here: guns, immigration, the widening political divide, etc. etc. Trump’s sickness has released the dogs of hate and, I fear, another civil war.

  5. Never fear, the white nationalists in our government are on the job. They’re seeking to declare Antifa a terrorist organization. Now I may have missed it, but I don’t recall seeing or reading any news about attacks by Antifa. How many have they killed while I was busy watching white nationalists kill over 30 people in one week-end?

  6. Sheila writes, “At this point, the Democrats could nominate a potted plant and it will have my vote.”

    And the plant (Joe Biden), would lose like Hillary did, maybe worse, but still, lose.

    There are many more relevant issues then hate needing resolving. We have the economy and climate change which matter to the under 35 crowds. Not sure why this point continues to be ignored by academe. Maybe because they are comfortable in their status with tenure and six-figure salaries.

    We’ll need much more than a “potted plant” to excite voters in the rural and suburban areas who feel the pinch the worse from the economy — an economy set up for another implosion prior to the election.

    By the way, hate crimes exploded 1,800% under the Obama years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Hate arrived before Trump and it will still be there after Trump. It was the Tea Party’s impetus and now the GOP’s.

    The real question is, “Will the GOP change its ways if Trump loses?”

  7. The combination of the NRA and the Republican Party has had the same effect on our country as ISIS and Muslim extremists have had on their countries in setting up the ability to fight an assymetrical war otherwise known as terrorism. The combination of extremism and the means of terrorizing are a very toxic combination for everyone. In Muslim countries the changes sprang both from the pulpit and the arms industry and here entertainment media was added to the mix with the same result.

    We are now both stuck with that toxic combination. However because of the foresight of the founders of our country the door is not yet slammed shut and locked down as it is in the MIddle East.

    Realistically though we have only one opportunity left. That decision will be history changing either way it goes.

  8. As some have already written, the trend was BT (before Trump). A simplistic view is the confluence of the 2008 recession and a Black president pushed the “go”button.

    As for how the GOP nominated Trump, with so many candidates, he only got around 20% of all votes cast, but his folks turned out. Try to imagine the same thing happening to the DEMs if so many candidates are still around….someone with highly turned on supporters does the same thing….Beto? Yang? Chances of these against Trump – 0.

  9. I’d definitely vote for a well-mannered Democrat Labrador Retriever; that would be much better than the status quo.

  10. Todd, “And the plant (Joe Biden), would lose like Hillary did, maybe worse, but still, lose.”

    The Corporate Democrats regularly featured on CNN and MSDNC have been forced to walk back or tortuously explain, Corporate Joe Biden’s latest “mis-statement” or gaffe. One excuse I heard, was Corporate Joe was not as bad as President Agent Orange when it comes to playing fast and loose with the truth. So the bar is lowered.

    The Corporate Democrats and their allies on Wall Street are desperate to shield Corporate Joe. He is better than President Agent Orange as a Campaign Rallying Cry, is a loser.

  11. The world and the country find ourselves in an awkward position. A century of experimentation has concluded that despite all of the economic philosophies of the past the ones that work best for we the people are the plain old mixed economies of socialism and capitalism.

    However there unsurprisingly are other considerations, more nuance, in the mix mostly due to too many people tugging at earth’s stretched too thin resources and inability to support this many people living this lifestyle.

    That is an existential threat that simply has to be dealt with and Republicans have instead gone into full denial of reality.

    As with many huge problems the biggest challenge is the transition, getting to there from here, not just being there.

    That will take the combination of working within what is in order to reframe it to what will last, is sustainable, not temporary.

    When people use the term “corporate Democrats” my reaction is the same as to hearing Republicans label liberals as socialists because extreme language just ignores the breadth of the problems to be solved.

    The solutions that we need will require corporations focused on all stakeholders and socialism taking over markets where capitalism has failed like health care and energy supply and contributions will come not from exclusionary thinking but inclusionary collaboration from everywhere on the spectrum.

  12. While sitting in Pep Boys this morning waiting for an oil change in my 23 year old Pontiac Sunfire; I picked up a copy of “The Weekly View”; a free community newspaper on the east side of Indianapolis, IN. On page 2 I found an article by Brian Howey who also has a website, Howey Political Report. The article, “Mike Pence’s greatest political risk” fits into today’s blog issue regarding “Trump’s Influence”. Mr. Howey does not appear to be a Pence fan but made some interesting observations regarding the Trump/Pence partnership till the last sentence in this article.

    “It has been fascinating to watch Mike and Karen Pence orchestrate his ascension onto the national stage…….Mike Pence rarely strayed from a tight set of talking points……Within this context, it is absolutely stunning to watch Vice President Pence consign such a controlled career to Donald Trump’s motorcycle sidecar…” (I love that observation) Mr. Howey ends his article with this interesting observation, “The shrewdest move Mike Pence could make today is to decline a second veep nomination, then prepare for 2024 on his own terms.”

    Just today, an AOL news article reported Trump is very satisfied with Mike Pence as his Vice President and intends to keep him on. But; as we know with Trump, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” He may walk back that comment only to decide to stick with the status quo; Pence as his ever-faithful, silent Bobble Head in most public appearances has kept the evangelicals in his camp and his influence with them is strong.

  13. Donald Trump inspires and encourages both hate and violence. There are several examples, but the one that sticks in my mind was his campaign rally where he said he would pay the legal fees of those who he encouraged to rough up protestors. Encouraging folks to break the law by committing violent acts should have been disqualifying for anyone seeking to become commander in chief.

  14. Pete – kudos! Calling each other names is just what our President wants – a divided, spiteful country. Let’s not get down in that gutter with him…

  15. Nancy Papas; on July 1st, a law went into effect here in Indiana that all who are licensed to carry weapons may take them into schools and churches. If they feel threatened and use their weapons, the state of Indiana will pay for their defense.

    As ugly as Trump’s encouragement of violence and his statement that he will pay for their defense; this is an actual enacted law.

  16. I informed my morning coffee discussion group of data that show the rise in hate crimes is occurring amid a broader decrease in crime and homicide rates.

    One man laughed so hard I thought he would fall out of his chair. I wanted to know what he thought was so funny.

    His answer:
    “Any of you snowflakes realize that what that means is if you get enough hate crime, other crime and homicides will totally disappear? It’s what smart people has been trying to tell you for two-hundred years.”

  17. Larry; did Nurse Rached then medicate him to prevent the other patients from having hysterics?

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