After Trump's tweets, how likely is it that the 2020 election will turn violent?

Opinion: Is it only a matter of time before today's charged rhetoric leads to violence? Our Voices: Engaging Arizona group weighs in.

The Republic |
A shouting match ensued near a police barrier at the Amway Center, where President Trump launched his re-election campaign. But no violence occurred.

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans fear today's political rhetoric could lead to violence, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. And after the uproar over Donald Trump's "go back" tweets, politicians on both sides warned that violence could spill into the 2020 election.

Do you think they're right?

We posed that question to our Voices: Engaging Arizona Facebook group. While readers disagreed on the extent of the conflict, the conversation remained refreshingly civil.

It's not if, but how much violence

"Could bring violence"? Charlottesville, anyone? The person currently occupying the Oval Office makes it a practice to incite violence. Remember his offer to pay the legal bills for whomever was willing to punch a protester at one of his campaign rallies? It's not "could"; instead, it's how much.

Robert Walker,Queen Creek, retired teacher

We'll see violence, even if Trump loses

I'm also concerned that should Trump lose the 2020 election, he won't go quietly or without a fight. As we saw in Charlottesville and have seen since, he has a number of supporters who fancy themselves "patriots" who openly talk of a stronger method of enjoying Second Amendment rights. 

Jude Clark,Buckeye, retired engineer

What do we expect from 'trigger phrases?'

When our president uses phrases such as "send her back," it provokes people to use such phrases and language at political rallies. The problem is they are what I call trigger phrases. They're designed to initiate a negative response. Which is going to lead to violence. 

Katrina Martinez, Buckeye, claims adjuster

This is a conflict of politics, not race

It is true that Mr. Trump's "go back" comment ("Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how ...") was inappropriate and thoughtless. That kind of talk has an historical association with bigotry. But this president often speaks without thinking or choosing his words carefully.

It has long been obvious that the friction between Mr. Trump and the four progressive members of the “squad” arises from extreme political disagreements over border security, immigration policy, the Green New Deal, the image of America (is it an admirable or a bad country?), foreign policy and other issues, including even President Trump’s legitimacy and possible impeachment.

We are witnessing nothing less than a conflict of visions, a clash over policies, and a fight for influence. This is a political fight, not a race war.

Eugene Adler,Peoria, forensic toxicologist

Remember the riots we saw in 2016?

Could the 2020 election bring violence? Of course. Remember the riots, flag burning and protesters chanting “not my president” immediately following Trump's 2016 election? 

The question is, can we do anything about it this time? It would literally take an “act of God,” but I think we could. 

We’re in a battle for the soul of America. So many accusations and angry explosions are tearing our nation apart. What if we followed Jesus’ words to love God with our whole heart and love others as ourselves?

Jan Potter,Phoenix, homemaker

Chicago 1968 is a possibility

Is violence possible? Yes. I'll give you two possible scenarios not mentioned so far: 1) In Portland, Ore., a masked, helmeted Antifa member beat a reporter. Or 2) Chicago 1968.

David Winstanley,Mesa, semi-retired engineer

No one wants to unify us, and it shows

I think it will be just as if not more violent as the 2016 election, and from both sides. We don’t currently have any national leaders whose aim is to unify our country, and it shows.

Samantha Arce,Phoenix, social media consultant

Want in on this and other civil debates about the news? Fill out a short form to be considered for our moderated Voices: Engaging Arizona Facebook group. 

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