A day after fistfights and shoving broke out at his planned event in Chicago, Donald Trump on Saturday blamed the violence on opponents who “taunted” and harassed his supporters, and he continued to pledge that he would unify the country.
The events of the night before had conjured a horrible flashback to the 1960s, when police and protesters fought in the streets of the same city during the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Thousands who had gathered for his appearance began scuffling after it was canceled, and then some continued the conflict outside.
Nothing about it was surprising: A flammable brew of populist anger, campaign mismanagement, a candidate’s own provocative encouragement and disruptive protesters finally found its fuse. The explosion was predictable, given tensions in the country around its changing demographic face and economic displacement that has left many fearful and upset and receptive audiences for Trump’s surprisingly strong candidacy.