A nation’s deep and angry political divide collided on a Chicago college campus Friday night, keeping Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump from taking the stage at a major rally just days before the Illinois primary.
The volatile convergence of thousands of Trump supporters and protesters, which resulted in sporadic skirmishes inside and outside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, reflected the two extremes of the political landscape — a disaffected right wing and a dissatisfied left wing. . .
Five people were arrested at the shuttered event — charges against them are pending early Saturday, police said — and two officers were injured. They were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. . .
Here’s a short report on the Friday night rally from CBS News:
Then on Saturday morning, there was a disruption at a Trump rally in Ohio, according to NBC News:
A Donald Trump rally took a dramatic turn Saturday when a disturbance broke out behind him — causing Secret Service agents to jump on stage and form a wall around the candidate amid the commotion.
A campaign spokeswoman said that a man at the Dayton, Ohio, event “attempted to breach the secure buffer and was removed rapidly and professionally.”
The suspect was identified as Thomas Dimassimo, 32, and was charged with disorderly conduct and inducing panic — both misdemeanors, Chief Mike Etter of the Dayton Airport Police Department told NBC News.
Dimassimo jumped the bike racks and tried to climb onto the stage, but was stopped by Secret Service stationed there, Etter said. He was being held at the Montgomery County jail in Dayton.
Here is video of the disturbance on Saturday:
Of course, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio jumped in to blame Trump for the disturbances, but it may have boomeranged on them, as Breibart reports Facebook comments from former supporters:
Jerry Shalow: Cruz you lost my vote for using this protest for your political game. Rubio also. Trump has my vote.. . .
Pappy Beagles: I’m a Texan, I voted for you for the senate, and was supporting you for president, up until you blamed Trump for the savage behavior of Hillary and Bernie supporters in Chicago. . .
Gayle Natale: Mr. Cruz, I just listened to your response regarding the protestors who caused Mr. Trump to cancel his rally in Chicago. You did not mention the violation of the first amendment once during your speech. I am extremely dissapointed in you. . .
Jace Conners: Ted Cruz… i was an undecided voter who was leaning your way then you blamed trump for the actions of violent protesters. I am now voting Trump thanks for helping me make my choice tonight.
Mike John Monseur: . . .I’m so disappointed in you Mr. Cruze. You lost my vote.
Roy Stiles: Ted Cruz. . .after you comments tonight in response to what happened at the Trump rally in Chicago I can assure you that I will not only not support you again for Senate in Texas, but I will actively campaign against you.
Dave Schiff: Cruz. . .You say you are a constitutional conservative defending the rights of individuals. You are a fraud and no better than Obama. How dare you. I would not ever vote for a fraud like you.
Danny Ashman: Pathetic rubio fraud. How about defend our 1st amendment rights here instead of sniping at your competitor who is crushing you
Mary Minerd Speegle: When Carson left , you were my pick. Sorry Marco but your words have consequences too. Trump 2016
Sarah Hanchey: Marco, you crossed the line by blaming Trump for the violence that protestors bring to his rally or to any other event. Your words will have consequences for you.
Pam Steiner-Conley: I am listening to Rubio on the Trump rally protest and laughing at his comment that words have consequences, Yes Marco, words do have consequences as you saw, since your words spoken about Trump lost you a lot of votes.
For those of us old enough to remember, Chicago is the same city that hosted the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the most violent in history. The protestors didn’t like that the party establishment passed over liberal Eugene McCarthy, and nominated more-centrist Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
It might be noted that four years later, the radicals won, and nominated George McGovern, who lost in the worst landslide in American history. But the real message is that the protestors turned America against their party. And when America feels threatened, here or abroad, they have always, in recent times, turned to the Republicans to bring back “law and order.”
And that is the irony of the protests. Not only are they alienating people from their cause, they are giving Trump the nomination—especially when his opponents are so tone-deaf in their response. And, of course, if the protests continue, the country will likely turn to the Republicans, in general, to put their foot down on unreasonable dissent.
Could this year’s election have even more surprising twists and turns for us??