Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more. Hosted by Larry Mantle

History of violent rhetoric in presidential campaigns

by AirTalk®

136159 full
A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump heckles demonstrators before the start of a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago on March 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The campaign decided to postpone the rally, citing safety concerns, after learning hundreds of demonstrators were given tickets for the event. Scott Olson/Getty Images

In recent weeks, violent rhetoric aimed at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for her to be hanged or shot by firing squad.

The latest instance was a Riverside Republican who used that county's official Republican Party Twitter account to post an image of a masked, bloody hangman with the text: "I'm ready for Hillary." Nathan Miller has since resigned from his job at the California Board of Equalization and could face further fallout.

During the Republican convention in Cleveland, Trump advisor and state representative from New Hampshire Al Baldasaro was discussing the Benghazi affair on a radio show and said, "This whole thing disgusts me, Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason."

Not since the Civil War era has political rhetoric been so violent, according to presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

"In the U.S. Senate people would be each other with canes. Duels happened regularly between government officials if you insulted someone. So the idea of violent rhetoric isn't new, but this isn't the 19th Century anymore. In our age of political assassinations, when you call for the hanging of a candidate, that is a death threat."

Why has this election cycle and/or these candidates stirred extreme rhetoric?


Douglas Brinkley, Presidential Historian & Professor of History, Rice University; Fellow, James Baker, III Institute for Public Policy


blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy AirTalk®? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC