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Despite heavy criticism after a weekend of violence at his presidential campaign rallies, Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Sunday stood by his antagonistic rhetoric, and blamed others instead of his supporters for the negative fallout.
“We’re not provoking. We want peace. … We don’t want trouble,” he told a large crowd in Bloomington, Illinois, reports The Associated Press.
The denial came less than 48 hours before voters in five states head to the polls on Super Tuesday, which could determine if Trump wins the nomination without a contested summer convention.
Sunday’s crowd stood in stark contrast to events Friday in Chicago, where angry protests broke out after Trump canceled a scheduled rally amid security concerns. A rally in Dayton, Ohio on Saturday devolved into chaos after a man rushed the stage when Trump took the podium. And last week, a Trump supporter was charged with punching a Black Lives Matter protester at a rally in North Carolina as the candidate allegedly cheered him on.
Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign is still on the line for an estimated $49,000 in costs associated with renting the UIC Pavilion at the University of Illinois, even though the rally was canceled, reports DNAinfo Chicago.
The violence at Trump’s rallies has drawn historical comparisons to George Wallace, the conservative populist politician and ardent segregationist, whose presidential campaign in 1968 called for “law and order,” notes fivethirtyeight:
To put these recent developments in proper context, however, we need to take a look at the evolution of the term “law-and-order politics,” which did not always contain an exclusively racial message. Law and order as Wallace defined it included a range of cultural as well as racial themes. Historian Dan T. Carter draws this distinction, noting that Wallace supporters were concerned with the “erosion of the cultural values that underlay the social system.”
In other words, as many have already observed, coded racial language has given way in 2016 to more overt appeals to resentment and exclusion. As Trump rallies attract protesters who object to these messages, racial tension has fused with the old 1960s definitions of law-and-order politics: disdain for those who question tradition and support for the use of force to keep order. Over the past 50 years, law-and-order politics has evolved to mean different things. The 2016 definition has arrived.
On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls in five states, including North Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio.
Do you think all the violence will hurt Trump’s chances at the polls? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.