Opinion

Why Are Hillary, Dem Leaders Silent As Base Descends Into Violence?

Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com

Katie Frates Editor-in-chief of The Daily Walkthrough

For a candidate who practically made accepting the election results a party platform, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has been conspicuously silent on the riots, assaults and protests against President-elect Donald Trump.

The Obamas, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Bernie Sanders have been noticeably quiet, too.

And then there’s Sen. Harry Reid, who’s doing his best to inflame tensions.

Losing an election doesn’t absolve a person of the responsibility to guide their party: It’s the single most important thing they can do as emotions run high — especially in an election where those emotions have overflowed into physical violence.

Democrats’ motto is “When they go low, we go high,” according to first lady Michelle Obama, but now that Trump has risen above Hillary, Democratic leaders are burying their heads in the sand to avoid gazing upon the unravelling of their base into the exact type of riots they said would come from Trump supporters.

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Sarah Kendzior wrote in Quartz that she worried potential Trump riots would be worse than the riots over the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. “This is the nightmare St. Louis endured in the fall of 2014,” she wrote. “And it is a nightmare that may play out in cities across the U.S., both on Election Day and in the weeks to follow.”

Washington Times writer S.A. Miller described Democratic fears of “neo-Nazis,” “riots” and “chaos” if Trump lost.

“This is scary stuff,” Huffington post reporter Julia Craven wrote. “Trump rally attendees have physically and verbally abused protesters.”

Less than two weeks after Craven wrote that piece, anti-Trump protesters at the University of Michigan spray-painted “Kill ‘Em All,” and “Fuck America” on a large rock on campus. Twitter exploded with calls to assassinate Trump:

The CEO of PacketSled, a tech security company, resigned after he threatened to kill Trump on his personal Facebook page.

Trump supporters have been assaulted in Illinois, Maryland, New York, Virginia, Connecticut, California, Florida and Georgia. They have been beaten, dragged from their cars, kicked, sent to the emergency room and punched in the head. The Daily Caller News Foundation’s editor in chief, Christopher Bedford, was assaulted by a woman in New York the day after the election for holding Trump signs he’d taken as souvenirs from covering the Hilton ballroom. TheDCNF’s Ted Goodman was punched in the face in Washington, D.C., during a protest outside Trump’s new hotel.

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A “Hamilton” castmember chastised Vice President-elect Mike Pence when he and his family attended a showing in New York City Friday. “We are a diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that this new administration will not protect us … I would truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values on behalf of all of us—all of us.”

Pence responded the next day on “Fox News Sunday,” calling the play, “an incredible production, and incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there. You know when we arrived, we heard a few boos, and we heard some cheers,” he said. “I nudged my kids and reminded them that’s what freedom sounds like.”

There has been no fierce condemnation of post-election violence by Democratic leadership. The most we’ve seen is Obama, Hillary and Pelosi congratulating Trump on his victory and encouraging a need to “come together and find common ground.”

Reid has failed to do even that; he blamed Trump for the post-election violence.

“Senator Reid is calling for Trump to rise to the responsibility of his office and help put an end to all the hate crimes that have been committed since Election Day, but so far, he has failed,” a representative for Reid told Breitbart News.

Congratulating someone on winning the White House and hoping for a peaceful transition are not the same thing as quelling a violent uprising. Having the audacity to blame Trump for Democratic  constituents assaulting Republican constituents is downright shameful.

“Now, I will admit, coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing for me,” an understandably subdued Hillary said at a speech for Children’s Defense Fund. “The divisions laid bare by this election run deep, but please listen to me when I say this. America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values and never, ever give up.”

Acknowledging divisions and then telling people to continue fighting is not the ideal message to send when people are being attacked on the streets.

Obama wasn’t able to offer much more in his speech with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday, “as long as we stay true to our Democratic principles, as long as elections have integrity, as long as we respect freedom of speech,” he said. “I have confidence that over the long term, progress will continue.”

Protesters and rioters are not respecting freedom of speech, and they’re not respecting the integrity of America’s Nov. 8 presidential election.

It’s an ugly thing for Democratic leaders to recognize their party holds the same twisted divisiviness they insist only exists in the dark reaches of the Republican Party. Every fear they concoted about nasty Trump supporters was realized in videos, pictures and articles spewing hatred and vitriol toward Trump. They have to recognize those problems, though, and they have to actively tackle them for the health of the Democratic Party, American democracy and the nation’s unity.

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“I often quote Marian when she says that service is the rent we pay for living. Well, you don’t get to stop paying rent just because things don’t go your way,” Hillary said at Children’s Defense Fund, in her first speech since her election concession. “I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election. I am too, more than I can ever express, but as I said last week, our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and about building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and bighearted.”

Hillary stopped paying rent the moment she lost the election, and if she truly wants an America that “stands together,” she needs to step up and make it so.

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