Donald Trump has built a platform for himself on unabashed statements that spread fear and perpetuate hate, and his message continues to resonate with Americans. He's bragged that his supporters would stand loyal even if Trump attempted murder in the middle of 5th Avenue. And his campaign has gone to great lengths to ensure only these top-level supporters fill rally halls, going so far as enforcing a "loyalty oath" and ejecting those who don't comply.
But like his policies, these security measures have flaws and dissenters have Jedi-mind-tricked their way through those cracks so that as a hate-filled piece of rhetoric masked as a plan to "make America great again" falls from Trump's lips, a voice of opposition is there to call for love instead.
National campaigns like StopHateDumpTrump have launched to unite and empower people to tackle the hateful rhetoric -- but it should be known that many, if not all of these actions have been uncoordinated amongst each other. These individual actions are united only in cause -- to dismantle Trump's platform of hate one disruption at a time.
Here are some of the actions:
November 22nd, 2015 -- A protester in Birmingham, Alabama was attacked after shouting Black Lives Matter during a rally.
December 4th, 2015 -- More than two dozen Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina with a sign that read "Stop the Hate. We Make America Great." Among the protesters was Romain Stanley who tweeted: "Forcibly removed from #trump rally. Trump supporters kicked me, grabbed my neck, pushed me, and more all while security jacks me up."
December 11th, 2015 -- Trump's $1,000 plate luncheon was disrupted by a dozen protesters who chanted "Trump is trying to bring us down, targeting people black and brown." All protesters were forcibly removed, including a Latino veteran with a disability who was pushed down a flight of stairs and an Arab woman who was thrown to the ground.
December 12th, 2015 -- Holding signs reading "Refugees Welcome," protesters were threatened and shoved as they disrupted Trump's Aiken, South Carolina stop.
December 14th, 2015 -- Up to 20 protesters were violently battered and removed from a Las Vegas event while a supporter yelled a Nazi salute from the crowd.
January 7th, 2016 -- A half dozen protesters disrupted a Burlington, Vermont rally carrying "Dump Trump" signs. Trump made calls from the stage to confiscate a protester's coat, knowing it was 10 degrees outside at the time.
January 8th, 2016 -- Muslim woman Rose Hamid stood silently at a rally in Rock Hill, North Carolina, wearing a hijab and a yellow star reading "Muslim". Hamid was removed for disrupting, but argues that the real disruption came from those who heckled her in the crowd. Several other protesters disrupted the rally after Hamid was ejected.
January 20th, 2016 -- High school students in Tulsa, Oklahoma ditched school to interject their twist on Trump's campaign slogan into his rally. Their sign -- which was smuggled into the event in one of their shoes -- was eventually taken and stomped on by supporters.
January 21st, 2016 -- This was the day I took action and disrupted a Las Vegas, Nevada rally -- my banner reading "Stop the Hate" was ripped from my hands as I was shoved through the crowd and covered in supporter signs.
January 24th, 2016 -- Two men -- one wearing a red turban -- unfurled a banner reading "Stop Hate" at a rally in Muscatine, Iowa while Trump spoke on "Islamic Terror". Trump questioned the audience as to whether or not the man was "wearing one of those hats".
January 26th, 2016 -- At least three separate actions took place in the Iowa City, Iowa rally: Melyssa Jo Kelly pulled out a "No Racism" sign, Andrew Alemao wore a shirt reading "Heil Trumpler 2016" and threw tomatoes at the stage, and a series of whistle blowers adorning t-shirts reading "I Stand with My Muslim Neighbors" annoyed Trump to the point of him asking "Am I allowed to rip that whistle out of their mouth?"
January 28th, 2016 -- Trump's "Special Event for Veterans" in Des Moines, Iowa held at the same time as the GOP Debate was twice interrupted by veterans shouting "We love Veterans, Trump loves War."
February 16th, 2016 -- High school senior Thomas Hill was violently ejected from a North Augusta, South Carolina rally with sign reading "Keep America Great, Keep All Immigrants".
February 19th, 2016 -- On the eve of the South Carolina primary, a group of 10 military veterans unfurled a banner that read, "Mr. Trump: Veterans are not props for hate. We stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers." The group was forcibly removed from the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina rally.
February 22nd, 2016 -- Protesters in Las Vegas, Nevada elicited Trump's most vile response yet on the eve of the Nevada primary. As one man was hauled off by security, a second protester held a sign reading "Veterans to Trump: End hate speech against Muslims."
Now you may be thinking -- these disruptions are not as clever as the Marco Rubio Robot or as hilarious as Ted Cruz's Nickelback Troll or as pointed as this climate crew's many photobombs. Aside from some incredible, meme-worthy photos and viral videos from Trump disruptions, the real success of these actions is two-fold.
First, these disruptions have detracted from Trump's rants, further exposing his hot-tempered reaction to confrontation and the violent tendencies among Trump and his supporters. After Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted Trump last fall, Trump suggested the next day that they should have been "roughed up"
. After Thomas Hill's disruption in North Augusta, Trump brought the two "heroes" (one of the men was a two-tour Iraq War veteran), who abused the high school senior to the stage, for a handshake and a few words at the mic. And after a protester disrupted a Las Vegas rally, Trump said he would like to "punch him in the face."
Any semblance of playfulness has worn thin enough to reveal the trajectory of his verbal bullying towards physical aggression and violence. Make no mistake: we're seeing a microcosm of what we as a country would experience from a Trump presidency.
Second, Trump has gone to great lengths to silence and mock those who challenge him and oppose him, rejecting the principle that dissent is at the core of democracy. He accused Megyn Kelly of being on her period and ultimately ditched a second Fox News GOP Debate to avoid another round of her challenging questions. He called Ted Cruz a "pussy" for his differing opinion on waterboarding. He barked "you tell me" when questioned on how his ban on Muslims were different from Nazi Germany policies.
He exhibits no sense of curiosity or discourse. We've seen candidates embrace challenges and dissent in the crowd -- from Ted Cruz spontaneously entering into a 24 minute debate on the Iran Deal with Medea Benjamin, founder of CODEPINK to Bernie Sanders relinquishing the mic to Black Lives Matter protesters who took the stage to honor MIchael Brown. The repeated protests inside these rallies expose a deep threat to democracy -- there is no room for dissenting opinion in Trump's worldview.