The story over the weekend was of anti-Donald Trump protestors, particularly young students from UIC, forcing Trump to cancel one of his beer-hall rallies taking place on their campus. Trump’s people either feared a terrible scene (going so far as to lie about the police telling them to cancel) or were hoping to provoke one. Either way, they got what they want, as violence broke out when livid Trump supporters turned on the protestors. It was a watershed moment in this increasingly-terrifying campaign, as brutality has become part and parcel of Trump 2016.
As for the protests themselves, ideas are mixed. Charlie Pierce thinks that they should stay outside and not give the Trump people what they want, and Digby, taking the logic a step further, argues that the media will coalesce around these images, in a bout of “both sides are bad” idiocy. Already, as she points out, the right is muddying the waters, and if there is one thing the Republican party can coalesce around, it is painting themselves as victims of the elite (in this case defined as college students).
That leads us our main question: we’ve had days of asking who the anti-Trump people are, but not enough of asking who the huge contingency of pro-Trump people in Chicago are. It was satisfying to see that what worked in some cities didn’t fly here, but that didn’t mean no one showed up. Leaving aside the mix of the celebrity happy and addled curious, who in this Democratic city came to see this authoritarian blowhard? The answer can be traced to a former alderman and career crook named Eddie Vrodolyak.