Kurt Eichenwald is a reporter for Newsweek who has written several stories critical of Donald Trump and his business record. The GOP nominee doesn’t take criticism very well and, as it turns out, neither do his supporters.
Eichenwald has made no secret that he has epilepsy. Such seizures can often be triggered by flashing lights and that’s where Twitter user “Mike’s Deplorable AF” comes in. Apparently, he didn’t approve of Eichenwald’s fact-based criticism of Trump so he decided to send the reporter a video containing flashing lights and fast moving images. Thankfully, Eichenwald was able to look away from the video before anything happened. Regardless, it was an incredibly dangerous, petty and stupid thing to do. One might even characterize it as deplorable.
Because I have written critically about Trump, I have received innumerable death threats, sometimes just general invocations that I should die, sometimes more specific threats that I should be shot or “lynched,” as one Trump fan wrote. I have been called “kike,” “Jew” and “anti-American Zionist,” even though I’m Episcopalian with a Jewish father (as if that makes a difference). I have received video cartoons that look like they are from Nazi Germany of hook-nosed men dressed in Jewish garb rubbing their hands greedily over piles of money. I have been told to go back where I came from, whatever that means. I have been called “fag,” “pedo,” and once—in an email that made no sense—“nigger-lover.” One Trump fan mentioned he knew which schools my children attended, and correctly named them. Topping it off, some Trump fans have even gone after one of my sons online, although he knew enough to immediately block them.’
Unfortunately, Eichenwald’s case is far from an isolated one. Trump himself is well-known for suing media outlets that criticize him and his supporters have threatened numerous reporters solely for the crime of writing articles that cast their nominee in a negative light.
Charles Blow, an African-American journalist who writes for The New York Times, has received racist emails due to his criticisms of Trump. One reporter for NBC actually had to be escorted out of a rally by the Secret Service because Trump’s supporters were harassing her.
Even fellow conservatives aren’t safe from the wrath of Trump or his supporters. Bethany S. Mandel, who writes for the Libertarian-leaning The Federalist, was threatened to the point where she felt compelled to buy a gun for self-defense.
In a presidential campaign, it’s natural for passions to run high, but the venom spewed by Trump’s supporters is something we haven’t seen from a major party’s supporters in decades, if ever.
‘This is not an unavoidable consequence of a contentious political campaign. This is exceptional, a circumstance brought about by the gutter rants of Donald Trump and his refusal to condemn the racists, neo-Nazis and other deplorables who support him. That our country has reached this point, where the line between modern American political supporters and Hitler’s brownshirts is becoming thinner by the day, is unacceptable.’
It’s easy to place the blame solely on Trump. After all, he has refused to condemn the deplorables within his ranks, but he isn’t the sole cause of this. Trump is the symptom, not the disease. The disease is a Republican Party that, since the days of Richard Nixon, has attempted to divide this country along racial and religious lines. The disease is a Republican Party that worked for years to de-legitimatize the nation’s first African-American president. We can only hope that, should Trump be defeated, the GOP will take a hard look in the mirror and, in time, return to the party that gave us such presidents as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower.