Another Trump Rally Turns Violent in St. Louis

A Donald Trump rally in St. Louis on Friday became the latest campaign event to turn violent, joining multiple others this week in a growing pattern of routine violence at Trump gatherings.

At least one protester was bloodied at the St. Louis event, and some were taken away in plastic hand ties by police officers. St. Louis Today's Junius Randolph and MSNBC's Trymaine Lee were among the journalists on the scene at the rally, and they captured the day's chaos.

There's a pattern to the way Hillary Clinton's campaign has discussed Bernie Sanders' leftist politics: long periods of silence punctured by the occasional drive-by when Sanders creeps too close in the polls. Clinton backer Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) first mused in June that Sanders was getting a pass on his socialism from the media, after her Senate colleague's stadium-filling megarallies offered the first hint that he posed a serious threat. Then there was peace again, until January. With the Clinton campaign slipping in Iowa and New Hampshire, McCaskill told the New York Times that Republicans "can't wait to run an ad with a hammer and sickle." Clinton surrogate David Brock warned ominously that Sanders' comments on the capitalist system in the 1980s would doom him in November.

At Wednesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Miami, coming off a stunning loss to Sanders in Michigan, Clinton opened up the research drawer her surrogates had riffled through before. It started when Univision anchor María Elena Salinas asked Sanders to explain how his brand of democratic socialism differed from that practiced in places like Nicaragua and Cuba. Then she played a clip of a press conference Sanders held in 1985, in which he praised Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and suggested the United States had misjudged Fidel Castro. Did he regret it?

Sanders didn't quite answer, but Clinton ran with it. "I think in that same interview, he praised what he called the 'revolution of values' in Cuba and talked about how people were working for the common good, not for themselves," she said. "I just couldn't disagree more. You know, if the values are that you oppress people, you disappear people, you imprison people or even kill people for expressing their opinions, for expressing freedom of speech, that is not the kind of revolution of values that I ever want to see anywhere."

It was one of Clinton's most direct attacks yet on Sanders' embrace of leftist politics (although, in Sanders' defense, Castro had himself replaced an American-backed regime that oppressed, imprisoned, and tortured people). By the next day, however, she'd dropped the issue. Clinton held her first post-debate rally in Ybor City, Tampa's historic Cuban neighborhood, which would have been an obvious setting to continue this line of criticism. The Cuban independence leader José Martí organized cigar workers there, and the Cuban government still owns a small park celebrating Martí down the street from the venue where Clinton spoke. But Clinton made no mention of Castro or Ortega or socialism or Cuba. She hardly mentioned her opponent at all.

There's a good reason why Clinton's reprisals of Cold War politics don't stick around for long: Voters don't really seem to care about Cold War politics. Castro is not a popular figure, but it's harder to turn him into a bogeyman in a Democratic primary when it was the popular Democratic president who normalized relations with the Castro government (and a president for whom Clinton served as secretary of state). The fights over the Sandinistas in Nicaragua that once tore the left apart are recent history only in the context of geologic time—the young voters Clinton says she's hoping to win over weren't even alive for it, and the median age at a Sanders event in Florida this week hovers around 20. When I asked one young attendee at Clinton's Ybor City event about Sanders and Ortega, she told me she didn't know anything about Ortega and would have to look him up.

The clearest sign of the demise of Cold War politics in Florida, though, came from the party that's historically been most enthusiastic about reprising it. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) didn't bring up Castro either at his speech to the largely Cuban American audience in Miami on Wednesday, at a college across the street from a piece of the actual Berlin Wall. And although he and Rubio both trashed President Barack Obama's new diplomatic relationship with Cuba at the final Republican debate before the Florida primary, one candidate held firm in defense of ending the trade embargo: the odds-on favorite to win the state, Donald Trump. "After 50 years, it's enough time, folks," he said, before promising to "make a good deal" with the Cubans. Even the king of bluster thinks the bluster about Castro has run its course. Florida voters appear to agree.

Desperate to stop Donald Trump's march to the Republican presidential nomination, Marco Rubio's campaign suggested on Friday that the best way to defeat Trump, in one state, at least, is not to vote for Rubio.

"If you are a Republican primary voter in Ohio and you want to defeat Donald Trump, your best chance in Ohio is John Kasich," Rubio's communications director Alex Conant said on CNN.

Rubio echoed that sentiment. "John Kasich is the only one who can beat Donald Trump in Ohio," Rubio said. "If a voter in Ohio is motivated by stopping Donald Trump, I suspect that's the only choice they can make."

The comments come days before the high-stakes, winner-take-all primaries on Tuesday in Florida and Ohio, where both Rubio and Kasich are battling Trump on their home turf. Conant and Rubio's remarks embrace the strategy put forward by Mitt Romney earlier this month, when he urged Republicans to vote for the most viable anti-Trump candidate in each state to deprive Trump of enough delegates to win the nomination. By this logic, Rubio's supporters in Ohio would cast a strategic vote for Kasich, the state's governor, to keep Trump from winning Ohio and its 66 delegates.

Polls show Kasich battling Trump for the lead in his home state, while Rubio is in single digits.

Conant argued that the favor should go both ways: Kasich supporters should vote for Rubio in Florida to stop Trump. "Marco Rubio is the one person who can beat Donald Trump here in Florida," he said on CNN. "If you like John Kasich or you like Ted Cruz and you're here in Florida, you need to vote for Marco Rubio because he's the only one who can deprive Donald Trump of those 99 [Florida] delegates."

But the Kasich campaign is reportedly not buying into this strategy.

Most polls show Rubio trailing Trump significantly in Florida.

Michelle Fields, the reporter for Breitbart News who alleged that Donald Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, grabbed her and forcefully yanked her toward the ground after a Trump speech on Tuesday night, filed a criminal complaint against Lewandowski on Friday morning.

The police report alleges battery on the part of Lewandowski and was filed in Jupiter, Florida, where the incident took place. Here is the police report:

 

Independent Journal Review first reported on the complaint.

This post has been updated to include confirmation from the Jupiter PD PIO.

During Thursday night's GOP debate, moderator Jake Tapper asked Donald Trump about the recent spate of violence at his rallies, including an episode on Wednesday where a white man was charged with assault after punching a black protester at a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

"This is hardly the first incident of violence breaking out at your rallies," Tapper said. "Do you believe that you've done anything to create a tone where this kind of violence would be encouraged?"

Trump responded that he didn't condone this behavior. Tapper then proceeded to rattle off a series of Trump's own quotes from the campaign trail, including one instance in which he said about a protester: "I'd like to punch him in the face."

Trump responded by blaming the protesters: "We have some protesters who are bad dudes, they have done bad things," Trump said. "They get in there and start hitting people. We had a couple big, strong, powerful guys doing damage to people." Trump added that he relies on local police to remove protesters from his events, saying, "If they're gonna be taken out, I'll be honest, I mean, we have to run something."

Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma's National League for Democracy party, smiles after the first session of the country's popularly elected parliament in the capital Naypyidaw on February 1, 2016.

Update (3/15/2016): Burma's Parliament on Tuesday elected Htin Kyaw as the country's first civilian president after more than half a century of direct or indirect military rule. Members of parliament reportedly broke into applause when the result was announced. "Victory!" Htin Kyaw said. "This is sister Aung San Suu Kyi's victory."

Pro-democracy champion and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won't be Burma's next president, but she's one step closer to ruling her country anyway: On Thursday, her political party nominated one of her closest aides as a presidential candidate. If Parliament formally selects him next week—as it's expected to do—he'll likely serve as a proxy, with Suu Kyi pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

After decades of brutal military rule and five years of a military-backed but quasi-civilian government, Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory in Burma's general election in November. But Suu Kyi, the country's most popular politician, can't become president because Burma's constitution—written by military generals—makes her ineligible for the position. So instead, her party has nominated her aide Htin Kyaw for the job. "He is the closest to Aung San Suu Kyi and he is the one who would completely follow her advice," a member of her party told the Washington Post. The president will be chosen by Parliament from among three nominees and will assume office in April; after dominating the general election, Suu Kyi's party holds enough seats to ensure its nominee is selected.

The Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been pushing for years for democratic reform in Burma. After the general election, for example, President Obama personally called Suu Kyi to commend her work as a democracy champion. Still, Burma's military has retained power over key ministries and continues to attack ethnic-minority rebel groups. "Burma's not free yet," Sean Turnell, a Burma expert in Sydney, told NPR. "It's in a process of moving towards something better, but it's not in that place of being a functioning democracy yet."

Corey Lewandowski, center, and Donald Trump.

Amid allegations that he grabbed Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields and nearly pulled her to the ground at a campaign event for Donald Trump, Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager, took to his personal Twitter account to respond. 

Lewandowski linked to a GotNews post that alleged that former Rep. Allen West of Florida sexually harassed two women, including Fields. The piece was written by Chuck Johnson, who has been called "the web's worst journalist," and initially stated that Fields had confirmed the allegation, before correcting that error to state that Fields had declined to comment.

Trump Supporter Sucker Punches Black Protester

On Wednesday night, a black man, Rakeem Jones, protested a Donald Trump rally in North Carolina. As he was being escorted out of the rally by men in "Sheriff's Office" uniforms, Jones was punched in the face by a Trump supporter wearing a cowboy hat. The officers then quickly wrestled Jones to the ground, pinned his arms behind his back, and led him out of the venue.

As of Thursday morning, the latest poll shows Trump up by 14 points in North Carolina.

Update: Reuters reports that the man seen punching Jones has been charged with assault. On Thursday evening, the man who punched the protester, identified as John McGraw, told Inside Edition that his actions were justified. 

"Yes he deserved it," he said. "The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don't know who he is. He might be with a terrorist organization."

In 2005, Barack Obama had only been in the Senate for a few months, but he was already a rising star in the Democratic Party. Four years later, he would be in the White House, and seven years after that Donald Trump would be the Republican front-runner to replace him as president. He couldn't have known that then, of course, when he mentioned The Apprentice star in a commencement address at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

(Hat tip Michael Scherer)

Here's the relevant bit:

In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society. But in our past there has been another term for it - Social Darwinism, every man and woman for him or herself. It's a tempting idea, because it doesn't require much thought or ingenuity. It allows us to say to those whose health care or tuition may rise faster than they can afford - tough luck. It allows us to say to the Maytag workers who have lost their job - life isn't fair. It let's us say to the child born into poverty - pull yourself up by your bootstraps. And it is especially tempting because each of us believes that we will always be the winner in life's lottery, that we will be Donald Trump, or at least that we won't be the chump that he tells: "You're fired!"
But there a problem. It won't work. It ignores our history. It ignores the fact that it has been government research and investment that made the railways and the internet possible. It has been the creation of a massive middle class, through decent wages and benefits and public schools - that has allowed all of us to prosper. Our economic dominance has depended on individual initiative and belief in the free market; but it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we're all in it together and everybody's got a shot at opportunity - that has produced our unrivaled political stability.

 

After the networks called the Michigan and Mississippi primaries for Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner gave a free-flowing, bonkers press conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. Just…watch: