Sputnik discussed this with Larry Johnson, retired CIA intelligence officer and State Department official.
Sputnik: There have been acts of violence reported from voters from both parties, is it likely that things will cool down as the midterms draw near?
Larry Johnson: Probably not; the majority of the violence and the rhetoric has been coming from the Democrat side, not the Republican side. Larry David, when Donald Trump was inaugurated, he had Madonna on (his show) talking about blowing up the White House. You've had Kathy Griffin and other comedians do a simulated decapitation of Donald Trump, you've had high profile entertainers and politicians say some of the most vile things about President Trump, and so when Trump reacts to that, Trump is accused as the one who is precipitating the violence and the bad feeling. It's insane, but that's the nature of the state of politics in the United States right now.
Sputnik: What then are then the main reasons that such acts of violence have been taking place?
Larry Johnson: It's not like something's happening every day; these are rare, infrequent activities. The individual who went and shot up the Jewish synagogue, that's only a one time event, he was a rabid anti-Semite and the irony here again is that President Trump‘s daughter is Jewish, his son in law is Jewish, his grandchildren are Jewish, and he was the first to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. So he's been very pro-Israeli, and nobody can accuse him of being anti-Semite. Yet, within the media there are constant attacks on him for somehow inspiring this kind of violence, it's lost the point of being able to explain it and talk about it rationally, it's irrational.
Sputnik: In that attack there were members of the Jewish community that have been for or against Trump visiting that synagogue and visiting the victims. On the one side, we're hearing from the Jewish community that they would welcome his visit as President, others are saying that they would welcome him only if he were to denounce white nationalism, what are your thoughts on that?
Larry Johnson: The Jewish community is not some monolith! They've got people of different political views, and unfortunately the ones who I would call to the radical left are not going to see anything positive that Donald Trump does or says. If Donald Trump came up with a cure for cancer, I'm sure those same individuals would be out criticizing Trump for putting doctors out of work because cancer was dropping. It's one of those things where Trump can't win no matter what he does, so he just continues to go on, and we've reached a state of politics in the United States where there's such extreme division that I don't see any quick or easy resolution to it in the future.
Sputnik: How are these acts of violence going to affect the midterms, if it all?
Larry Johnson: Generally, when those kinds of acts of violence happen, they tend to favour the current administration because when people feel insecure and then they look to somebody like the president to try to take steps to make them feel secure, that generally ends up favouring the administration, but I don't think these things are going to be decisive right now one way or the other.
Sputnik: Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has said that she would like to be president; do you think she's likely to make a bid for the White House in 2020? Of course we've heard from Donald Trump that he likes all the candidates.
Larry Johnson: I think Trump would love to have Hillary run, she's such a terrible candidate, as she proved in the last election. She's turned out to be completely tone deaf politically, saying the wrong thing and not being able to really tap into what it is that's moving most of the American people right now. So I think Trump would really welcome her running, and I think many of the Democrats are just horrified at the prospect.
I think she'll have a very difficult time doing it, because she's not going to be able to raise the money she needs. Last time she raised close to a billion dollars; well, she's not going to come anywhere close to that, she's toxic. So in her own mind she would love to run, but the reality is that, I think, the lack of financial resources will force her to come to grips with reality, that she won't be running in 2020 and that she will not be president.
Sputnik: Do you think she wouldn't be able to win the Democratic nomination?
Larry Johnson: No, right now there's not a Democrat candidate on the horizon or in the pipeline that could mount a credible challenge to Trump. Everyone from Elizabeth Warren to Cory Booker, they've got 30 people lined up who want to be president, but their ability to actually go out and resonate with the American people. One of the problems that Democrats have right now is that they confuse being popular in New York and Los Angeles with being popular in the United States. There are a lot of people in between the coasts have radically different views from those that are in the media and dominate both the film and the entertainment industry.
Sputnik: Do you think that it was in fact some kind of a planned action, was it a coincidence of what's been going on in the US and the divide between various factions of US society…
Larry Johnson: It reflects, let's call it, a dark underbelly that's out there but it's always been there.
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