The mayhem that took place outside the DeploraBall the night before the Donald Trump Inauguration continued on the day of the event. Protestors, some wearing masks, rampaged in parts of Washington D.C.., throwing rocks, breaking windows, and spray painting slogans. The police dispersed the rioters with tear gas and made arrests as storeowners and passersby huddled in terror.

The promise that a massive army of protestors would close the Inaugural parade route and shut down Washington’s metro system did not materialize. Many protestors contented themselves with lining the parade route, waving signs and chanting slogans.

The protestors seemed to be a motley coalition of anarchists, Black Lives Matter activists, and other radical groups.

Protests, even violent ones, are not unprecedented events at Inaugural parades. Richard Nixon’s first Inaugural was greeted by protestors as well as George W. Bush’s. In the former case, the tumultuous were still playing out with protests featuring the anti-Vietnam War movement making itself heard. In the latter case, the 2000 election had ended with a controversial recount that had been cut short by the Supreme Court, causing many opponents of President Bush to convince themselves that he had stolen the election from Al Gore.

Violent protests, at least in the United States, usually have the opposite effect that is intended.

Nixon had been elected in 1968 in part as a way to answer unruly college students who were rioting on college campuses. Nixon ran on a law and order platform that appealed to many voters who had gone weary of the chaos.

Trump likely benefited from the riots in a number of inner cities as well as an uptick in the murder of police officers, stoked by radical activists such as Black Lives Matter.

Americans may get cross with their government at times, but the vast majority, when they protest at all, do so in a civilized, decorous manner, such as the Tea Party during the Obama years. They find violence upsetting and want it to stop, no matter what the underlining cause. Black Lives Matter, the Occupy Walls Street movement, and other such groups helped to elect Donald Trump, whether or not they know or care.

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