Crucially, Trump hasn’t just targeted minorities and political opponents; he has also directly encouraged violence. He promised to pay legal bills for supporters who “knock the hell” out of protesters. He made a joke about shooting migrants months before one of Trump’s disciples took it upon himself to massacre mostly Latino people in El Paso, echoing Trumpian language in his manifesto. Trump endorsed a congressman because he physically assaulted a reporter. And he shared several doctored videos that depict him beating up or injuring a media outlet or a political opponent.
It’s hardly surprising that some of his supporters took those messages as encouragement of violence. In 29 court cases (so far), an alleged perpetrator invoked Trump as a reason for their violent crime or threat of violent crime. In one case, a Trump-obsessed fanatic sent pipe bombs to Trump’s favorite Twitter targets.
Each of these factors individually makes political violence more likely. Together, they make a spike in violence all but inevitable. Such risk factors often explode around elections, when supporters are more prone to act because they fear the loss of political power. Trump supporters also baselessly fear that “socialists” who “want … crime” will create “Open Borders” to allow in nonwhite people whom Trump depicts as a disease-ridden infestation.