Tom Nichols, professor at the U.S. Naval War College and the Harvard Extension School & author of The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters, joined Fox News Radio's Guy Benson and Marie Harf to discuss the political divide and violence occurring.
On how we got to this place in American politics: Social media doesn't help any of this because there's always the immediate attempt to run to social media and see who can score political points faster and I think we're all guilty of it sometimes. We all have hot takes in our head we have to share with the world. So that's part of the environment. I think the President and the people that are trying to pin this directly on the President, I think that's wrong-headed, there are a lot of excitable marginal people out there, but where I think the president does bear disproportionate responsibility is he is the President of the United States. He is the loudest voice in the room. (2:18)
On if there a way voters can signal that they want change: I think in recent years this escalation of rhetoric has become particularly super heated on part of the President and his supporters. The President says things that really no president has ever said before and supports things that no president has supported before. I totally take your point that this tradition of this if the Republicans win Paul Ryan's going to push your grandmother over a cliff, if the Democrats win it's going to be the purge with MS-13 gangs roaming through your neighborhood. That kind of paranoid tradition predates Donald Trump. What's different about this is the kind of casual and constant way I think the President has just gotten us used to talking in a way that is completely unacceptable and that comes from the top. (7:15)
On getting your base out: I guess my expectations for ordinary politicians are some what less than I expect from the President of the United States, who is the most powerful man in the world, holds an arsenal of hundreds, thousands of nuclear weapons, and who's every word is basically on behalf of the United States of America, and who we look to for reassurance for prudence for calmness for a steady hand during difficult times and instead when people turn to the president and say is it possible we can tone this down and he shrugs and says well I can turn it up. He sends a very clear message to his followers, nothing that is happening is serious enough that need change anything you're doing. (10:00)
On the hate online you receive when you criticize Trump: It was only when I started criticizing President Trump, even as a candidate, that I started to get death threats, harassment, and repeated attempts to get me fired from all the places I work. (12:22)