Alter Lauds 'Distinguished' Protester Sharpton, Sees Trump 'Race' 'Code'

On Sunday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, it was ironic enough that Daily Beast columnist and MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter tried to indict GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on "race" in the presence of career race-hustler and MSNBC host Al Sharpton, but, moments later, the liberal Alter made a point of praising Sharpton as having a "distinguished history as a street protester." That "distinguished history" of Sharpton's includes inciting riots -- some anti-Semitic in nature -- that resulted in arson and a number of homicides.



Host Sharpton set up Alter's comments by playing a clip of Trump calling himself the "law and order candidate" in the face of high-profile violent crimes and acts of terrorism. The MSNBC host turned to Alter and posed:

What is he trying to communicate with this "law and order" candidacy? And can it work? And will he continue that theme, do you think, throughout this campaign?

The liberal Daily Beast columnist accused Trump of imitating former President Richard Nixon's "playbook" which allegedly used "code words for race." Alter:

Well, Richard Nixon used "law and order" in 1968 as code words for race. And Trump uses that. He also uses Nixon's "silent majority." He's borrowing a lot from the Nixon playbook. He's got Roger Stone -- who was a Nixon aide -- in his camp.

He then warned that that if anti-Trump protesters are violent, it could help him get elected:

The key thing to look for here is whether demonstrators -- anti-Trump demonstrators -- are peaceful or whether they get out of hand. If they get out of hand, they will play right into his hands, and may elect Donald Trump.

After he and Sharpton recalled that violent protests boosted Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign, Alter added:

So anybody who really wants to beat Trump will make sure that they work in the campaign, you know, in conventional politics at the polls, not in the streets. Working in the streets just helps Trump.

As Sharpton jumped in to suggest that nonviolent protests would be fine, Alter praised his history of protesting:

You have this, you know, distinguished history as a street protester. My argument is, this is not the year for street protests. And people need to get to the polling places and not be in the streets.

The MSNBC host then made known his gratitude for Alter's words of praise:

Well, I think -- thank you for calling me "distinguished," but I think nonviolent protest is certainly different than the disorder we saw in '68.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, July 17, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

8:12 a.m. ET
AL SHARPTON: What is he trying to communicate with this "law and order" candidacy? And can it work? And will he continue that theme, do you think, throughout this campaign?

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Richard Nixon used "law and order" in 1968 as code words for race.

SHARPTON: Right.

ALTER: And Trump uses that. He also uses Nixon's "silent majority." He's borrowing a lot from the Nixon playbook. He's got Roger Stone -- who was a Nixon aide -- in his camp. The key thing to look for here is whether demonstrators -- anti-Trump demonstrators -- are peaceful or whether they get out of hand. If they get out of hand, they will play right into his hands, and may elect Donald Trump.

SHARPTON: Which is what happened with Nixon.

ALTER: Right, right, and not just on the streets of Chicago but kind of throughout-

SHARPTON: No, all over the country.

ALTER: -throughout society. So anybody who really wants to beat Trump will make sure that they work in the campaign, you know, in conventional politics at the polls, not in the streets. Working in the streets just helps Trump.

SHARPTON: Yeah, well, unless it's nonviolent.

ALTER: You have this, you know, distinguished history as a street protester. My argument is, this is not the year for street protests.

SHARPTON: Right.

ALTER: And people need to get to the polling places and not be in the streets.

SHARPTON: Well, I think -- thank you for calling me "distinguished," but I think nonviolent protest is certainly different than the disorder we saw in '68.

NB Daily 2016 Presidential Crime Immigration Conservatives & Republicans Race Issues Racism The Daily Beast MSNBC PoliticsNation Other MSNBC Video Richard Nixon Al Sharpton Jonathan Alter Donald Trump Roger Stone


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