Steve Scalise shooting: What does it mean for America?

We still do not know much about the shooter’s motives, though it seems that a gunman who opened fire at a congressional baseball practice was anti-GOP, anti-Trump. What kind of political reaction do you expect, and what should be in your opinion the political reaction of this horrible act? Read few comments.

Robert Schmuhl, Professor of American Studies, University of Notre Dame

America is more divided politically than at any point in recent decades. It’s more than partisanship–of favoring Democrats instead of Republicans or Republicans rather than Democrats. What we see today is deeper and more profound to the point of polarization, with the extremes in greater control than ever before. Two members of the House of Representatives–a Democrat and a Republican–have been shot in the past few years, and both acts point to the depth of hatred some people have for political figures in the U.S. now. Nothing could be sadder or more frightening in a self-governing democracy.

Steven GreeneAssociate Professor of Political Science, North Carolina State University

 So far, the political reaction has been both what I expect and what I think it should be.  A thorough condemnation of violence in the name of politics by all prominent U.S. political leaders and politicians.  Donald Trump actually hit just the right tone.  Paul Ryan did, too.  So did Bernie Sanders (of whom the shooter was a supporter) and Nancy Pelosi.  In short, key political leaders are approaching this in a bipartisan and appropriate manner.  I get the sense that there are those out there trying to blame other politicians, etc., but there’s always angry and ill-considered voices in social media and partisan media.  Our actual leaders and mainstream media have been appropriate and responsible.That said, I think it is perfectly appropriate to have deeper conversations about the overall extreme negative tone of American politics, as well as conversations about how we treat mental illness and how we regulate guns.  The point is that the key figures in American politics are forcefully and universally condemning violence in the name of politics.

Steffen SchmidtUniversity Professor of Political Science, Iowa State University

Political shootings are a part of the price political leaders often pay. Remember on January 8, 2011, just a week into her third term, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was a victim of an assassination attempt near Tucson Arizona.

They often bring together politicians and even people. There is hope that the intense and often brutal confrontational tone of politics in America has created an environment that easily leads to violent demonstrations and can end with people shooting for political ends.

My opinion is that this may force politicians to stop the intense and hateful attacks on each other. It will hopefully also move Pres Trump to tone down his rhetoric as well.

In the end we could see this result in more cooperation and perhaps even a willingness to work together in Congress. I’m an optimist and see the bright side of tragedies.

Cal JillsonProfessor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University

Reactions to the shooting from across the political spectrum, from Donald Trump and Paul Ryan to Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders, was unified in its rejection of political violence, just as one would hope and expect. Still, I would expect the long term result of this event to be negligible. The gun debate in the U.S. Is an old one, the sides are dug in, and Republicans, despite being the victims here, generally support easy access to guns. Unfortunately, this will not be the last gun related tragedy.

Mark Rozell, Dean and Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University

There should be no politicizing of such a tragedy. It is irrelevant who a shooter may have supported in a past campaign. Trying to make a political issue out of it will only work against whoever tries such a tactic.

Marty Linsky, Adjunct Lecturer, Harvard University, Co-founder, Cambridge Leadership Associates

We need to learn more, but we can hope that this horrible incident will spur attention to gun control and take some attention away from the immigrant as terrorist trope.


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