While Republican Donald Trump was tweeting insults at Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday morning, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate Bill Weld launched an old-school attack: He read from a book. Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Weld quoted the dystopian novel "1984" — and linked it to the GOP presidential nominee.
Weld, the former Massachusetts governor running alongside Gary Johnson, told the hosts he wanted to read three sentences from the book, which came out in 1949 and tells the story of a society watched by the political leader Big Brother.
"So, you know, Big Brother is running the country in George Orwell's '1984,' and every day he beams two minutes of hate into the minds of everyone in the country. So here's three sentences," Weld said Tuesday. "'Before the Hate had proceeded for 30 seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room ... In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the top of their voices ... The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate — that's the name of the exercise — was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in ... And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.'"
At the end of the excerpt, Weld looked up. "Sound like a Trump rally?" he added.
Joe Scarborough joked that he'd thought Weld was talking about musician Kanye West, but the candidate persisted, saying, "Welcome to Donald Trump's America, everybody."
Over the course of his campaign, Trump has developed a reputation for not only his controversial, off-the-cuff comments about women, Muslims and immigrants but also holding rallies where violence breaks out. For example, last October, an attendee kicked a Hispanic protester. In June, activists threw eggs at and spit on Trump fans, Slate reported.
Weld isn't the first person to link the rollercoaster 2016 election to "1984." Last month, West Wing Reports founder Paul Brandus wrote in USA Today that Trump was similar to Big Brother in that he "commands a powerful cult of personality." The Republican candidate "can say absolutely anything, no matter how nonsensical, devoid of facts or outrageous, and it is taken for gospel," Brandus said.
With a week to go until the presidential election, Trump was polling at about 42.9 percent nationally, according to RealClear Politics. Clinton was winning with 45.4 percent, and the Johnson-Weld team was a distant third, with 4.6 percent support.