Heckling is one of those things that most people approve of, or at least dismiss, when it’s their side doing it, and object to when the other side is doing it. Politically, it can be effective, but it can sometimes backfire, too.
Like comedians, a politician has to have a few heckler disarming tools in their arsenal.
I was just watching a video from a Pete Buttigieg town hall in New Hampshire where he was being heckled. It looked like most of the audience were holding signs that said ‘Pete takes money from oil billionaires’ or something like that, and there were some people singing an anti-Pete song, but he seemed to be handling it well and was getting big applause, so the audience wasn’t entirely against him.
Bernie and Trump are almost immune from heckling, because of the huge size of their crowds. Sure, there might be an occasional loudmouth, but they are drowned out. Joe Biden, with his inability to get more than 200 people to show up anywhere, is particularly vulnerable. Even legitimate questioners sound like hecklers, and he handles them so badly.
So, the way I feel about heckling is sort of the way I feel about graffiti. I generally disapprove of it, but can’t say I’ve never done it. Also, while I think it’s mostly vandalism (or rude and disruptive) I occasionally see a bit that is well done and artistic and I have to applaud it. Also, with heckling and graffiti, they are both unnecessary in our modern, high information society. There are lots and lots of other ways of getting your message out.