Here’s a question: Why are today’s Republicans so violent?
I’m not just talking about the MAGA constituency here, I’m talking about leading Republican officials and pundits. Why does it seem like “We’re headed to civil war” is their default hyperbolic mode? And is it even hyperbole? Are these people of the so-called party of law and order dead serious when they say they’re ready to take up arms against the government over state and federal charges brought against former President Donald Trump, particularly the RICO charges in Georgia?
From The Hill:
In Georgia, state Sen. Colton Moore warned politico-turned-podcaster Steve Bannon that any prosecution of Trump would lead to a likely civil war. “I don’t want to have to draw my rifle,” Moore said. Concerningly, Moore also seemed to imply that Georgia state troopers would be willing participants in any effort to bust Trump out of jail. That last bit may be fantastical thinking on Moore’s part, but he’s hardly alone.
Former Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor also lent her voice to the chorus of war cries, describing Trump’s indictments as “treason” and “a hijacking of our country,” telling podcaster William Wallis, “This is war, and I hope and pray it gets resolves before we use guns…we’re at war right now, a war for our freedom.”
Michigan state Rep. Matt Maddock (R) also recently warned his constituents that a “civil war” would break out if “the government continues to weaponize these departments against conservatives, and the citizens and the taxpayers.” (I’ll delve deeper into conservatives’ delusional-yet-persistent persecution complexes in a sec.)
Perhaps this battlefield fantasy camp phenomenon—perpetuated by feeble old Republicans who would flinch in front of a Nerf gun—began in 2016 when Trump warned his own party that his supporters might riot if he didn’t receive the GOP nomination; or when he boasted that he could “shoot somebody” on 5th Avenue without losing his MAGA base; or when he literally told his supporters to start punching his hecklers. Or maybe it was before all of that. It’s difficult to pin down the exact moment far-right politicians and media personalities became podium gangsters. (Think “studio gangsters,” but the kind Suge Knight would never invite to “come to Death Row.”)
Anyway, here’s former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee giving us a Cliff Notes-level history lesson and then erroneously applying said history lesson to Trump’s situation before warning that future elections will be decided at gunpoint.
“Do you know how political opponents to those in power are dealt with in third-world dictatorships, banana republics and communist regimes?” Huckabee asked his audience rhetorically. “Well, it’s simple. People in power use their police agencies to arrest their opponents for made-up crimes in an attempt to discredit them, bankrupt them, imprison them, exile them, or all of the above.”
“And if you’re not paying attention, you may not realize that Joe Biden is using exactly those tactics to make sure Donald Trump is not his opponent in 2024,” Huckabee continued. “Here’s the problem: if these tactics end up working to keep Trump from winning or even running in 2024, it is going to be the last American election decided by ballots rather than bullets.”
Setting aside the fact that Biden has nothing to do with the RICO case against Trump in Georgia—which seems to be the indictment straw that broke the MAGA camel’s back—the charges against Trump are not delusions that were plucked out of thin air. It is a simple truth that Trump pressured Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” non-existent votes that would hand him the election in Georgia. It is an on-record fact that Rudy Giuliani has finally admitted to making false statements about the Georgia election being rigged by election workers. Whether these charges and the other very specific and unambiguous criminal charges brought against Trump, Giuliani and 17 others are enough to yield convictions remains to be seen, but these things are not figments of anyone’s imagination.
An example of things that were completely made up is Trump and his legal team’s thoroughly debunked insistence that voting machines were rigged to change Trump votes to Biden votes; or the allegation that dead people were rising from their graves en mass to cast ballots for Biden; or the idea that Black election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea Arshaye “Shaye” Moss engaged in election fraud; or Trump’s absurd and baseless accusation that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is a “young racist” who is dating a gang leader.
In fact, Trump’s entire “stop the steal” propaganda campaign to remain in power after being voted out legally is a much more appropriate thing to compare to “third-world dictatorships.” But, hey, these are just words right? It’s not as if Trump’s “big lie” and Republicans’ violent rhetoric have led to an all-out assault on the U.S.A.’s most important government building outside of the White House by a violent mob that attacked police officers and got people killed in a failed attempt at overthrowing the government while legislators were certifying legally cast votes or anything like that.
But you know what really gets under my skin? Republican conservatives who have launched a white-and-fragile war against critical race theory, the concept of systemic racism and all-around “wokeness” have jacked their whole anti-oppression narrative straight from Black activists. They’ve even gone as far as to apply the “two Americas” narrative to Trump and convicted Jan. 6 criminals as opposed to the actual “two Americas” where Black people are treated more harshly than our white counterparts under America’s “justice” system. The difference is the latter “two Americas” narrative is backed by volumes of data, while MAGA America’s Jim Crow, But for Conservatives political fan fiction is based on absolutely nothing but evidence-deficient propaganda and political grandstanding perpetuated by the so-called “facts, not feelings” party.
So, conservative Republicans who tried to steal an election by falsely claiming it was stolen from them have now constructed an imaginary world where conservatives are victims of systemic government oppression, and based on that fiction, right-wing leaders are threatening real-life violence.
This is America.
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