Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trump's assassination talk has a history behind it

Here's a follow-up article at TMP on Donald Trump's suggestion that gun nuts assassinate Hillary Clinton. Such remarks don't exist in a vacuum. There's a lot of recent history in which right-wingers push that insane idea.

Some excerpts:
“In anti-government circles, and even in hate group circles, where this idea of 'Second Amendment remedies' is not a joke, who knows how that is going to be perceived,” said Ryan Lenz, the editor of Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog.

“In reality, in the past, we’ve seen it being perceived as a sizable influx of support and validation for ideologies that, up until this campaign, had no place in mainstream political discourse,” Lenz told TPM. ...

... like the language Trump has deployed to discuss immigration, "rigged" elections and Muslims, his rhetoric around Clinton and the Second Amendment wasn’t born in a vacuum. Trump is perhaps the most prominent of a series of conservative politicians who've toyed with the idea that gun owners may need to resort to violence against an oppressive government.

In 2010, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) posted on social media "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" while pointing to a list of Obamacare-supporting lawmakers.

During her 2014 campaign, freshman Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said she believed in her right to carry guns to defend herself “whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

Failed 2010 Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) warned that “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.”

And Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) congressional challenger in 2009, Republican Robert Lowry, shot at a human-shaped gun range target with Wasserman Schultz’s initials written on it.

Brett Lunceford, a former professor who has researched the political discourse around guns, said these sort of remarks and actions feed into a belief that “the Second Amendment was put in place to overthrow the government if need be."

“[Trump’s] throwing a bone to that mythology, that, if the government is tyrannical, ‘Well you guys are the ones that can do something about it,’” Lunceford told TPM. “There’s this idea that they’re the ones that can stop tyranny. It’s not about self defense, it’s about defense from the government.”

Just think of how batshit crazy that is. It's basically the same thinking as in ISIS. It's terrorism. If you can't get what you want though voting - because you can't convince the majority that you're right - you just start shooting people.

That's how terrorists think. This used to be heard only in the extreme nutcase fringe of the right-wing. Now, it's mainstream Republican Party thinking.

We don't live in the 18th Century anymore, with "taxation without representation." These days, we do have representation. We have a democracy. If you don't like our government, you can change it - up to and including changing the U.S. Constitution itself.

But the trick is that you need other people to agree with you. You're not the dictator here. No one is the dictator. If you want to become president, you need a majority of people to support you. OK, OK, George W. Bush became president without that, so our system isn't perfect. But it's a hell of a lot better than terrorism!

In right-wing mythology, though, you have guns so you can shoot the police, politicians, and other government officials if you don't like the way elections go. How insane is that? Even their beloved 2nd Amendment doesn't imply anything like that, not even close. (Indeed, if you actually read it, "well regulated" is specifically written into the amendment itself.)

This is insane right-wing fringe ideology,... only it's not just on the fringe these days. It's being promoted by Republican senators, governors, and even by the Republican Party's presidential candidate. How crazy can these people get?

Donald Trump said exactly what he meant, and his supporters understood him very, very well: "Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. But the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know."

No, he didn't come right out and tell people to shoot Hillary Clinton. Even Trump isn't that stupid. And he probably doesn't want anyone to shoot her before the election. He said it himself. If she's elected and can pick her judges, that's the time for assassination, that's the time for terrorism.

Meanwhile, he's just using that rhetoric for political advantage (which will backfire, I hope). His crazier supporters might not wait, but so what? All Trump cares about is winning. And that means he's become increasingly unhinged as it's clear that he's losing, and losing badly.

I can't predict what Trump will say next, because he just gets loonier and loonier. But what's next for the Republican Party? Will the GOP, too, just get loonier and loonier? Or if they're beaten in a landslide this year, will sane Republicans finally take back their party?

There are still sane Republicans, right?

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