One has to ask themselves is that what they, the GOP, want? What comes from Republican messaging about their opponents keeps getting worse for America in general and that’s because all of their messaging is now exclusively based on lies used to generate a physical response from their supporters.
Talk enough about Hillary Clinton and her emails and surround them with lies about child pornography and sex trafficking and you get Maddison Welch a gun wielding vigilante who self-investigated the claims of a child sex ring in a Washington, DC establishment. It didn’t matter the pizza business was over 300 miles from where Welch lived, he went there armed with an AR-15 and a pistol and terrorized the community looking for something someone (it’s always a faceless, nameless person) told him existed. That thing, children held hostage in the basement of a pizzeria and used as sex slaves wasn’t there but that doesn’t matter because it’s the response that counts and it set the standard for how people on the right are expected to respond to GOP messaging. True to form for conspiracists a few days later someone attempted to terrorize Besta Pizza a few doors down for the same reason.
What matters is the response. That someone can start a lie that gets enough traction, no matter how easy it is to disprove it, see through it, gets people to resort to violence is a useful tool for unscrupulous politicians. It seems to be used extensively by today’s politicians on the Right. At the time of the “pizza gate” shootings a lot of press was being given to Trump and his demonization of Hillary Clinton and the email scandal of Trump’s demented mind. At every chance he could Trump railed about the evils of Clinton and left it to the imagination of his supporters what she is responsible for and what should be done about it. Welch considered he was doing something about it.
James T. Hodgkinson the man above went on a shooting rampage against Republicans. He vehemently and inevitably violently opposed Republican ideology. People you might have never heard of were the target of his rage. I share his dislike of today’s Republican Party but not his solution for expressing that dislike. Hodgkinson was an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter at one point and expressed his dislike for Trump on Facebook and to local newspapers but his violence was fueled by internal forces that slowly built up to the day that led him to attempt to kill Republicans. You can read about the journey that led to his violence here. What can be said is he acted out of his own inclinations, not because someone encouraged him to or because a political message was sent out that implied Republicans should be targeted in any way other than via the electoral process. No one forged conspiracies about the dangers of the Republican Party or rhetorically called for action, outside of the political process, to be taken against Democratic opponents that he listened to, bonded with and read. Hodgkinson had simply, on his own and without prompting from anyone except the deep recesses of his own mind become insane. There was no previous violent expression against Republicans he could point too for encouragement, there was only him.
Which brings us to today and the violence acted out against Nancy and David Pelosi. David Depape went to a specific residence after subscribing to an assortment of lies and conspiracies about a definite political opponent of Trump. I hope her address is a matter of public record but nonetheless he broke in looking for her and eventually assaulted her husband. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know he was inspired by GOP opposition to Pelosi’s reign as Speaker of the House. Marjorie Taylor Green has said Pelosi is a traitor and underscored the penalty for treason is death. It’s clear the line she’s drawing. Trump going as far back as 2017 has called Pelosi a nasty, vindictive, horrible person and considers her a disgrace. Kevin McCarthy who might become Speaker if Republicans take the majority in the House said it would be hard not to hit Pelosi with the speaker’s gavel should he get the position. WaPo reports on attempts as far back as 2010 by Republicans to demonize and discredit Pelosi hatched in order to make her the face of their opposition and inevitably Depape’s rage.
This then is the difference between the main American political parties. The GOP is led by a narcissist who delights in hurling invective at his opponents and encourages his supporters to do the same. A majority of them have accepted his challenge and engaged in conspiracy banter aimed at whoever Trump says deserves it. Attacks directed at GOP opponents are centered, coordinated and multifaceted. For example the Pelosi attack was not only political but personal AFTER it was exposed as a political hit job which Republicans originally discounted. Meanwhile attacks on Republicans by the left is fragmented and disparate and are not encouraged by Democratic officials and routinely denounced by them when/if they occur. There doesn’t seem to be any hope Republicans will be as forceful in their repudiation of violence as a political tool and in the absence of swift and punitive punishment for such expressions of violence towards political opposition America can only expect to see more David Depapes and Maddison Welches.