By Mitchell Blatt*
The combination of Donald Trump’s anti-democratic strongman attitudes and long-running hate for Hillary Clinton has brought out the worst in the Republican Party.
Seeing an imminent defeat in the presidential race and the possibility of losing their majority in the Senate as well, Republicans have threatened violence and obstruction.
First we have former one-term Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, who wrote that if Trump loses he’s going to “grab his musket.” Coming, as it is, after Trump publicly refused to accept the election results and has warned for weeks about the election being “rigged,” it raises the very real threat that Trump’s supporters, many of whom buy into the idea that guns should be used to attack the government if they disagree with the government, won’t accept the results of the election and that B-list Tea Party influencers like Walsh will egg them on.
Already these kinds of messages about picking up your arms are common among the conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, whom Trump listens to. Other Republican nominees for high office before Trump have also used such threatening language. Failed 2010 Republican Senate candidate for Nevada Sharron Angle said the Second Amendment (which protects gun rights) is “to defend ourselves. And you know, I’m hoping that we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.”
Now the GOP nominee for president himself made allusions to “Second Amendment remedies,” too, this year: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people—maybe there is, I don’t know.”
So it’s not like it’s just one-term representatives irresponsibility sewing seeds of terrorism in the minds of rabid right-wingers (who make up a relatively large portion of Trump’s base).
Trump’s social media director also made a veiled threat against Fox News’s Megyn Kelly, whom Trump has been obsessed with attacking ever since the first primary debate of 2015.
One wonders what could happen to Kelly “after the election”? Does Dan Scavino still have delusions that Trump might win? Trump has, after all, threatened that Clinton would be in jail if he won and he threatened to bring an anti-trust suit against Amazon, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post. In the same interview he threatened the anti-trust suit, he attacked the Post for its tough reporting on Trump. So Trump, who often expresses admiration for Vladimir Putin’s “leadership,” is on record of saying he would use the mechanisms of government to threaten those whom he views as his adversaries.
Republican senators have a non-violent solution that would simply stifle the working of government. Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is considered a moderate Republican, has already said the GOP would block every single Supreme Court nominee President Clinton proposes. Now hard right Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has seconded McCain’s proposal. McCain once called Cruz a “whacko bird” because of Cruz’s radical proposals. But now it appears radical obstructionism is bringing both sides of the GOP together.
Whether its threats of violence, non-acceptance of the results, or trying to block legislative action at every turn, much of the Republican Party seems determined to make sure the party that wins the election can’t exercise their power.
About the author:
*Mitchell Blatt moved to China in 2012, and since then he has traveled and written about politics and culture throughout Asia. A writer and journalist, based in China, he is the lead author of Panda Guides Hong Kong guidebook and a contributor to outlets including The Federalist, China.org.cn, The Daily Caller, and Vagabond Journey. Fluent in Chinese, he has lived and traveled in Asia for three years, blogging about his travels at ChinaTravelWriter.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @MitchBlatt.