Analysis | Political violence on the rise in the United States
The recent attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband last week has once again demonstrated the divide between Americans. Another manifestation of right-wing extremism in the United States that is not new.
Violent attacks on politicians are nothing new in the United States and seem to be intensifying.
“Where's Nancy, where's Nancy? “asked David DePape who broke into the Pelosi residence, before beating the husband of the president of the House of Representatives with a hammer.
According to his affidavit, the suspect in this violent attack said he was going to take Nancy Pelosi hostage and talk to her. If she told him the truth, he would let her go, and if she lied, he was going to break her kneecaps.
When the suspect in this attack on Paul Pelosi was arrested, c he was amazed among the Democrats, who were quick to denounce the targeted political violence against their camp. Among the right, some heavyweights on social media preferred to claim that the two men had sex and argued about drugs without providing any evidence to support their assumptions, of course.
Nancy and Paul Pelosi last April. The House Speaker's husband is recovering from the October 28 hammer attack.
Fanciful allegations repeated in various forms on the Fox News network, retweeted by Elon Musk and even transformed into a questionable photo, showing a pair of underpants and a hammer, the tool of crime with the caption: Paul Pelosi's Halloween costume. Donald Trump Jr. hastened to post this grotesque shot on Twitter.
Faced with this act which is the fruit, no offense to the Republican Party, of a man who was swimming in the troubled waters of conspiracies and incitement to violence conveyed by the American right, the reactions or the absence of reactions from a certain camp says a lot about the state of political discourse. This violent act is in any case to be added to the column of misdeeds against politicians.
On the same day of the attack on Paul Pelosi, a man pleaded guilty to threatening death charges against California Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell. A few days earlier, three men were convicted of participating in the kidnapping scheme of Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Republican Rep. Steve Scalise was the victim of a left-wing extremist who targeted and shot him in 2017.
For the past few days, Republicans and right-wing commentators have been responding by saying that these kinds of acts are also taking place on the other side. The example of Louisiana representative Steve Scalise inevitably comes to mind. In 2017, a gunman with left-wing claims then made him his target.
And just Tuesday, a Chicago man was charged with allegedly sending the Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey a voicemail message threatening to maim and kill him.
Except that in cases of aggression against Republicans, Democrats have always condemned these acts unequivocally.
In the case of Paul Pelosi, many right-wing politicians have made dubious jokes and circulated the most improbable theories.
Donald Trump himself has joined the conspiracy gig. Strange things have been happening in this household in recent weeks, he said in a radio interview. Probably, you and I better not talk about it. The glass, it seems, was shattered from the inside out and, you know, so it wasn't a break-in, it was an escape.< /p>
Just as many are those who dare not comment on the crime of which Pelosi was the victim. George Conway, lawyer and founding member of the Lincoln Project, a conservative Super PAC formed in December 2019 and dedicated to defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the polls, is not surprised by this uneasy silence among Republican leaders.
A lot of Republicans are afraid to speak out because of violence, I think that's an underrated aspect of history, he said declared on CNN this week.
The most extreme supporters of Trump's MAGA movement resent Democrats and the media.< /p>
Because they don't seem to take this threat seriously, they don't show the required amount of sympathy and empathy for fellow Democrats, he explained. I think part of the reason is that they themselves are afraid of people who have been stoked by right-wing demagogic rhetoric over the past few years, especially in disinformation. I think it will get worse unfortunately.
An observation also made by David Corn, political journalist, author and Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones. According to him, the American right has taken the tangent of extremism for decades with sometimes serious consequences and it is not about to stop.
In his most recent book, American Psychosis, he believes, for example, that Donald Trump has not invented anything with regard to the strategy to dehumanize and demonize his Democratic opponents. This sometimes leads to the acting out of those who immerse themselves in the conspiracy theories and hateful content that the ex-president or his supporters are promoting.
When you start demonize the other side and pretend that they want to blow up the United States and that they are all part of a gigantic, dark and nefarious conspiracy theory and that they steal elections, of course, this will lead to violence, he adds.
David Corn, author of “American Psychosis” believes that Donald Trump has only made right-wing extremism more evident than ever to use it.
From the witch hunts of McCarthyism in the 1950s to Richard Nixon's strategy for the South, passing by the John Birch Society which accused the UN of wanting to establish a world government or even the theses of the religious right of the 1970s or the Tea Party of the 2000s, what unites these movements within the Republican Party, according to Corn, is that they all had the same version of the argument that their political enemies, the Democrats and Liberals , were direct and existential threats to the country, because they were part of a subversive enemy force within the nation that wanted to destroy it.
The The rise in violent political acts such as attempted kidnappings, murders and other death threats as on January 6, 2021 is partly attributable to this trivialization of the words and ideologies of the American right, believes the author of American Psychosis.
We have seen the kind of conspiracy theory drive its proponents to violent action. I think it's no exaggeration to say that this can lead to violence, especially when Donald Trump himself during the 2016 campaign encouraged his people at rallies to beat up protesters. He used violent rhetoric and he encouraged violence.
Trumpism, according to author David Corn, is nothing more than the continued exploitation of right-wing extremism by the Republican Party for electoral purposes.
He also takes as an example Trump's statements on his promises if he becomes president again, to grant those arrested on January 6, 2021 his presidential pardon. It is therefore sending the obvious signal that this violence is considered acceptable for him and it can be seen as an encouragement for others to engage in similar actions.
The promotion by Trump and his troops of the theory of the “big lie”, the famous Big Lie, is, according to David Corn, part of this natural extrapolation of the long-term effort Republicans to totally delegitimize and dehumanize their political opponents.
The only way for them to win an election would be to cheat, which they already do, as they try to destroy the country from within: This is what MAGA supporters think about Democrats, says M Corn.
Trump supporters who believe in the flawed stolen 2020 election theory want to win by all means means the next presidential elections of 2024.
Jim Merchant, the Republican candidate for the post of Secretary of State of Nevada, a key position for the certification of the results of the elections, in particular the presidential elections of 2024, thinks he has found the solution to the problems of these Democratic cheatings.
A guest on Steve Bannon's show on Real America's Voice this week, he was quite proud to declare that the Democrats will no longer be able to win if his coalition of secretaries of x27; State pro-Trump and negationists of the 2020 election is elected.
Game over, added the host and former close adviser to the former Republican president.< /p>
With so much tension for mid-term elections which, in general, do not trigger so many passions, it is difficult to see how this escalation will end, if not in more political violence d here and after 2024.