In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law. Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection. Some Republican leaders -- and a measurable number of rank-and-file voters -- are open to violent rebellion, coups, and secession.
The Gosar incident served as the latest data point in an alarming trend in American politics. In a year that began with a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol, lawmakers have seen a sharp rise in the number of threats against them. Republicans’ muted response to Gosar’s behavior has intensified fears about the possibility of more political violence in America in the months to come.
Jackie Speier, the Democratic congresswoman who spearheaded the effort to censure Gosar, warned that Republicans’ refusal to hold him accountable could have dangerous repercussions.
“If you are silent about a member of Congress wanting to murder another member of Congress, even in a ‘cartoon’, you are inciting violence,” Speier told the Guardian. “And if you incite violence, it begets violence.”
That cycle is already playing out in the halls of Congress. The US Capitol police reported earlier this year that the agency had seen a 107% increase in threats against members compared with 2020. The USCP chief, Tom Manger, has said he expects the total number of threats against members to surpass 9,000 this year, compared with 3,939 such threats in 2017.
Some of those threats have been on vivid display in the past month. In addition to Gosar’s violent video, the 13 House Republicans who voted in support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier month have received threatening messages.
Representative Fred Upton of Michigan publicly shared one such message, in which a man called the Republican congressman a “fucking piece of shit traitor”. “I hope you die. I hope everybody in your fucking family dies,” the man said in the message.
And those kinds of threats are not reserved solely for members of Congress. Election workers and school board members also say they are receiving more violent messages. According to an April survey commissioned by the Brennan Center for Justice, nearly one in three election officials are concerned about their safety while on the job.
Scott Thompson, the Vice Mayor of Oroville, CA, which just declared itself a “constitutional republic,” says they are in a war. “I believe that the very fabric of our nation is at a crossroads .. Every time you lose freedom .. usually it takes bloodshed to get it back.” pic.twitter.com/rxX4UBz4AX— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) November 26, 2021