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Op-Ed: 2024 election threats of violence — Crunch time is just a click away

It can’t happen here,” you said. Well, it did happen, and it can happen again.

Former US president and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump attends a rally in Conway, South Carolina
Former US president and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump attends a rally in Conway, South Carolina - Copyright AFP Renante Naparan
Former US president and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump attends a rally in Conway, South Carolina - Copyright AFP Renante Naparan

The incredible increase in threats to just about anybody and anything in the US is reaching intolerable levels. Most of the threats are coming from the right. This is more than just your usual American political insanity.

The threats apply to SCOTUS, Nikki Haley, Taylor Swift, and anyone else who’s visible on the American political spectrum. It’s so bad that even American media, those icons of social responsibility, are actually talking about it like it matters. You saints, you.

That’s interesting given how invested in promoting the hate and polarization American media has been. For the last decade or so any raving lunatic was welcome on your screens.

…And this is where it’s got to now. This is the foaming at the mouth stage.  Sadly, it is extremely unlikely that nothing will happen. America’s enemies must be laughing their heads off at the sheer naivete that’s let it get this bad. Even funnier, all these “patriots” are working for them.

It’s inexcusably unclear how many members these groups have. Anyone with a phone can be or pretend to be a supporter of something. The strange affiliations of religious zealots, racist psychopaths, criminals, and basic rednecks on the right is hardly a basis for demographic analysis. It could be a few nuts or a lot of nuts.

MAGA in particular isn’t actually popular. An NBC poll found that 24% of people were in favor, while about 48% were anti-MAGA. This sort of result indicates they’re more noisy than representative, but 24% is quite a few.  

Trump is the main focus. Trump has said nothing at all on the subject of threats or anything but himself. He also doesn’t seem to have been asked for his views. (Why not?) He’s spruiking a line of gold sneakers a couple of days after getting hit with a $350 million fine. He’s consistent if nothing else.

The reaction to the threats has been the usual useless outrage. This is basic bullying on a national scale, and apparently, nobody’s noticed. Nor has anyone even suggested any effective response.

To start with –

Threats of any kind are basically illegal. Any threat of violence is actionable by statutory and civil law.

Anyone should know that. It’s a deterrent in one way – “Make a threat and pay a lawyer for a few years” would shut up most people.

People who make threats may have other legal issues. They usually don’t want to attract the law.

Simple enough, you’d think. A class action against any group could be a bit more expensive and far more time-consuming than the group wants.

Meanwhile back on the topic – It’s not just Democrats who are subject to threats. Threats to Republicans seem common enough. This is very much a self-inflicted injury, but they’re still threats.

Most Americans (about 83% according to one number) are worried about political violence. There is something to worry about. Another January 6 is hardly impossible in this environment.

The many negative predictions are for a change in the ballpark. How far out of control could this get? “It can’t happen here,” you said. Well, it did happen, and it can happen again.

It got this bad as a result of apathy.

Apathy can’t fix it.

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Disclaimer
The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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