According to a columnist for the New York Times, some of Donald Trump's most avid supporters are finding out the hard way what it is like for people who have opposed the president as death threats and harassment from his followers rain down upon them for not backing the president's attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Case in point, as the NYT's Michelle Goldberg points out, is Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, who has been under withering attack from the president and his fans that has led to death threats for certifying the election for President-elect Joe Biden.
As the columnist points out, this should not come as any surprise to officials like the Republican Raffensperger who have stood by for four years while the president has created "havoc" for his opponents both imagined and real.
"There is nothing new about Trump inciting harassment against private citizens, or of his lackeys calling for violence against the president’s opponents. In 2015, after an 18-year-old college student asked Trump a question he didn’t like at a political forum, he targeted her on Twitter, and she was deluged with graphic, sexualized threats," Goldberg recalled. "Ahead of the 2018 midterms, a man named Cesar Sayoc sent homemade pipe bombs to Trump critics; he’s been sentenced to 20 years in prison."
In a succinct description of what is occurring as the president attempts to hang onto power, Goldberg wrote, "the MAGA revolution has begun devouring its own."
"Some conservatives are discovering the downsides of having a president who spreads malicious conspiracy theories, subverts faith in democracy and turns the denial of reality into a loyalty test. As the internet meme goes, people voted for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party, and now the leopards are turning on them," she explained before adding, "People and institutions that get involved with Trump often end up diminished or disgraced. Since the election, this is happening faster than ever. The president is reportedly thinking of firing Attorney General Bill Barr because, for all Barr’s obsequious toadying, he has declined to repeat Trump’s fantasies about widespread electoral cheating. Much of the MAGA-verse has turned on Fox News, because its news programs aren’t pretending that Trump won."
In an interview with historian Rick Perlstein, Goldberg reports that conservatives have always known they have been playing with fire for four years with the unconventional and abusive Trump at the top of the party and now what they feared has come to pass -- a president completely unconstrained now that he has lost the election.
"The Republican establishment, and also the conservative establishment, has always made this bet that it could open Pandora’s box and close it on command,” Perlstein, explained with Goldberg observing, "They could activate tribalism to achieve power, while maintaining a modicum of respectability. They could create an alternative reality but keep people enclosed within it."
However, as she concluded, that has is no longer the case.
"Republicans helped Trump unleash countless civic evils. They shouldn’t be surprised when those evils don’t spare them," she wrote.
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