One of the interesting ways in my job that I sometimes gauge what's happening is by the email I get. Radio hosts get pitches by publicists regarding placing their clients on shows, and I get pitches from across the political spectrum. One I received over the weekend reveals a lot about what the GOP and its white supremacist base is doing.
Jim Hanson is a far-right commentator—a Fox News pundit, a contributor to the ultra-conservative Federalist, and an insurrection denialist. He's president of the nefarious-looking Security Studies Group, and touts his having served in the U.S. Army Special Forces.
His new book is titled, "How To Win The Second Civil War." The subhead, in very small print on the book, states, "without firing a single shot." It's curious that the book cover would downplay that violence isn't necessary for winning this "Second Civil War." But more curious is the pitch I received from Hanson's p.r guy for the book. The pitch letter from publicist Dan Draznin begins like this:
"This is not a joke. This is not a myth. This is not a drill. According to a survey last year, a majority of Republicans agreed with the statement: 'The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.'"—From Michael Gerson's Opinion piece last week in the Washington Post.
"This is a significant number of people and they are not all conspiracy theorists," says Jim Hanson, U.S. Army Special Forces veteran.
Gerson, a Washington Post columnist and long-time conservative who is a never Trumper, indeed wrote, "American politics is being conducted under the threat of violence," in a piece on Liz Cheney's ouster from the leadership and her warning that Donald Trump will "incite violence again."
Gerson rightly noted, in talking about Trump's threat of violence as a "tool of intimidation," that "election officials around the country — Republican and Democratic — can attest to the results: Death threats. Racist harassment. Armed protesters at their homes."
What's extraordinary, telling and horrifying is Hanson's publicist using this stark reality as a threat in and of itself.
Draznin, in the pitch, quotes Hanson right after quoting Gerson: "Michael Gerson is correct—this is not a drill—and if the Left wants the Republic to survive, they need to admit that there are legitimate concerns on the Right. They can't simply mock tens of millions of people as 'crazies,' which only fuels the fire."
He's saying that, yes, the majority of Republicans believe the American way of life may need to be saved "by force" and that Democrats had better bow to Republicans — no matter how insane and fraudulent their claims are — if they want to "survive." There's really no other way to interpret it.
Draznin continues in his pitch: "According to Hanson, much of the discontent on the Right is driven by identity politics and the 'woke' agenda."
So, this "second civil war," being stoked by extremists, can supposedly be accomplished "without firing a shot," but only if the "Left" capitulates to them. Otherwise, these "identity-politics"-obsessed "woke" people — which seems pretty clearly to translate to "Black people and others on the left" — better watch out because most Republicans believe it has to be done "by force" if they don't bend.
As Gerson notes, many of the threats of violence from extremists are being experienced by election officials who don't support the Big Lie. The Arizona Secretary of State, Democrat Katie Hobbs, who has spoken against the outrageous "fraudit" in Maricopa County, has received death threats and had to get extra security, as is the case with many Democrats in Congress.
But even Republicans who've stood against the Big Lie, like Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, received death threats. And according to Washington Post reporter Dan Zak, Republicans fearful of physical violence from Trump supporters if they cross Trump have a name for this: being "Mike Pence'd." It's obviously an allusion to Vice President Mike Pence being targeted by Trump supporters — after Trump lashed out at him at the "Stop the Steal" rally — during the insurrection, who chanted "Hang Mike Pence!" and even brought a gallows to the event.
Covering the Arizona "fraudit" up close — "The Maricopa Mess" — Zak reports:
This is just a race to the bottom, according to current and former officials, who say some Arizona Republicans are worried about getting "Mike Pence'd" — facing political or possibly physical danger — if they don't support Trump's continuing attack on democracy. The Maricopa supervisors have been harassed outside their homes, assigned police protection and decamped to Airbnbs to avoid threats.
"My colleagues across the country in Georgia and Michigan and many other states have protection details because their lives have been threatened" since the election, says Kim Wyman, the Washington secretary of state. "It's frightening."
Even Mike Pence's own brother, Indiana Republican Congressman Greg Pence. is fearful of being Mike Pence'd, having voted against an independent commission to investigate the insurrection — a domestic terror attack on the United States.
So the talk of a "Second Civil War," as red states are passing more laws allowing access to guns, and as GOP officials do all they can to protect the violent insurrections who beat and stomped police, is clearly a signal that there is more to come.
Democrats must understand the gravity of this — and progressives should be turning up the heat if they're not.