Two equally scary things happened in Washington state politics recently. A Republican candidate running for Congress last week called for a Black man to be lynched and for judges and prosecutors to be shot. Perhaps even more outrageous, writes Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, is the fact that nobody in the state's body politic denounced the comments.
The call for vigilantism came from Republican Loren Culp, a former police chief in the state who failed in a previous run for governor. Culp is vying in the state's fourth Congressional district to unseat Rep. Dan Newhouse and has received the "total and complete" endorsement of former President Donald Trump. That's because Newhouse, a Republican, voted to impeach Trump following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
"Newhouse joined the Radical Left Democrats to vote for the Impeachment Hoax," Trump said in a written statement. "Unlike Dan Newhouse, who is absolutely terrible, Loren will never turn his back on Central Washington, or our Country."
Westneat writes: "If a candidate keeps saying extreme and hateful things, and isn’t disowned by his party, and meanwhile everyone else starts shrugging because we think he’s a nut or we’re worn down or we just can’t keep pace with the firehose of lunacy, well, that’s a case study of how something as rancid as a call for a lynching becomes politically normal.
"I suspect the only way to prevent violent words from party actors like this from eventually spilling over into actual violence is for Republicans themselves to finally take a damned stand against this virus in their own party."
Culp's tweet was his reaction to the arrest of a repeat offender who was charged with felony assault for shoving a 62-year-old innocent bystander down the stairs at a light rail station.
“Get a Rope!” he tweeted. “Not only for the low life scumbag who did this but for the worthless judges and prosecutors who continually let this happen by turning violent criminals back out only to make new victims.”
Get a Rope! not only for the low life scumbag who did this but for the worthless judges and prosecutors who continually let this happen by turning violent criminals back out only to make new victims. No rope, firing squad and I'll volunteer for it.https://twitter.com/jasonrantz/status/1503069236486238211?s=20&t=iHcRZf7Q0I779AdVv2_Zxg\u00a0\u2026— Loren Culp (@Loren Culp) 1647212391
Then he followed up with: “No rope, firing squad and I’ll volunteer for it.”
Westneat concluded by asking: "Where is the state party on this, or GOP elected officials, or county party organizations? You all OK that one of your Trump-backed candidates is out there publicly calling for a lynching and for executing court officials?"
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