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The GOP’s Paramilitary Wing

William Null (R) stands in the gallery of the Michigan Senate Chamber during the American Patriot Rally, organized by Michigan United for Liberty, to demand the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan St... William Null (R) stands in the gallery of the Michigan Senate Chamber during the American Patriot Rally, organized by Michigan United for Liberty, to demand the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, on April 30, 2020. Others are unidentified. - Thirteen men, including members of two right-wing militias, have been arrested for plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and "instigate a civil war", Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on October 8, 2020. The Nulls were charged for their alleged roles in the plot to kidnap Whitmer, according to the FBI. The brothers are charged with providing support for terroristic acts and felony weapons charges. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 10, 2021 7:38 a.m.

If you’re a regular TPM Reader the topic of militias and rightist paramilitaries, which have been in the news since January 6th, is nothing new to you. Many of us have been watching this development going back at least 25 years. The roots of the phenomenon of course go back decades further. It has been a hallmark of our coverage for twenty years that ‘fringe’ right wing groups are much more central to what drives national politics than establishment reportage allows. Today we see that reality come to the fore in a newly visible way as state Republican parties especially cultivate highly armed paramilitaries as auxiliaries to their work in electoral politics.

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